Gravel vs. Paved
Gravel driveways and paved driveways are both good ways to enhance the look of your home and yard. When choosing to go with a gravel driveway, you have a little more flexibility when it comes to its appearance. Gravel driveways can have a couple of different colors of rock, whereas paved driveways typically are one of two colors. When planning a gravel driveway, you can choose the traditional gray rock, or red rock. However, whichever you choose, it must be deemed as "crushed gravel." A driveway that is made up of crushed gravel usually is composed of the following elements: small stones and pebbles, silt, clay and sand. Paved driveways, on the other hand, are usually comprised of either asphalt or cement, which is going to result in either a black or gray surface. Both types of driveways have their pros and cons and your regional location plays a big role in which type would be best for you. Crushed gravel driveways are typically not that expensive, and they are often popular in rural areas. These types of driveways are prone to ruts, but fixing a crushed gravel driveway is also pretty easy. All that is needed for repair is more crushed gravel spread over the affected area.
Pros and Cons
There are pros and cons to each choice of driveway. While asphalt driveways tend to be more expensive than gravel driveways, removing snow from a gravel driveway can be quite a bit more difficult than removing it from a paved driveway. On the other hand, if you live in a region where snow is a factor, a paved driveway can become a slippery slope when it snows and freezes, causing a hazard for homeowners trying to walk and drive on the surface. Homeowners typically do not have these sorts of problems with gravel driveways. A gravel driveway can become unsightly, however, because it is prone to developing ruts. Driving over gravel on a regular basis will also drive it down into the ground, eventually thinning out the layer of gravel, so having more gravel spread and dumped is imminent. Asphalt driveways do not usually become rutted, but over time, they can crack, leading to an unsightly finish. When this happens, the driveway will need to be repaved again, which can be expensive. Because there is a lot of sand, silt and clay involved in laying a gravel driveway, they tend to be relatively dirty and can cause dust to enter your home or stick to your vehicles, if they are parked outside or under a carport. Asphalt driveways, in contrast, are easy to clean, as they can be hosed off and swept, keeping dirt at bay.
Aesthetics and Cost
Aesthetics also play a big role in deciding between a gravel and a paved driveway. Paved driveways are much more aesthetically pleasing than a bunch of rock. However, if the gravel driveway is a short one, leading up to one's home, and the location of the home is not in a rural area, a gravel driveway can look nice as well. Lining the sides of the driveway with colored rock, such as red rock, can add to the appearance of a gravel driveway. However, this is not a common practice, since most gravel driveways are located in rural areas and thus, a lot of territory must be covered. Adding colored rock will also add to the price of a gravel driveway. The cost of both gravel and asphalt driveways varies depending on location and the cost of labor. If you are willing to spread the gravel yourself, all you have to pay for is the rock. However, if covering a large area, this can be very laborious and sometimes near impossible. Having an asphalt or cement driveway can also be cost-intensive as you will have to hire professionals to construct the driveway.