It's that time of year that some of us need to think about pouring a new driveway. The basics: Cost: $4 to $8 per square foot, depending on site conditions and preparation. Durability: 30 years or longer with proper care. Maintenance: Sweeping and pressure washing when needed. Chemicals may be needed to remove oil or tire marks. Additional options: Driveways may be stained different colors or poured into eye-catching patterns.

Changes in weather (common in WNY) will cause concrete to expand and contract, so it is usually laid in large square slabs to reduce the occurrence of cracking.

Advantages:

1. Maintenance and longevity: Cracks usually don't occur for quite a long time, and potholes are nearly nonexistent. Concrete also lasts longer than any other driveway material.

2. Temperature control: Because of its light color, concrete stays cool enough for bare feet in summer.

3. Color options: A huge draw for concrete is that it can be stained in an array of colors, adding warmth and character to the home's exterior.

4. Snow removal: Shoveling snow away from concrete is much easier than removing it from gravel or pavers.

Disadvantages

1. Resurfacing is not an option: Over time, your driveway may crack and will begin to look unsightly, although this will not happen for many years if poured correctly. The only way to fix this is to remove the old driveway and pour a new one in its place.

2. Large driveways can be costly: If you have a driveway that spans across a large yard, you may be better off with an asphalt or a gravel driveway, although the maintenance on both of these materials is a bit more than it is with concrete.

3. Surface stains: Because concrete is generally a light color, it is more susceptible to oil stains and tire marks. Removing these marks can be time consuming and usually calls for a special stain remover.

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