Driveway Styles: Your Guide to Choosing the Right Driveway

January 14, 2021

One of the most important features of a home is the driveway. A driveway is the first impression of your home and a large part of its exterior. A nice driveway that fits your home’s style can add major curb appeal. 

There are many different driveway styles- ranging from simple and classic to more unique and intricate. In this post, we will outline some of the different choices you have when it comes to your driveway installation.

First, though, it’s important to take a look at some important considerations when it comes to your driveway replacement or extension and your driveway contractors.

Guidelines & Regulations


Each city will have its own design guidelines and regulations regarding driveways. This is because cities try to maintain a certain aesthetic within the city boundaries- which sometimes means strict rules about the style and dimensions of your driveway and yard. There are also logistical concerns: too much concrete creates a lot of water runoff, which can cause issues if the city’s storm sewer drains cannot absorb it properly.

It’s always important to check the city requirements for each project. For example, many cities allow up to 50% concrete (hardscape) front yard coverage, while others only allow up to 40%. Some cities permit driveway extensions on both sides, while others only allow an extension towards the nearest property line. 

In addition to city regulations, Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) will often have their own guidelines. Be sure to check your HOA website as well.

Basic Driveway Finish Types 

“Finishing” is what it sounds like- the process of giving the poured concrete its ultimate look! When it comes to different concrete finishes you have a few different options. 

Broom Finish: 

A popular choice for finishing concrete is a broom finish. This look is achieved by taking a broom and brushing it over the concrete to give it a smooth- but also textured finish. This little bit of texture gives the concrete traction- which makes it less slippery when wet, and therefore ideal for certain driveways, pool areas and patios. Broom finish is often one of the most cost-effective options for driveway finishing.


Smooth Finish:

Smooth concrete will sometimes be slightly more expensive per square foot than broom finish concrete. The look of smooth finish concrete is lovely- but due to the lack of traction, it can be very slippery when wet, and is therefore not recommended for pool decks and most driveways. Smooth finish concrete is often used for driveway borders or in-between concrete sections as an accent. 

Pictured: smooth finish for the border and broom finish for the driveway, note the difference in texture.


Salt Finish: 

Adding salt finish to your driveway can allow for some added subtle texture and traction to plain or colored concrete. As the name implies, this look is achieved when coarse salt rock is spread and then rolled onto fresh concrete where it dissolves. The resulting appearance is a speckled pattern with small indentations. This style is also budget-friendly.


Textured/Stamped Finish:

Textured or stamped finish is a great option for those who desire the look of pavers, but are on a tighter budget. The stamps are designed to look like different paving stones, and are often stained in order for the color to match the ‘stone’ look. A stamped/textured finish is almost always paired with colored concrete. Those who choose this style mostly choose one color, which is mixed into the concrete (integral color) or go with a two-toned color. For the latter, one color is mixed into the concrete (integral color), while a secondary color is applied superficially (release color) to give it a marbleized effect.


Driveway Enhancements

Colored Concrete:

Color can be added to basic grey brushed concrete to give it more style and a unique look. Integral colors are typically batched into the concrete mix and will attain their true color once the concrete has dried and set.


Exposed Aggregate Concrete:

Exposed aggregate concrete is durable and slip resistant. An exposed aggregate look is obtained when the outer layer of the concrete is not washed off and the contractor seeds in aggregate onto the newly installed concrete. Applying a wet look sealant to the exposed aggregate concrete can help achieve a ‘glossy’ look to the driveway.


Washed Finish Concrete:

As you might guess, to create a washed finish look, the top layer of concrete is washed off, leaving behind and exposing the fine sand that’s part of the concrete for a sandpaper-like texture. Sandwashed concrete goes through a similar finishing process as exposed aggregate concrete, but the mix will have more small sand-sized particles (versus the larger pebble-sized particles in exposed aggregate.) The surface is smooth enough to walk on comfortably but still offers great traction when the driveway or patio is wet.

We hope this article provided helpful information about some basic driveway styles. Whether you’re looking for something simple & classic or more intricate, it’s critical that you use a professional driveway contractor for your concrete projects.

If you’re in the Bay Area, Sacramento, or Fresno and you’d like to have your driveway replaced by a company that’s licensed, bonded, and insured, then click the link below to request a free quote:

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