6 Alternatives to Gravel Driveways: Pros & Cons
Gravel is one of the most popular materials used to finish driveways, especially in rural areas. This is because gravel is easy to install, can be used right away, and is an affordable upgradable from a dirt driveway.
Gravel driveways, however, are not everybody’s cup of tea. If you do not fancy these types of driveways, the following are alternatives to consider:
The 6 Alternatives to Gravel Driveways
1. Concrete Driveways
Concrete driveways are extremely popular, thanks to their exceptional durability. These driveways can last years with minimal repairs and maintenance. However, this will depend on your contractor. Well-built concrete driveways can remain functional and reliable for decades.
However, this is not to say that they are perfect. For starters, concrete driveways are highly susceptible to staining. If oil, paint, or any other substance sticks to concrete, it will be an eyesore you will have an extremely difficult time eliminating. This means that a simple oil change while the car is on the driveway, will require the precision of a surgeon.
Another issue with concrete driveways is that they are not well suited for cold climates. Due to its rigidity, concrete is poor at expanding and contracting. Therefore, when ice covers its surface, it compromises concrete’s molecular structure, resulting in disintegration. This is why concrete driveways in colder climates require frequent repairs than in other areas. As such, if temperatures in your region dip below zero regularly, concrete driveways might not be ideal.
2. Asphalt Driveways
Asphalt is another popular material used in driveways. Unlike concrete, asphalt’s stunning black color gives any driveway a sleek look. As such, if aesthetics are on top of your priorities, asphalt driveways should be among your first considerations.
Another reason behind asphalt driveways’ popularity is their affordability. This makes them an ideal solution for anyone working with a limited budget. The good news is that that cost-effectiveness does not come at the cost of quality, as they last long with proper maintenance.
Maintenance, however, is the biggest drawback to these types of driveways because they are susceptible to cracking. While the materials required to maintain this surface are not expensive, the frequency at which one has to perform maintenance is what makes asphalt driveways unideal for some people.
3. Brick Driveways
When it comes to bricks and construction, most people think about fences and houses. However, bricks are also used to make driveways. Brick gives an interesting and somewhat appealing look to a driveway, making it ideal for those who love to veer from the norm. Its classic look is bound to make your driveway stand out. However, we recommend installing a brick driveway only if it matches your home.
Unfortunately, bricks are incredibly pricey. Moreover, they require professional installation to ensure a solid driveway. The good news is that, if properly installed, brick driveways can last decades without maintenance.
4. Crushed Stone Driveways
Crushed stone driveways are remarkably similar to gravel driveways, with the only difference being that you will be using crushed stones instead of gravel. In fact, crushed stone driveways even suffer from the same problems that afflict gravel driveways.
For example, since crushed stones are loose, they are highly susceptible to erosion and other forms of displacement, meaning that you will have to replace them regularly.
However, crushed stone driveways seem to be a superior alternative, as they look better than gravel driveways. This is because, with crushed stones, you have a variety. There are numerous types of crushed stones to choose from. Additionally, they come in a multitude of colors.
This means that it is extremely easy to match your driveway with your home using crushed stones, as you simply have to look for stones that complement your home’s color.
Crushed stone driveways, however, are not suitable for regions that experience regular snowfall. This is because they trap snow, making it difficult to remove the snow without shoveling out parts of your driveway along with it. A snow blower is also out of the question, as you might end up slinging stones all over the place.
5. Cobblestone Driveways
Cobblestone driveways appeal to those that love vintage. This is because cobblestones look like they belong in the past century. Other than that, cobblestone driveways are not that different from brick driveways. In fact, they share the same installation process and even function the same. The most significant difference between these driveways is cost, as cobblestones are pricier than bricks.
Considering how expensive brick driveways can be to install and maintain, it does not come as a surprise that their even pricier cousins are not that common. Nonetheless, it is worth the cost, as cobblestones make some of the fanciest driveways you will ever come across. However, as is the case with bricks, you will need an expert to deal with the installation.
Another great thing about cobblestone driveways is their longevity. When installed by a professional, they can last decades with minimal maintenance.
This premium driveway is ideal for people looking to give their property a unique look.
6. Crushed Basalt Driveways
Crushed basalt is similar to gravel and crushed stones, only that it is much prettier. The sleek, elegant look that crushed basalt gives a driveway has made it one of the most sought after driveway options today. Moreover, it is not as expensive as other aesthetically pleasing alternatives.
As with gravel, crushed basalt driveways can be used right away after installation. However, these materials also have similar drawbacks. Since crushed basalt consists of tiny loose stones, it is incredibly difficult to deal with when it snows. Therefore, it does not do well in colder climates.
Additionally, the loose stones are also susceptible to erosion. Like gravel, they are not an ideal driveway solution for those who want to keep maintenance at a minimal.
However, if you do not mind replacing your crushed basalt, live in a warm area, and are looking for a more aesthetically pleasing alternative to gravel, this driveway option is worth considering.
Gravel is one of the most popular driveway options, thanks to how cost-effective it is to install. However, if it does not suit your taste, you can always consider the other alternatives provided in this roundup.
Featured Image Credit By: Patryk Kosmider, shutterstock