Gravel Driveways: Pros and Cons

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.

The Pros

1 - Affordability

Gravel is a whole lot cheaper than a concrete, asphalt, or other paved surface. It can cost less than 1/2 of paved driveways. Even though you will have to maintain the gravel, it is inexpensive to do so.

2 - Maintenance

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 on a regular basis. Filling it in to even it out will usually need to be done twice a year, depending on the use and weather conditions.

3 - Installation

Installation is a snap when installing a gravel driveway. You will need to grade the driveway, 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 installed, you can use it immediately, as opposed to a paved surface, which has to cure before it can be used.

4 - Water Drainage

Water drainage is another plus with gravel. It allows the water to dissipate into the ground, and evaporate into the air, without having an effect on the driveway. With a paved driveway, water can become trapped and cause cracks and deterioration, which is also very expensive to repair.

The Cons

1 - Snow and Ice Removal

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.

2 - Ruts

A heavily used gravel driveway can develop ruts, which are not attractive. You will need to fill in the ruts on a regular basis to keep it aesthetically pleasing.

3 - Options

With other driveway choices, there are an array of options as far as surface texture, pattern, and color. With gravel, there are very few options, and you are limited as far as color and texture goes. 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.

4 - Dirty

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.