Gravel Driveways

Is A Gravel Driveway The Right Choice For Your Home?
  • Which driveway surface is best when choosing between gravel, asphalt, permeable/interlocking pavers or concrete?
  • What are the benefits of a gravel driveway vs asphalt, concrete or permeable/interlocking pavers?
  • What type of ongoing maintenance does a gravel driveway require?
  • What type of material is best… crushed stone, gravel, pea gravel, crushed granite?
  • What size of stone is best for a gravel driveway?

These are all very important things to consider when it comes to a choosing a new driveway.

Gravel Driveways

Gravel driveways and crushed stone driveways can be seen all over the United States! They’re affordable, easy to maintain and you can create unique colors and designs with different types of gravel. In snowy regions, they are much more difficult to maintain due to regular snow removal. If you’re planning on installing a gravel or crushed stone driveway and you live in a snowy region, plan on putting all of the gravel that was pushed off with the snow plow back onto your driveway every spring!

Gravel driveways can be installed in the shortest amount of time with very little impact on the use of your driveway. Gravel driveway installation should be accompanied by meticulous drainage planning and an experienced grader operator to minimize the ongoing maintenance as much as possible. Depending on the size and scope of work involved, the construction of a new crushed stone or gravel driveway can be installed by an experienced grading contractor generally over a 1 to 3 day period. Crushed stone or gravel driveway installation is relatively simple. Most of the work is done with grading equipment and front-end loaders so it can be completed fairly quickly with minimal impact on your daily routine. You can also expect to drive on and use the driveway throughout the construction of a gravel driveway.

If you already own a gravel driveway and it’s beginning to show the signs of aging and deterioration, has a tremendous amount of weeds and has severe rutting issues, starting from scratch may be in order! This absolutely should be performed by a reputable gravel or grading company that will do it right the first time. If the existing gravel driveway shows signs of unstable sub-grade, the soil should be excavated and new base or structural material installed and then the new gravel driveway design installed on top of that for a solid, long lasting gravel driveway.

Of the four types of driveways, a gravel driveway is #4 when comparing cost and a #1 when comparing ongoing maintenance.

Cost Chart:
  • Paver Driveway – #1 – Most Expensive
  • Concrete Driveway – #2
  • Asphalt Driveway – #3
  • Gravel Driveway – #4 – Least Expensive
A gravel driveway is the least expensive driveway when comparing it to other driveway types.

Ongoing Maintenance Chart:
  • Gravel Driveway – #1 – Most Ongoing Maintenance
  • Asphalt Driveway – #2
  • Concrete Driveway – #3
  • Paver Driveway – #4 – Least Ongoing Maintenance
A gravel driveway requires the most amount of ongoing maintenance compared to other driveway types.

Life Expectancy of a Gravel Driveway

A gravel driveway, if installed properly, can last up to 3 to 5 to even 10 years with regular upkeep and maintenance. The variation in age can be determined by the amount of slope on your driveway if any, the number of curves in your driveway, the stability of the sub-grade, and the climate you live in.

Types of ongoing maintenance you can expect to perform on a gravel driveway?

Annual or Bi-annual Herbicide Application, Weed Pulling, Raking and Replacement of Displaced Gravel from Car Tires and Snow Removal.

A properly installed gravel driveway will need an herbicide applied annually or bi-annually to minimize vegetation growth. Fine tuning and sprucing up and/or additional stone may need to be added every two to three years to keep it looking clean cut! The amount of maintenance of a gravel driveway is directly correlated to the quality of the installation and the number of slopes and curves you may have on your driveway, combined with the amount of moisture and water runoff you receive. Applying a herbicide prior to the initial installation can help to minimize the amount of vegetation growth that will occur during the life of your gravel or crushed stone driveway. Keeping drainage planning in mind during the entire installation process will also help minimize ongoing maintenance. Keeping drainage ditches cleaned out and guiding the water runoff will also help extend the life of your gravel driveway.

Choosing The Right Driveway For Your Home

When choosing between a gravel driveway and the other three types of driveways, take into consideration these things:

Budget – Curb Appeal – Climate – Amount Of Ongoing Maintenance – Durability

If the short term, up front cost is a deciding factor, gravel driveways are an excellent, low-cost option. The long-term trade-off, however, is more ongoing maintenance costs. If upfront costs are not as important and aesthetics are the most important as well as having a hard driving surface, then Asphalt Driveways, Concrete Driveways or Paver Driveways are the alternatives. While initially, the upfront costs are higher, long-term they require fewer maintenance costs especially you live in a snowy region.

Also, take into consideration the effects of a gravel driveway if it’s not maintained properly or how it can look as it ages.

As you can see, not maintaining a gravel driveway leads to weeds overgrowing the edges, blurring the clean-cut look, and weeds creeping up into the gravel driveway making it look messy. You can also see an aging gravel driveway still doesn’t look bad, but the clean cut edges are gone.

Summary Of Gravel Driveways

Gravel Driveways can be a beautiful, low-cost addition to your home. The wide variety of different colors of gravel and crushed stone available can provide for an endless amount of designs and colors. See some different Colorful Design Ideas For Gravel Driveways. If you’re considering having a new gravel driveway installed, see our Gravel Driveway Installation FAQ’s section for more information.

You can also learn more about the ongoing maintenance of gravel driveways by visiting our Gravel Driveway Maintenance FAQ’s section for more information.

Before you hire a contractor to install or perform maintenance on your gravel driveway, be sure and review our video and eBook series, “The Most Common Ways Gravel Contractors Rip Us Off And How To Avoid Them”™ You’ll learn everything you need to know to hire a reputable gravel driveway contractor and get the job done right.

Or save time and take the guesswork out of hiring a gravel driveways contractor to install or maintain your gravel driveway and request an estimate from one of our Trusted Gravel Driveway Contractors in your area!

Thanks to All About Driveways for this great article.
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