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Inexpensive Ways to Cover Dirt In a Driveway

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Recycled gravel is one of the cheapest driveway overlays for a dirt driveway. Recycled asphalt gravel is also a durable, inexpensive option for dirt driveways. There are other relatively inexpensive options. Before you choose one, Tim Carter from recommends you analyze your driveway, potential sources of moisture, grade and potential maintenance costs. While initial materials may be cheap, long-term maintenance requirements may help you decide which is best for you.


Gravel is one of the least expensive choices as a dirt driveway overlay. Priced from $1 to $3 per square foot at the time of publication, it's an affordable dirt driveway overlay that requires minimal maintenance. If your driveway is frequently wet or on a grade, gravel, which compacts in soil, can turn muddy. Another product, recommended by Carter, is recycled asphalt product. Made from crushed recycled asphalt, this product is durable like asphalt, provides water drainage and doesn't compact or turn muddy during rain or snow storms.

Tar and Chip

Tar and chip, also known as a macadam, is another inexpensive dirt driveway overlay. A coarse gravel layer is laid over the dirt. A layer of smaller stones is spread over the gravel to fill in any gaps. The entire stone surface is then sprayed with an asphalt sealant or a wet concrete mixture. Smaller gravel is layered over the sealant and the entire surface is compacted with a steam roller. This type of overlay offers durability and averages $2 to $4 per square foot.


Asphalt is still one of the more common driveway overlays, even over dirt. While it usually requires professional installation, it provides a durable, level driveway surface, even on grades. Unlike gravel or RAP, it cannot be laid directly to dirt surfaces. To help prevent cracking, it must be laid on a level concrete or gravel base. Though an asphalt sealant must reapplied every few years, with proper maintenance, it can last for decades. DrivewayTips estimates to the cost of installation at $1 to $6 per square foot.

Permeable Paving

Permeable paving is a rather new driveway overlay. Squares of recycled plastic or rubber are molded into cross-hatch grids. The grids are laid over dirt, filled with gravel, dirt or a combination of gravel, dirt and grass seed. Permeable pavement is relatively maintenance free unless it's planted with grass seed. Costs for installation vary based on the type of grid used. Porous pavement is maintenance free, permits drainage, works well on grades and can prevent erosion in wet areas. Cost on average ranges from $2 to $6, based on type of grid used and filler.

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