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The Pros and Cons of Using Gravel on Driveways

The use of gravel has been making its way across more homes and properties in Australia over the last couple of years. It has been dubbed as an eco-friendly alternative to asphalt for the driveway. There are a lot of good reasons why you should consider incorporating gravel into your home but there are some downsides to it as well.

Pros

1. Affordability

Gravel is a lot cheaper compared to other paved surfaces for driveways such as concrete and asphalt. In total, you are looking at spending at least half the cost compared to concrete and asphalt. In truth, gravel takes a lot more maintenance compared to these alternatives.

Even if you factor in the maintenance costs, concrete and asphalt are still pricier.

One of the reasons why gravel is cheaper is that it can be replenished. It costs a lot to fix or refurbish cracks on paved surfaces. With gravel, however, you simply need to “restock” your driveway with it.

Gravel is Affordable
Lightweight expanded clay aggregate or expanded clay is a lightweight aggregate made by heating clay to around 1,200 °C in a rotary kiln. The yielding gases expand clay by thousands of small bubbles

2. Better Water Drainage

The problem with paved surfaces is that they don’t work well with water. Surfaces that do absorb water are more expensive. Occasionally, you’ll be left with several puddles of water on your driveway after a storm.

Simple gravel driveway

When it rains, water will dissipate on the ground and evaporate into the air naturally. Aside from the inconvenience of having to deal with puddles, you also don’t have to worry about cracks and deterioration caused by water damage.

3. Easy Installation

For paved surfaces to be installed properly, contractors will have to condition the ground so that it remains even and viable for the chosen material. For gravel installation, however, the most common practice is first grading your driveway and then adding the gravel of your choice.

It takes around a few hours for the gravel to be installed and a few days to let it set completely. On the other hand, paved surfaces usually take days to be installed and then more for the material to completely dry.

Gravel is Easy to Install

4. Deals With Gaps and Potholes Fast

Paved surfaces eventually get damaged which results in potholes. Small or big potholes are always an inconvenience on your end.

It’s a lot of trouble and money to fix potholes. For gravel driveways, however, fixing potholes is as easy as covering the affected area with more gravel. Overall, gravel driveway maintenance is relatively easier compared to paved surfaces. 

Potholes are common in gravel driveways but fixing them doesn’t take more than a few hours.

Deals With Gaps and Potholes Fast

5. Eco-Friendly Option

In general, gravel and sand are good driveway options for those looking to live a sustainable lifestyle. This is mostly because of their capacity to absorb and redistribute water into the air naturally.

Gravel driveway near white gate

Gravel driveway installation is also a simple process that doesn’t require the use of harsh chemicals and complex machinery. This means the amount of CO2 and harmful gasses it releases into the air is fairly limited.

Cons

1. Weed Problems

If you’re the type that wants a prim and proper driveway, then gravel isn’t the right material for you. Grass can grow through the gravel and this can be a major problem if you have fertile soil around your property. Grass doesn’t grow regularly on paved surfaces.

The good news is that grass isn’t too big of a problem. It’s something that you can take care of with a little bit of trimming. Don’t expect whole patches of grass to appear in your gravel, however. A few weeds here and it is completely normal.

2. Dust Problems During Summer

Gravel isn’t as fine or as clean as paved surfaces. This results in minor dust and dirt problems, especially during the dry season. This problem is best remediated by keeping rubber mats near your home’s entrances so that you don’t bring in dust from your shoes.

This isn’t a problem during the rainy season as dust and snow can easily wash away after rain. This is the most common problem you’ll face with a gravel driveway but luckily, it’s something you can fix with regular cleaning.

Now, what types of gravel should you get?

The most popular choices we recommend to our clients are Blue Metal, Pea Gravel, and Black Basalt. All of these are in stock so you can check them out and we can deliver them to you as early as we can.

Gravel driveways are a good option if you want something cheaper and easier to maintain. Admittedly, it’s not a perfect material for a driveway but as you can see, the good outweighs the bad in this case. Before you go for it, talk to our friendly team so we can give you some suggestions about how you can make the most out of the gravel.

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