Caring For Gravel Driveways

care for custom gravel driveways

Gravel is a versatile material that is used in a number of varied applications throughout residential and commercial properties. Often used to enhance the look of a landscape design in place of mulch or other planting bed materials, gravel is also an effective option for those looking to install a relatively low-cost and low-maintenance driveway.  Worried about gravel driveway cost?    While maintenance requirements are not astronomical when it comes to caring for a gravel driveway, there is a bit more work to be done over time with this type of driveway material as compared to other options, such as concrete, asphalt or pavers.  However, the initial cost savings and the unique look it provides are often well worth the extra work that may be needed over time to keep your driveway looking and functioning at its best.

For starters, it’s important to know that your gravel driveway will likely never be completely smooth, due to its very nature.  The driveway is created by laying thousands of individual small rocks to create a relatively uniform surface.  While 100% smoothness is not possible, it is important to keep the overall area as uniform as possible so that you don’t wind up with dips and depressions in your driveway that will not only detract from the look of your home, but will also be annoying to drive over day after day.

When initially installing the driveway, it’s important to make sure that the underlying surface is properly prepared and adequately leveled.  You’ll then want to make sure you order the proper amount of gravel to cover the desired area.  To figure out how much you need initially, you’ll simply need to multiply the length of the driveway by the width and then multiply that number by the thickness of the layer of gravel you plan to lay.  A bulk supplier of gravel can then take those numbers and let you know how many cubic yards of the material will be needed for your project.  Additional materials should be ordered to compensate for compaction of the material and unforeseen circumstances.

It’s also important to know what type and size of gravel to use when installing a driveway. What gravel size for driveway use? The most ideal size to use on driveways is ¾” gravel for maximum compaction.  The smaller sized pieces of rocks will become more compacted than if you were using larger diameter rocks and will be less likely to leave you with pits and dips over time, with.  In the case of a driveway, a bit of compaction is good because it keeps the material smoother and less likely to cause depressions as it is driven over by heavy vehicles.  Crushed stone is actually best gravel for driveway since crushed stone is more functional since the stone has angular edges rather than being rounded, which makes it more compactible.  Actual gravel is generally used more for decorative purposes, but the two terms are often used interchangeably, which leads to some confusion.

If you find over time that you have areas that are showing signs of dipping, it’s best to take a shovel and/or a rake to create a more uniform surface.  If the underlying surface is compromised in some way, however, such as due to water, erosion or a sub-surface that was never properly leveled, you may need to do more than simply spreading out existing gravel to level the top surface.  In this case, you should uncover the source of the problem, remedy it so that it doesn’t cause issues again in the future, and then add additional gravel as needed to restore a level surface.

Other than that, you may find that you need to periodically grab a rake or shovel to redistribute rocks that have been moved over time due to vehicular traffic, shoveling or plowing snow, or water runoff.  But with proper care, your gravel driveway should provide many, many years of durable use.

For more information about bulk delivery of gravel in NJ and Staten Island, contact ATAK Trucking at 917-912-2900.