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Steep Driveway
updated: May 18, 2014, 4:00 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

I am curious if any of your readers have had experiences with steep driveways. If so, what materials and/or contractors did they use for the work?

Thanks in advance.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 520065 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 06:01 PM

Concrete and rebar. Don't have a dirt strip in the middle, enormous erosion results. Heavy broom finish. Make it plenty wide, you don't want to try to add to it later. Terrace the the outside grade to reduce erosion. Don't do asphalt unless you don't plan to stay long. Do it right the first time or you will wish you did later. 2-3 asphalt jobs will cost as much as concrete, be more dangerous in a rainstorm (bc potholes) and never look as good. You can go with LASH or Granite. There are a lot of great local contractors, Dan Robertson Masonry is another. You can always color and stamp it to, just stick with the broom finish for traction.


 COMMENT 520074 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 07:51 PM

Beware of an angle so steep you can't see what could be in your way when you go in or out.


 COMMENT 520077 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 08:25 PM

I have a very steep driveway.
Pavers....half the price of concrete. option to repair later.
Many style and color choices.


 COMMENT 520085P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 08:56 PM

My neighbor has a very steep drive. Pavers is definitely the way to go. Much easier to repair if there is a problem at any time. And - it looks great.


 COMMENT 520093 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-18 11:56 PM

I have a very steep downsloping concrete driveway that I have to back uphill to get to the street. There is a huge pittosporum tree that covers part of the driveway. During blossoming season, the blossoms fall onto the concrete. If there is fog, the blossoms become as slick as ice and my car gets no traction at all and I just sit there gunning the engine and spinning the tires. Needless to say, keeping the stupid driveway swept of debris is a #1 priority. I can't prove it, but I think pavers might have been a better answer, since it looks like they'd provide more traction.


 COMMENT 520100 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 06:18 AM

Asphalt is fine if the sub-grade is properly prepared. Concrete is significantly more costly and requires ridiculous amounts of energy to manufacture, if that matters in your decision making process. Cracking can be an issue whereas asphalt is somewhat flexible. Tierra is a larger local contractor who does quality work. I have used Quality Paving(Scott) out of Oxnard and had incredible service and results.


 COMMENT 520102 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 06:23 AM

Beware of an angle so sharp that you scrape the bottom of your car.


 COMMENT 520131 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 08:39 AM

My experience is pavers are much more expensive then concrete. I get my concrete don from a guy in LA for $6.25 a square foot. That is stamped an stained with any pattern you want. The other big thing that is very important is to ensure that you have a large drainage system at the bottom of your driveway so you do not flood your garage.


 COMMENT 520143 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 09:12 AM

I guess the assumption is that the driveway runs downhill from the street to the residence and not uphill from the street to a residence above street level. In either case strength is important, drainage is important and traction is very important. Reinforced concrete with a coarse finish is likely the most durable and best option. A slight V-ing to carry water to the center to keep it off the wheel tracks and then down the center to a drain or other watercourse at the foot of the driveway is also advisable.
Pavers are good but only as good as the subsurface preparation and soil conditions, so without that information it is difficult to recommend the use of pavers on this proposed site. Also, the surface of the pavers need to be course so they are not slick when wet.


 COMMENT 520161P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 09:51 AM

Great info! I asked this question last year and no one had info to offer - but my 60 year old asphalt driveway is not getting any younger and with an illegal pitch... well, I'm not getting any younger either and it's not safe. Now I know I can consider pavers, I will look into both paver and concrete estimates. Thanks edhat ppl!


 COMMENT 520225P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 12:32 PM

My grandmother had a driveway so steep that you could barely walk up or down it. This made it to the point, where you had to back down the driveway to get in the garage, and it was always a crap shoot as to if you were able to back down and swing to the left blind before you actually hit the garage. If you headed down the driveway front first it was nearly impossible to go up the driveway trunk first.


 COMMENT 520269 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 02:56 PM

Hello everyone, OP here.

The existing driveway is gravel and is in poor shape. I believe the soil was never compacted right when it was installed and in the 15 years since it has been beaten up by the garbage truck, ups, people spinning out, etc. The driveway is rather long and luckily was designed so the angle at the bottom prevent scrapping.

The driveway itself runs downhill from the street and into a large lower parking area before you reach the garages. The other issue here is aesthetics and because the lower portion of the driveway is gravel and isn't in need of repair a color closer to the gray rock color is preferable and probably why concrete/pavers may be a better fit.

Has anyone had any negative experiences with concrete or pavers? Or Chip Seal with gravel?


 COMMENT 520279 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 03:21 PM

A photo showing your grade would be handy in assessing your situation. Steep to some is not steep to others.


 COMMENT 520290 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-19 03:52 PM



 COMMENT 520411 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-05-20 07:39 AM

Is fire dept access required?(More than 150' from furthest point of house to street) If so you need a civil engineer to design it, garbage trucks not as heavy but may need special consideration. Pavers your best option as they can be more easily repaired. Structural section, base prep, and proper compaction is all important. Civil engineer can provide best advice on that aspect as well as proper drainage and drain structures. Chip seal won't last cosmetically, looks like old asphalt after not too much use, and may not provide proper traction if there's enough gravel to make it look like you want.

I recommend Phoenix pavers available from AquaFlo supply. Good selection of earthy colors, custom blends to your specs, local distributor, great service!


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