Topic: Latest News

Types of driveway materials

8 Dec 2017 

First and foremost, the driveway needs to withstand the load of vehicles and provide easy access between the road and where the vehicle is stored. A driveway that will give way to the pressure of traffic can damage the property and car, and lead to increased maintenance costs; a driveway that makes it difficult to enter and exit the property can prove a daily hassle.

In addition to providing practical benefits, a driveway must be attractive to preserve the look and value of the property. After all, it does occupy a large portion of the property’s frontage and plays a large role in forming people’s impression of the house.

When considering the costs of installing a new driveway always factor in the ongoing maintenance costs. Some driveway materials are expensive to install, but require little by way of maintenance; others need ongoing maintenance to keep them looking their best.

Below you’ll find articles on the materials most commonly used for driveways

 

Concrete driveways

 

A concrete driveway

What is a concrete driveway?

A concrete driveway is made of aggregate (stones and gravel) bonded together by cement. The aggregate used can vary in size and appearance.

Concrete does have a bit of reputation of being drab, but its appearance can be livened up with the addition of coloured stones, concrete paint, or the application of stencils to create the appearance of pavers.

What’s the best use?

Concrete driveways are suitable for a wide range of applications, as the surface can be adapted for practical (i.e. different finishes for grip) and aesthetic needs (concrete can be finished in a number of colours or engraved).

What maintenance is required?

With a high quality installation, concrete needs very little maintenance. Ensure spills of oil, grease or petrol are removed as soon as possible to prevent stains forming and reseal the concrete every two years and your drive should look good for at least a decade, if not longer.

 

What are the minimum and maximum grades?

To ensure water drains, concrete driveways should have a fall of at least one percent away from the house and towards the street.

The grade should not exceed 1:4 within the property boundary. Note that in some areas, there are restrictions on how steep a driveway can be; be sure to check with your local council about these limitations.

Do concrete driveways need steel reinforcing?

Concrete driveways can be constructed without steel reinforcing, as it does not increase or decrease the load capacity – it merely prevents cracks widening should they occur.

How is it installed?

For non-reinforced concrete and standard passenger cars, concrete needs to be 100mm thick. For heavier vehicles, the required thickness increases to 130mm.

Installation of a concrete driveway will usually proceed as follows:

  • Choose a cool, overcast day to pour your driveway – don’t proceed if there’s a chance of rain or frost. Very hot days should also be avoided.
  • Excavate 200-300mm
  • Create a base with hardcore of at least 150mm
  • Cover with fine gravel and level it off
  • Ensure good compaction with a vibrating plate or roller
  • Install timber forms along the sides of the drive, with stakes at regular intervals and and at every join between timber forms
  • Check the elevation to ensure uniform slab height
  • Lay the concrete
  • Insert shrinkage joints at least every 5-6m to avoiding cracks forming. You can also cut control joints. These will need to be done with 24 hours of pouring – sooner if the weather is hot.
  • Keep vehicles off your drive for at least seven days. If the weather is quite cool, extend this by another 5 days.

What will a concrete driveway cost?

Factors that will alter the cost of your concrete driveway include:

  • Size – the length and width
  • The slope – the price increases as the slope does
  • The appearance – plain concrete is cheapest. Add in colour, exposed aggregate or stencilling and the price will increase.

To ensure you get an accurate quote from your concreter or can put together an accurate budget, make sure you know all of the above items.

Many concreting companies have quote calculators on their website, making it quick and easy to get a quote.

Advantages and disadvantages of concrete driveways

Advantages
  • Durable
  • Cost-effective
  • Low maintenance
Disadvantages
  • Can be unattractive
  • Requires a large amount of prep work

 

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Ενεργειακά χρώματα για ενίσχυση της θερμομόνωσης κτηρίων

του Δημήτρη Διαμαντίδη.

Η ενεργειακή αναβάθμιση έχει λάβει πολλές διαφορετικές μορφές και η σύγχρονη τεχνολογία επιτρέπει πλέον να ενσωματώνουν θερμομονωτικά χαρακτηριστικά ακόμη και τα προϊόντα βαφής.

Τα ενεργειακά χρώματα διαφέρουν από τα κοινά χρώματα βαφής τοιχοποιίας λόγω των μοναδικών χαρακτηριστικών τους, χάρη στα οποία εξασφαλίζουν θερμομόνωση (μειώνουν τις επιφανειακές θερμοκρασίες και κατ’ επέκταση και τις εσωτερικές θερμοκρασίες του χώρου) και στεγανότητα (δημιουργούν μια αδιαπέραστη στην υγρασία ελαστική μεμβράνη).

Αυτά ακριβώς τα χαρακτηριστικά τα αποκτούν μέσω της πρωτοποριακής τους σύνθεσης με τη χρήση νέων καινοτόμων υλικών, τα οποία επιβεβαιώνονται μέσω εργαστηριακής πιστοποίησης.

