A driveway is the first thing you usually see when you arrive home or at someone else’s house.
Not only that, it is the last thing you see when leaving, so it must create a good impression. Right? Driveways are regarded as a curb appeal like your home’s roof.
Gravel driveways, in particular, are more prevalent in rural areas and when you have a very long or large driveway. And not all of us are fond of sleek concrete driveways!
A gravel driveway is constructed with gravel as the base layer. The combination of gravel with other materials forms a robust and long-lasting surface capable of supporting vehicle movement.
Gravel driveway materials are more visually appealing than asphalt driveways. This is due to their more natural looks and ability to be tailored to the needs and complement the style of your home.
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Types of Gravels
However, not all types of gravel driveways suit each residence. And, it is worth remembering that there are several types of gravel, each with its own set of properties and applications:
1. Pea gravel
Pea gravel, also known as ‘pea shingle,’ is a quartz-based amalgamation that works well for driveways.
It is cheap, dynamic, and spherical, and the pieces provide excellent water flow, preventing erosion and weed growth.
2. Self-binding gravel
Unlike alternative materials, significant dust has been incorporated into this material to enhance its self-binding capacity.
The dust binds the gravel together, forming a surface less prone to scuffing. Self-binding gravel is typically the least expensive and is frequently used in parks.
Hoggin is a naturally occurring combination of gravel, sand, and clay. It compacts to form a very stable surface.
The material creates a buff-colored bound surface that enables water to drain effortlessly through it.
4. Coal ash and cinders
This type of gravel is produced as a byproduct of coal-fired power plants. Coal ash and cinders are as decent as gravel for a surface, but they are only available in black or charcoal.
Pros of Gravel driveway
Gravel driveways have numerous pros; we have discussed some important ones below:
One of the possible explanations that homeowners prefer gravel driveways is that they are inexpensive.
A gravel driveway is the most cost-effective option when contrasting this tactic with pavers and concrete.
However, depending on how busy the driveway is and the weather patterns, you may have to replace the upper surface every few years.
This is also one of the explanations why it is ideal for large driveways. Gravel is inexpensive, which is vital because the components account for most of the costs.
This pavement remedy has a lower overall cost compared to other forms of driveways.
Installing this type of driveway also requires less labor than installing a concrete or brick driveway.
A gravel driveway is a good choice if you have a tiny income or want to keep your expenses down.
Installation of a gravel driveway is effortless and hassle-free. But, you must evaluate the driveway before adding the gravel you prefer.
Fill in the gaps between the gravel with a layer of pea gravel. It will settle in a week and leave you with a smooth surface.
In contrast to a paved surface, which must cure before use, you can use it instantaneously after installation.
Regularly incorporating gravel is faster than constructing an asphalt driveway and requires no regular maintenance. You will need a trailer to transport it, a couple of person-hours, a shovel, and a rake.
Gravel is just as simple to keep clean as a paved driveway. Add more gravel as it settles due to weight and water. However, this will be something you must do regularly.
Filling it in to even it out should be done twice a year, based on use and weather patterns.
4. Weather Resistance
Extreme weather conditions, including heavy rain and cold winters, hurt some driveway surfaces, such as concrete and tarmac, causing them to fracture.
This detracts not only from their appearance but also their suitability as a driveway surface.
On the other hand, gravel driveways are unlikely to be affected by inclement climate. They do not require additional drainage to handle run-off and surface water during heavy torrential downpours.
Using the strongly recommended driveway grids on your driveway will make you happy to know that they are absorbent and preserve natural drainage routes for water to stream down into the soil.
5. Evergreen Aesthetics
Natural gravel, based on the style of your residence, can be an excellent way to highlight your landscape transitions.
After all, brand new concrete or tarmac can look strange in front of a classic home or a homey cottage.
On the other hand, gravel’s natural appearance gives people a more earthy and natural feel even if they reside in urban cities.
Cons of gravel driveways
Gorgeous Gravel driveways, like everything else in life, aren’t flawless. It would be best to consider why it might not be an excellent choice for your property. Some disadvantages of gravel driveways encompass:
1. Winters Can Be Challenging
Water can cause mayhem almost anywhere, particularly on gravel driveways. If you notice ruts or washouts regularly, your driveway most likely has drainage issues.
The remedy is to either add sufficient gravel to raise your drive above the surrounding areas or deploy a drainage pipe or ditch to divert water away from where it pours over the gravel and jeopardizes it.
That beautiful winter months snow on your driveway is also not so good. If you use a snow removal plow, your gravel driveway will be barely recognizable the next time the sun shines.
2. Appearance Of Sinkholes, Puddles, And Grooves
Due to moisture absorption and driving behavior, your beautiful driveway may be ugly with potholes and sinkholes over time. There will be puddles and bumpy surface, which can be hazardous to your vehicle.
Grooves can establish when gravel pivots, which can be a driving annoyance. These issues are easily remedied. For instance, more gravel can be used to level out the notches.
3. Washout Problems
While it is undeniable that gravel driveways offer better water drainage than other driveway composites, they are not without expense. Under heavy weather patterns like rain, material for driveways may wash out.
A gravel driveway may not be the best alternative if you use your driveway frequently and live in an area with heavy rainfall.
When a gravel driveway is washed out, it can cause challenges such as potholes and slumps, which can pose complications if you do not correctly manage your driveway.
This is something to consider when deciding on the appropriate driveway for your residence.
4. Prone To Weeds
One issue with gravel is that weeds can grow if it is not adequately prepared and positioned. These can be unaesthetic and inconvenient to extract.
However, you can diminish the incidence of this event by laying a shielded weed membrane beneath the rocks.
Of course, this will raise the price of your driveway slightly. Sprinkling a weed killer over the region before installing the gravel can help with long-term weed reduction; however, regular implementations of weed killer will be the ideal solution to decrease sproutings.
5. Dirt Accumulation
The gravel layer is much dirtier than other driveway surfaces. Dust particles can be a problem, especially during the hot summer season.
This can affect the exterior of your home and car park, requiring thorough maintenance each time the door is opened.
As such, if you just scrubbed your vehicle and have to drive up your gravel driveway, it will likely become messy faster than it would on a paver or cemented driveway.
Summary of gravel driveways pros and cons
|Winters Can Be Challenging|
|Appearance Of Sinkholes, Puddles, And Grooves|
|Prone To Weeds|
As you can see, maintaining a gravel driveway in front of your house has both advantages and disadvantages.
Before determining which type of driveway is best for you, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each.
When contemplating all of these variables, it is critical to consider what is most practical and essential to you and your household.
If a gravel driveway is suitable for you, make sure to choose high-quality materials and have it assembled by a technician.
Doing so guarantees that your driveway will last many years without mandating much upkeep.
(Last Updated on September 1, 2022)