How To Install & Maintain Gravel Driveways
How to Care For & Make Them Last
Whether to gravel your driveway or go with another material option is a big choice for any homeowner. This article seeks to answer questions you might have about graveling a driveway, including whether it’s the best choice, how the installation process works, and what maintenance a gravel driveway requires.
Pros and Cons of Gravel and Pavement
The two main driveway coverings are gravel and pavement, and each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. The chief advantages of gravel are that it is very affordable, it is relatively easy and quick to install, and that it can last indefinitely with proper maintenance. Additionally, gravel comes in a wide range of colors and textures, allowing for aesthetic flexibility.
One disadvantage of gravel is that it needs to be replenished from time to time, lest it develops ruts. Additionally, snow, ice, and leaf removal can be difficult. However, regular maintenance and winterizing techniques, like applying salt, can reduce these problems.
Pavement—whether asphalt or concrete—provides less flexibility than gravel when it comes to looks. Like gravel, pavement will have a relatively long lifespan: It can last decades with the proper maintenance. However, pavement needs to be sealed regularly and is more vulnerable to heat and winter conditions. On the plus side, driving over pavement produces less dust and debris than does driving over gravel. And like gravel, regular upkeep can make pavement much easier and less expensive to take care of.
How to Prep Your for the Placement of the Driveway
Often times, grading and excavation needs to be done to create a smooth level surface for the construction of the driveway and assure that water will drain properly. We are happy to look at your project and discuss options for making sure that this is done properly, provide a quote, or give suggestions for homeowners to do it themselves.
We want success for everyone and for you to be happy for years with your new driveway.
Installing Gravel Driveways
If you decide to go with a gravel driveway, you can expect the installation process to take 1 to 3 days. It is best done during dry weather. Typically, the installer will begin by measuring out the area of the driveway and then excavating the soil and other materials present. Next, the installer will lay down a fabric base for the driveway. After that comes layering: The installer will place a layer of large rocks at the bottom, then medium rocks in the middle, and then the gravel on top. The installer will compact each layer after it is put in place. Finally, the installer will apply a grade to the top layer of gravel. (The grade helps reduce the amount of water erosion.)
Maintaining Gravel Driveways
Once your gravel driveway is installed, maintenance will help keep it functional and pleasing to the eye. Regular maintenance includes removing sticks and other debris from the driveway, re-grading the surface periodically, and adding a fresh surface layer of gravel every 12 to 24 months. Many people also choose to apply weed killer to their driveway, which helps prevent vegetation from springing up. Another maintenance tip is to drive slowly to reduce the amount of gravel vehicles dislodge and fling off of the driveway.
By properly installing and maintaining your gravel driveway, you can enjoy years of use, all while boosting your home’s curb appeal.