An asphalt driveway is cost-efficient and sturdy, but not always the most attractive looking option. If you're looking for something with a little more curb appeal, turn to some common methods of improving the appearance of an existing asphalt or concrete driveway.
Engraving is the existing-driveway answer to stamping. Your asphalt paving contractor will clean and patch your driveway to prep the surface. An acid etching solution might be applied if your driveway has a hearty sealant that might prevent the stain color from taking. After this, the stain color is applied to the desired area, then the etching is performed. Etching involves a variety of specialty tools used to create the design of your dreams.
Possible engraving designs can simulate natural materials such as rock, brick or tile. You can also opt to have patterns created such as herringbone or a large compass star in the center of an otherwise clear driveway. Consult your contractor to discuss potential schemes to suit your home and driveway.
For an overlay, an asphalt paving contractor creates polymer concrete pieces to install in a design over the existing asphalt. The overlay can be made to completely cover the driveway, which is a great choice if there's significant damage or you really don't like the look of your current driveway but can't afford to completely replace it. Or, overlay pieces can be positioned to allow the existing driveway to peek through in spots.
Full coverage overlays allow the designer to better create imitation stone and brick as the polymer layer is relatively thin but easy to etch or stamp with a pattern. But, this process can also be used to create beautiful mosaic arrangements using strategically placed stained pieces.
Concrete pavers that look like individual stones slabs or bricks are often used to create walkways and patios. You can also place the pavers over an existing driveway to create an entirely new look at a fraction of the price of an overlay. Two types of pavers exist: interlocking and architectural slab. The slab type looks more authentic but unfortunately can't survive the wear, tear and pressure associated with daily driveway usage.
Interlocking might not look as authentic, but they are easier to install, which can also save you money on labor costs. Even a slightly less authentic look will likely provide a marked improvement from plain asphalt and improve the view of your home from the street.