Gravel driveways are ever popular with anyone looking for an eco-friendly alternative to asphalt driveways. There are, as with anything, pros and cons to using gravel for your driveway surface. Becoming familiar with the good and bad will help you to determine if this is the surface for you.
Gravel for driveways
The term gravel can refer to any loose rock or stone that is larger than sand but smaller than a cobble. The gravel used for driveways is typically a processed product that consists of rocks, sand, and clay. This mixture has a major advantage over plain rocks in that it compacts much better to create a stable surface. While coarse gravel or stone paving is designed to let water flow through it, other types of gravel driveways are designed to shed water, much like solid paving materials such as concrete or asphalt.
Pros and cons of using gravel for your driveway
Gravel is a whole lot cheaper than concrete, asphalt, or other paved surfaces. It can cost less than half of the paved driveways. Even though you will have to maintain the gravel, it is inexpensive to do so.
For those customers looking for a driveway that can take care of itself and doesn’t require much further maintenance after installation, a gravel driveway is a perfect choice. Gravel is as easy to maintain as a paved driveway. You simply need to add more gravel and as it sinks due to weight and water. This is something you will need to do regularly. Filling it in to even it out will usually need to be done twice a year, depending on the use and weather conditions.
Installation is easy when installing a gravel driveway. You will need to grade the driveway, and then add the gravel of your choice. Next, add a layer of pea gravel to fill in between the gravel. It will settle within a week and will give you a smooth surface. Once it is installed, you can use it immediately, as opposed to a paved surface, which has to cure before it can be used.
Water drainage is another plus with gravel. It allows the water to dissipate into the ground, and evaporate into the air, without affecting the driveway. With a paved driveway, water can become trapped and cause cracks and deterioration, which is also very expensive to repair.
Cleaning can be difficult
If you’re the clean and tidy type, then a gravel driveway isn’t for you! Gravel is very dirty as opposed to other driveway surfaces. Especially in the dry summer months, dirt and dust can be an issue. This can cause the exterior of your home to need frequent cleaning, as well as your garage when the door is opened. Given the loose nature of gravel, cleaning a gravel driveway can be tricky.
Maintenance during winter can be difficult
During winter weather, where gravel driveways are not smooth, the removal of snow or ice is very difficult. About the only thing you can do during these times is spread salt on the snow or ice it to melt it or add sand on top of the gravel to allow you to get a grip with your tires.
Lack of options
With other driveway choices, there are an array of options as far as surface texture, pattern, and colour. With gravel, there are very few options, and you are limited as far as colour and texture go. For this reason, if you are wanting your driveway to be part of the design of your home, it may not give you the wow factor you are looking for.