Steep Driveway Drainage

Two questions regarding steep driveway drainage:

My existing driveway has a fairly steep incline for about 20 to 25 ft. upward, then levels off for about 8 feet before arriving at the garage entrance:

1. Would this top-angle change weaken a brick or concrete driveway?

2. In the winter, this driveway is subject to melted snow water drain off. This water drainoff freezes at night along side and under the driveway - would this freezing and thawing cause the pavers to heave?

I live in Alexandria, Virginia.


1. The slope that you indicated should not have an effect on the strength of a brick or concrete driveway.

2. Any freezing and thawing may casue pavers to heave, but they should go back to the way they were after the ground thaws out. I had this same situation on my patio. With the terrible last winter we had in NJ, I thought my entire patio was going to have to be re-laid. But lo and behold! After the snows stopped and it warmed a bit, it was fine.

However, it would be better if the ground at the edges of your driveway sloped away in some fashion so that the ice/water does not collect there. I don't know if that is your situation or not, but I just thought I would mention it.

You mentioned brick, concrete and pavers. Is this an existing driveway or are you thinking of re-doing it in one of these materials? Concrete will be the most sensitive to freeze-thaw conditions since it does have a concrete base. Brick and pavers are typically dry laid which is more forgiving as the entire installation can "move". If you set brick in concrete, it will be similar to a concrete driveway installation.

This may not be helpful to you if your driveway material is there already, but a helpful page with images on how to lay various types of hardscape is here.

Building a Patio

You may also be interested in my page on Driveway Drainage

This is a guide as the base for driveways would be different.

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