If you need a quick way to fix up your driveway, gravel is often the way to go. You can find it at virtually any home and garden store, you don't need a lot of equipment, and it only takes a couple of hours and some elbow grease to complete.
Still, despite their perks, gravel driveways aren't right for everyone -- or every property.
Are you considering gravel for your home or latest real estate investment? Study up on the full range of pros and cons before you dive in.
Pros of gravel driveways
The biggest benefit of a gravel driveway is probably its cost. At an average cost of just $840, it's an extremely budget-friendly option -- especially compared to the $4,000 to $5,000 that concrete or asphalt will typically run you.
That's not all, though. Gravel driveways are also:
- Extremely long-lasting: If you can commit to regular maintenance and upkeep, it could last you many decades to come.
- Easy and fast to install: Even without professional skills or equipment, you can usually lay a gravel driveway in just a matter of hours.
- Good for drainage: With gravel, water doesn't get trapped or cause cracking like it does on concrete or paved driveways. Instead, it allows water to drain into the ground and evaporate into the air.
- Customizable: Gravel comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and colors. It's super easy to customize it to your exact style, preferences, and property.
Cons of gravel driveways
Of course, nothing is without fault, and when it comes to gravel driveways, there are quite a few you'll want to consider before spending your hard-earned cash on one.
Here's a quick look at the drawbacks of these drives:
- Lots of maintenance: Gravel driveways are prone to ruts, sinkholes, and other damage due to use and exposure to water and other weather conditions. You need to add more gravel, control any weed growth, and regrade the driveway about every two years.
- Could cause damage to your car: No matter how careful you are, gravel bits can kick up and hit your car and windshield, and when ruts or sinkholes are present, it could even damage the underside of your vehicle.
- Not great for cold climates: It's not easy to blow snow or scrape ice off a gravel drive -- at least not if you want the driveway intact when you're finished.
- Can dredge up dirt: Gravel is pretty dirty compared to other materials you might use for a driveway. In windy and dry climates, it might mean cleaning your vehicle more often than you normally wood.
The bottom line
Gravel driveways certainly have their advantages, but they're not the best fit for every home. In most cases, they're best reserved for warmer climates and for homeowners who have the time and energy to properly maintain them. If this doesn't apply to you or your property, you might consider a lower-maintenance option like an asphalt or concrete driveway.