How To Make A Steep Driveway Less Steep
Back when I drove a sports car, there was one thing I really, truly hated. That thing was steep driveways, primarily because my car was so low to the ground, certain driveways ran the risk of hitting my bumper. Now that I’m doing the home improvement thing, I’ve become a little obsessed with finding ways to protect a car by decreasing the steepness of a driveway.
There are several ways to handle having a steep driveway. You can add gravel to gain more traction, adding speed bumps, reducing steepness through the use of curves, regrading your driveway, or just adding a special gap-reducing ramp to the bottom of the driveway can help.
Figuring out which solution is right for your driveway can be taxing, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. This guide will help you get the most of your driveway steepness reduction…or at least reduce the damage a steep driveway can do.
What Are The Risks Of Having A Steep Driveway?
The biggest risk of having a steep driveway is having damage happen to your car as a result of having the bottom scrape across the pavement. However, if you’re in a colder environment, a steep driveway can also lead to your car sliding down the driveway as a result of ice. This can lead to car accidents or prolonged damage.
A steep driveway can become a liability for homeowners, especially if they let friends park their cars in their driveways. If a person damages their car due to a steep incline in your driveway and goes so far as to call their insurance provider about it, their insurance company might hold you liable. This, in turn, could raise your home insurance rates for years to come.
How Steep Should A Driveway Be?
Ideally, your driveway will be flat as a board. However, that’s not always feasible. Studies show that driveways should not have more than a 15 percent grade. In other words, your driveway shouldn’t have an incline that’s higher than 15 feet for every 100 feet of length. Any higher can potentially cause damage to cars and turn your driveway into a slipping hazard.
How Can You Mitigate Risks From A Steep Driveway?
There are several ways that you can alleviate the problems that come from having a steep driveway. The most common ways can be found down below…
Add Gravel To Your Driveway
Many car fans (myself included) wince at the thought of gravel, simply because it can damage certain types of tires. However, gravel still remains a popular solution for steep driveways that are at risk of losing traction. It’s cheap, the gravel gives your tires something to grip onto, and it also can look pretty nice.
You might have to get rid of the pavement in your driveway to make this option work, but it will be a safer option for cars that are prone to slipping during winter conditions.
Add Speed Bumps
Some homeowners have been able to reduce the chances of slippage on a steep incline by adding speed bumps or other obstacles that make driving a little less smooth. Installing speed bumps helps ensure that parked cars stay parked. They also are fairly easy to add on compared to other options on here.
Speed bumps can be made of concrete, certain types of plastic, as well as asphalt. Even having some small stones on the sides of your driveway can help a serious mishap get prevented.
Add Curves To Your Driveway
The most reliable way to reduce the steepness of a driveway, if you have the space to do so, is to add a couple of curves to your driveway. By having extra curves that your car turns when you are heading towards your garage, the steepness of the hill gets spaced out over several “laps.”
Having just two twists or turns on a steep parking lot reduces the impact it has on your car and your safety significantly. If you take a more “terraced” approach, then you might barely even notice the incline of the hill at all.
Regrading Your Driveway/Leveling Your Driveway
Another option that you can consider is doing a full driveway regrade. This involves removing your driveway, adding filler soil to reduce the steepness of the hill, and then repaving it so that you have a less steep incline. This can completely eliminate the issues that come with a steep driveway, but it comes with a lot of issues that most homeowners can’t stand.
The biggest issue with performing a driveway regrade is that it costs a ton of money. Most homeowners will have to spend several thousand dollars in order to get their driveway regarded. Between that, the long excavation timelines, and the damage it can do to a lawn, it’s best to leave this as a last resort.
A similar operation is called leveling your driveway. With this operation, the driveway’s incline is especially reduced without having as much excavation put forth.
Adding A Gap Ramp
Many steep driveways only cause damage to cars as a result of a gap that occurs between the driveway and the road pavement. There’s a simple fix to this: getting a gap ramp. A gap ramp is meant to make it easy to smoothly transition from your parking lot to your street, without having the awkward bang of a car’s bumper hitting the pavement.
Gap ramps can be bought premade, or can be made through the use of concrete or asphalt. If you choose to make your own, make sure to check with the local city planner to see if there are any regulations you need to be aware of prior to the installation. Even if you have certain regulations, this type of installation is often the easiest and the cheapest to do.
How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Steep Driveway?
If you decide to repair or address your driveway’s incline, you should expect to pay at least a couple hundred dollars. However, the exact price you’ll pay depends on the solution that you choose. Here’s what to know:
- A regular ramp or speed bump will cost between $150 to $600. This is on the low end and assumes that you will be the one doing the work.
- Regrading your driveway will cost between $400 and $5,200. The low end involves doing a DIY job, while the high end will involve having a professional team of people installing a customized driveway with an elegant finish.
- Just getting your driveway leveled will cost an average of $900. This is a lot like regrading, but slightly less involved.
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