Gravel Driveway vs. Paved Driveway: Pros & Cons

Apart from adding instant curb appeal to your home, an attractive and well-done driveway can have functional advantages as well. A gravel driveway is a great option for those who want to cover a large amount of space while keeping costs and labor at a minimum.  Though it might not be the ideal choice over an extended period of time. On the other hand, the regularly cleaning and maintenance requirements of a paved driveway might be a burden for those who simply want to finish the project and forget it.

gravel driveway

Gravel Driveways

Gravel driveways are easy to install and extremely affordable. This is especially true with properties that have extended driveways or parking areas. It is also relatively easy to maintain; although weather and vehicle usage typically cause stone replacement in 5-10 years, depending on usage. 

Pros

Depending on your choice of gravel, you can also create a highly customized and unique look for your driveway. While concrete can also be customized, to an extent, the added expense of doing so might put such projects beyond the reach of the typical homeowner. Most gravel products can be purchased for $1 to $5 per square foot. Concrete, depending on the exact application, can be significantly more expensive.

Cons

There are some disadvantages to the modern gravel driveway. If you live in an area that is prone to wintery conditions, you’ll see an immediate drawback when it comes to plowing or shoveling your driveway. Those who aren’t careful are likely to scoop up their gravel without even realizing it.

Even leaves that have fallen onto a gravel driveway can be difficult to manage. Standard rakes won’t differentiate between gravel or leaves and some leaf blowers are simply too powerful to use over a loose gravel surface. As such, you’ll have to pay extra close attention when picking up leaves in the fall.

You’ll also need to replace broken materials on a regular basis. Sharp edges can puncture rubber tires or even cause an injury to exposed skin. Moreover, a driveway that is littered with tiny, broken stones isn’t nearly as visually pleasing as a proper, brand new gravel application.paved driveway

Paved Driveways

Despite the numerous advantages of gravel, there are many instances where concrete paving is the best option. There are a number of materials that can be used to pave a driveway or parking area. The options include precast brick pavers, concrete that is poured on-site and asphalt paving. Because they’re all quite similar, we’ll consider their benefits — and drawbacks — as a group instead of individually.

Pros

For starters, paved driveways have an aesthetic appeal that gravel driveways lack. Even in simple, standard concrete projects, the final look is usually far more smooth and clean-looking.

Paved driveways are also easy to work with during periods of heavy snowfall or wintery weather. Depending on the exact material and design, shovels and plows can glide easily over the surface. This makes for easy cleaning of any driveways, sidewalks or parking areas around your home. Not only will this save some wear and tear on your back, but it also results in a space that is both cleaner-looking and safer.

Modern asphalt and concrete mixtures are also made to withstand extreme temperatures as well as constant cycles of freezing and thawing. Although gravel is also extremely durable, constantly changing temperatures can cause large rocks to break up. These smaller, ineffective pebbles that will require replacement.

Cons

The biggest and most obvious drawback of paving your driveway is the extra expense. While the cost of standard asphalt projects is on par with gravel installations, areas that use pavers or concrete range from $3 to $10 per square foot. Homeowners who want a customized concrete installation could pay as high as $25 per square foot for a finished driveway or parking area.

Homeowners will also have to clean their paved driveways on a regular basis. Excess dirt, oil and grease stains and even chemical buildup can all turn an attractive foundation into the ugliest one on the block. Gravel typically gets clean by Mother Nature via rainfall.

Making the Choice Between Gravel and Paving

There is plenty of room for creativity when it comes to the driveway of your home. Feel free to use whatever application best matches your house, your property and your overall attitude. Though make sure to check out community regulations, zoning restrictions, and factor in your budget. A paved or gravel driveway is a great way to add real value to your home without undertaking a massive renovation. Are you considering adding a gravel or paved driveway to your home? Let me know which & why in the comments below!

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Gravel Driveway vs. Paved Driveway: Pros & Cons
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Gravel Driveway vs. Paved Driveway: Pros & Cons
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The driveway makes up a large part of your home's curb appeal. Check out the pros and cons of a gravel driveway in comparison to a paved driveway.
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Your Wild Home
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Megan

Editor at Your Wild Home
Hey! I'm Megan. I am a dog-lover and enjoy exploring the outdoors. Your Wild Home covers a lot of topics, including (but not limited to) home improvement, home decor, construction, real estate, and sustainability. I enjoy writing in third-person and I am addicted to chocolate, coffee, and terrible puns. Learn more on my About Me page!

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  1. Reply

    Megan, I enjoyed reading the article and you bring up some great points. One of the downsides on asphalt pavement is the need to reseal it periodically.

    Due to being on ranches in Montana most of the time, paved roads are cost prohibitive for us. We use gravel primarily and in the winter the snow plow is going to allow a 1-2″ base to develop and then we plow on top of that. In the spring we drag the roads to smooth them out and might need to add some gravel every 4-5 years.

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