Comparing Gravel And Asphalt Driveways
Your driveway is most commonly the sole paved surface on your property, but it is also an extremely important one. Not only does it support your vehicles throughout the year, it also plays a massive role in the curb appeal of your home. Two of the most common types of residential driveway paving materials are asphalt and gravel. Understanding the major differences between both types of paving materials can help you choose the one that is the best fit for your home's needs.
Asphalt is the most common type of paving material used in residential driveways, largely due to its low price point. Asphalt provides a smooth and durable surface that can withstand exposure to heavy weights and varied temperatures fairly well. A notable benefit of asphalt over other types of paving materials is that it can be sourced from recycled materials, like roofing shingles. While this will increase the cost of your driveway paving, using recycled materials can reduce the carbon footprint of your home.
However, asphalt paving is susceptible to cracking over time due to moisture exposure and temperature fluctuations, which requires minor repairs and sealcoating to be completed regularly to maintain the structural integrity of the pavement. Furthermore, asphalt only comes in a single color – a dark black – that, while clean and tidy looking, is a rather bland addition to your driveway and landscaping aesthetic.
Also known as crushed stone, gravel driveways are quite literally made out of small pieces or rock that loosely hang together to form a single surface. One of the largest advantages associated with choosing gravel over asphalt is the fact that gravel is immune to cracking and other forms of physical damage. If a single piece of gravel cracks in two, you'll never notice it. This makes gravel much better at holding up to physical abuse. Further, gravel comes in a wide range of different types of stones and colors that allow for a greater degree of aesthetic customization than asphalt.
However, gravel has some downsides, most notably the fact that it cannot be shoveled or plowed easily in the winter since doing so will likely drag gravel away. Further, gravel requires reapplication of new stones every few years to ensure divots and holes do not appear. Also, depending on the type of stone used in gravel driveways, you may find that the cost of a gravel driveway is higher than if you were to choose asphalt, which isn't ideal for tighter budgets.