There are lots of choices for homeowners when it comes to driveway materials, with everything from the ever-popular asphalt to expensive pavers. However, one standard driveway option that is often overlooked is gravel. Here is a closer look at everything you need to know about gravel driveways, including some compelling reasons that some homeowners might want to give this material serious consideration.
What Is A Gravel Driveway?
Loose rocks or stones that are bigger than sand but smaller than cobble fall under the category of gravel. The type of gravel that is typically used for driveways is a processed product that is composed of clay, sand and rocks.
A standard gravel driveway is made up of three layers. Large stones that are roughly the size of baseballs will be placed on the bottom of the driveway. This layer is then topped with rocks that are roughly the size of golf balls, followed by a top layer of smaller and more aesthetically pleasing stones.
What Are The Advantages Of Gravel Driveways?
Here’s a look at the top reasons homeowners choose a gravel driveway.
They Are Affordable
Gravel is one of the most affordable materials for paving a driveway, making it an especially attractive option for homes that have long driveways. Gravel is sold by the cubic yard, which is a measure of volume, or by the ton, which is a measure of weight. The average cost of a cubic yard of gravel is between $40 and $55, while the average cost for a ton of gravel is between $50 and $65. Many homeowners find that it is cheaper to purchase gravel by the ton as it allows them to take advantage of bulk pricing.
The average cost of installing a gravel driveway is between $1,500 and $6,000. This works out to be around $2 to $5 per square foot and includes both the materials and the installation.
Different Types Of Stones Are Available
Another advantage of gravel driveways is the fact that different materials are available, and homeowners can choose one that suits their budget and the look they are hoping to achieve. Here is a rundown of the different types of gravel used in driveways and their average cost.
These are the baseball-sized stones that form the base, or first layer, of a driveway and are placed on top of geotextile fabric. These rocks cost roughly $0.65 per square foot.
Pea gravel and crushed clamshells cost around $0.60 per square foot, $50 per ton or $40 per cubic yard. Pea gravel is often chosen for its superior drainage ability and is a popular top layer.
Crushed limestone pieces have jagged edges that allow the pieces to lock together as they settle, forming a strong driveway surface. Expect to pay around $2 per square foot for a crushed limestone driveway.
Crusher run, also known as quarry process, is a material that is composed of dust and crushed stone. It can be used as a top layer and provides a smoother surface than other types of gravel because the dust settles into the gaps between the stones. Crusher run costs around $0.40 per square foot.
Rock pebbles or river rocks are often chosen for their appearance as their rounded shape provides a more polished look. However, they do tend to shift around beneath car tires. Rock pebbles generally cost around $1.50 per square foot, while bulk pricing averages out to around $108 per ton.
Crushed stone is a popular choice for both the middle and top level of driveways depending on the size of the stones. Many homeowners choose crushed stone because of its customizable nature. Many shapes, colors and styles are available, making it easy to find one that suits the aesthetic of the home. This material costs around $65 per ton.
They Are Easy To Maintain
Gravel driveways are surprisingly easy to maintain. Although they do need to be top-dressed every few years, this is easy and affordable. It may also be necessary to fill in sunken areas due to weather conditions from time to time, but this can be easily achieved by homeowners, many of whom will choose to keep a covered pile of gravel nearby to quickly fill in any dips that emerge with a shovel.
It Is Environmentally Friendly
Gravel is considered one of the more environmentally friendly driveway surface materials as its permeability allows for replenishment of groundwater. Gravel driveways are particularly suitable for homes in rural areas that are prone to movement and those that have large tree roots as they can be very accommodating and flexible.
Gravel that is sourced from your local area is an environmentally-friendly choice because it means that there will be no need for long-distance shipping and transportation that burns fossil fuels. Moreover, the money spent on this gravel goes back into the local economy and helps support small businesses, many of which have sustainable standards.
It Can Be Installed Quickly
Gravel is considered one of the easiest driveway materials to install, and laying it and letting it settle takes less than a week. Once a gravel driveway has been installed, it can be used immediately.
It Can Last A Long Time
With proper maintenance and care, a gravel driveway can last for as long as 100 years. Gravel driveways can be repaired and replenished on a continuous basis, which makes them last decades longer than other types of driveways. For example, asphalt and concrete driveways are prone to wear and damage that can be difficult to repair, which means replacement is often more cost-effective.
Reach Out To The Northern Virginia Driveway Team
Dirt Connections’ team of experienced driveway contractors can help you with your residential driveway projects, whether you need to have gravel delivered to your property or you ultimately decide to have your driveway paved. Get in touch today to discuss your project and find out how we can help you get the right driveway to suit your needs.
Dirt Connections was started with one goal in mind: providing quality residential and commercial construction services to clients on time and on budget. Reach out for more information on how we can support your next project.
For your convenience our estimates are free and by appointment. Call 703-940-9949 for a free estimate today!