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    While you may give it little thought from day-to-day, your driveway is an important part of your home. It offers passage into your garage, space for parking, and a smooth surface for playing basketball or riding bikes. Your driveway also has aesthetic appeal, as it can enhance (or detract from) your home’s appearance.

    When problems do come up, it can be difficult to decide between repairing or replacing your driveway. Both options can be expensive, so it is important to research carefully to find the best solution for your situation. Here are some things to consider:

    How old is your driveway?

    Most driveways, either asphalt or concrete, are likely to last for around 20 years. If your driveway is approaching the 20-year mark, or even older, it may be worth replacing. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to replace it. Patching or resurfacing your driveway may be an option, but only if the damage does not affect its integrity.

    How important is the look of your driveway?

    Many driveway problems can be repaired. Small cracks can often be patched and even sunken concrete slabs may be lifted with a process sometimes known as slab jacking or mud jacking. Yet these repairs may leave visible signs of the work that was done. These slight imperfections may not bother you or they may be a reason you would prefer a replacement. Be sure you understand how a driveway repair will look before hiring a contractor to do the work.

    How much longer will you be in the home?

    If you’re planning to sell your home soon, you may want to consider how the repair or replacement might affect the sale. Will a freshly replaced driveway add enough value to your home to offset its cost? Will patches and other signs of repair detract from your home’s appeal? Check out the condition of other homes that have recently sold in your area and ask your real estate agent for advice.

    Do you want to change your driveway material?

    Sometimes a replacement is chosen over a repair simply because you would prefer to have a driveway with a different material. There are many options for driveways today. These include asphalt, concrete, gravel, crushed stone, brick and cobblestone. There are also luxury options, like heated driveways designed to melt ice and snow. Check with your Homeowners’ Association to see if there are limitations on the type of driveway you can choose.

    What is the cost difference between a repair and replacement?

    Ultimately, choosing between a driveway repair or replacement often comes down to the cost of each job. While a replacement is likely to be more expensive, some repairs can be pricey enough to make a replacement more worthwhile. Be sure to get estimates from several contractors and consider all of your options before making a decision.

    Considering all of these questions will help you sort through your options and decide whether repairing or replacing your driveway is right for you.

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