Gravel driveways are a common form of driveway in rural areas. The advantages? No cracks! Concrete, asphalt and brick driveways all are made of materials that crack with age. Not so with gravel! Unfortunately, gravel does run the risk of other dangerous flaws such as potholes and overnight ditches from poor drainage.
If you’re a) thinking about installing a gravel driveway, b) have a gravel driveway and are looking to protect it or c) just passionate about gravel, then this guide is for you! We’ll take you through installation options for gravel driveways, preventative maintenance you should execute on your driveway, as well as quick repairs in the case of damaged areas.
1.The Great Thing About Gravel…
Gravel (and crushed stone) driveways are extremely common because they are extremely easy to install and generally cost much less than other materials. As long as you plan your drainage properly and efficiently in developing a plan for installing your gravel driveway, there’s not a whole lot of ways you can go wrong with gravel.
The most important thing you need to keep in mind when installing any driveway (especially gravel) is the value of a good grading contractor. These are the professionals that ensure your driveway slopes gently, smoothly, and with the most efficient and consistently present drainage on the driveway. Making sure to get a good grader is step one in realizing a great gravel driveway project.
Once the grading is complete, installation is fairly straightforward. After transferring and unloading gravel with a front-end loader, the gravel is spread out and compacted down to form a driveway on which you can safely drive. It’s so quick actually, that the second it hits the ground – it’s drivable! Well, barring any giant piles, we don’t recommend driving up piles like that.
2.Gravel Driveways Need Attention – So Give Them Lots of It
While gravel driveways are among the most inexpensive driveways to install, they are easily the top driveway in terms of regular maintenance and upkeep. Once (or better yet, twice) a year you should apply herbicide and weed killer to your driveway to ensure no wild weeds begin to grow up through the driveway, as well as pulling out any thick weeds that have made it through the rocks in search of sunlight. Additionally, you will need to rake up and replace loose rocks that are displaced as a result of frequent use.
In some cases, your gravel driveway may get so bad that it needs to be reinstalled. If this is the case, it’s recommended you treat the reinstallation exactly the way you treated the initial installation. Make sure you get a good grader out to inspect the drainage, and then have an experienced professional come in to do the installation. Most of the time, contractors who are experienced in gravel driveway installation will offer both the grading and installation in one estimate.
3.Calling the Pros
When you have decided that gravel is the way to go, be sure you know what you want before calling in a contractor. There are a variety of types of crushed rock and gravel, and a variety of colors to choose from as well. Do your research and contact your local stone dealer or quarry for a list of local varieties. If there are any specific needs you may want met with your driveway, convey that message to the contractor.
Finally, it helps to be present during the installation of the driveway – especially if there are some specific paths you’d like your gravel driveway to take. Being able to give immediate feedback to the contractor allows for a more clear understanding of the goals of the project, ensuring you get exactly what you wanted to begin with.
While gravel driveways are among the most inexpensive driveways to install, they are easily the top driveway in terms of regular maintenance and upkeep.