Συγκεκριμένα, τα ενεργειακά χρώματα έχουν υψηλή ανακλαστικότητα στην ηλιακή ακτινοβολία, υψηλό συντελεστή εκπομπής στην υπέρυθρη ακτινοβολία, χαμηλό συντελεστή θερμικής διάχυσης και υψηλή ειδική θερμοχωρητικότητα, στοιχεία που συμβάλουν στην εξοικονόμηση ενέργειας στα ακίνητα όπου και εφαρμόζονται.

Τα θερμομονωτικά ή ενεργειακά χρώματα έχουν αναπτυχθεί με τη χρήση της νανοτεχνολογίας, η οποία έχει ως σκοπό τη δημιουργία σωματιδίων ύλης με πολύ μικρό μέγεθος. Στην περίπτωση των ενεργειακών χρωμάτων τοποθετούνται στο χρώμα, κεραμικά/υαλικά σωματίδια το εσωτερικό των οποίων περιέχει αέρα και είναι πολύ μικρής διαμέτρου. Η ύπαρξη των σωματιδίων αυξάνει κατά πολύ την αντανακλαστικότητα της βαμμένης επιφάνειας.

Ένα ακόμα πολύ σημαντικό χαρακτηριστικό είναι ότι το κενό αέρος στο εσωτερικό των σωματιδίων δημιουργεί θερμομόνωση υψηλής αποδοτικότητας αντίστοιχη με αυτή που παρέχουν για παράδειγμα τα διπλά τζάμια και συρρικνώνεται το φαινόμενο συγκέντρωσης υγρασίας στους τοίχους.

Είναι προφανές βέβαια πως τα ενεργειακά χρώματα δεν μπορούν να επιφέρουν αντίστοιχα αποτελέσματα με αυτά της εσωτερικής ή εξωτερικής θερμομόνωσης.

Ωστόσο, με τη βοήθεια των συγκεκριμένων προϊόντων επιτυγχάνεται σημαντική εξοικονόμηση ενέργειας για ψύξη το καλοκαίρι και θέρμανση το χειμώνα.

Μάλιστα, εκτιμάται πως το ποσοστό εξοικονόμησης ενέργειας μπορεί να ανέλθει έως και στο 20%.

Το επιπλέον κόστος των ενεργειακών βαφών δεν είναι αποτρεπτικό για την εφαρμογή τους σε σχέση με τις συμβατικές, καθώς έχουν μοναδικά πλεονεκτήματα.

Έτσι, ένα καλής ποιότητας ενεργειακό χρώμα κοστίζει περίπου 15-25% περισσότερο από ένα αντίστοιχης ποιότητας κοινό χρώμα.

Να σημειωθεί τέλος πως τα ενεργειακά χρώματα είναι συνήθως λευκά ή έχουν πολύ ανοιχτές αποχρώσεις, σε αντίθεση με τα σκούρα χρώματα που δεν μπορούν να πετύχουν τους επιθυμητούς δείκτες για να χαρακτηριστούν ως «ενεργειακά».


Moving fast is the key to a good property deal

The competition to find a great property deal is high. So, what can you do to make sure you get there first?

By Zoe Dare Hall

Great property deals are about motivation and opportunity. The motivation of vendors and developers who have to sell, no matter what. And the opportunism of investors who know when to drive a hard bargain.

Surprisingly, the motivation to sell may not be that high now.

Lender forbearance is currently allowing borrowers in financial difficulty more time to sell…

So the competition to find deals is high. What can you do to get there first?

Present yourself to estate agents as a serious buyer who can make a quick decision. The best traction is ready finance and the ability to exchange quickly without borrowing or needing mortgage approval.

If you are immediately proceedable, you’ll be first on the viewing list.

Check the area that has what your tenants need. Is there handy transport and shops, is it near the university and good nightlife? Look at your competition on property sites to see what the going rent is and which properties take time to rent out – and do the maths thoroughly before make your move.

Visit the properties before you decide. If it’s a renovation project, get a survey done. Check the legal documents, either downloaded from the seller’s website or requested from the vendor’s solicitor and check with your own solicitor that there are no covenants that could affect the property’s value.

Another deal-sourcing method is to grill lettings agents about landlords who are seeking to reinvest elsewhere, either to free up funds or for retirement.

The property may come with the added advantage of the tenants in situ and furnishings. This could be a really good deal. You can track what the rental performance has been with the agent, including maintenance, improvements and voids.

Or if you are looking for new-build, target developers at key moments – when they are about to present the bank with client reservation fees as proof of funding, or near the end of construction, when they are keen to move on.

“Developers often get customers who decide not to buy after 12 weeks for silly reasons such as a leaky tap, so when we have a motivated client who can exchange quickly, they’ll offer discounts as high as 20 per cent in prime locations.”

Ultimately, the key to making a profit is the price you pay, not the price you sell for. Spot where an area or house is undervalued and make an offer, or look for sellers who revise their house price consistently over a short period as they probably need a quick sale.

“To help beat the competition, constant communication with estate agents is essential to ensure the investor is approached before the property hits the market.”