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What Size Gravel For Driveway?

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The driveway is quite possibly one of the most used areas of the home, and a lot of homeowners take into consideration the kind of material they will use for their driveway. We've looked into this topic, and in this post, we will be talking about the right size gravel you should use for the driveway, as well as other gravel-related information that might come in handy.

For driveways, there is no standard size gravel that should be used for your driveway, and you can use any size that you think will work best for you. However, the most common gravel size for most driveways should be about 3/8 and 3/4 inches in diameter because these should be bigger than your standard pathway gravel.

There is more to the gravel that you can use for the driveway. This is what we will be elaborating more on in this post! Keep reading as we talk about the different kinds of gravel that you can use, as well as alternatives if gravel isn't the most suitable material for you. 

english village house with gravel driveway, What Size Gravel For Driveway?

What Size Gravel For Driveway?

English House

A driveway is a place where nearly everyone in your home passes through to get to your house. However, the driveway is also one of the most overlooked areas of the home, despite the fact that it is one of the first noticeable things most visitors notice. With this in mind, a lot of homeowners have taken into consideration the materials to use for their driveways.

One of the most common materials used to cover driveways is gravel. These driveways are typically covered in layers of gravel to create a stable surface to be walked and driven on. Many different kinds of gravel can be used for driveways, but certain sizes are favored by most professionals. 

For starters, driveway gravel should be bigger than your standard pathway gravel. This is because bigger gravel has better drainage, and it prevents the rocks from disappearing into the soil. The favored size of gravel for driveways should be about 3/8 to 3/4 inches in diameter. This size is big enough not to be severely compacted and disappear when driven on in the soil.

What Type of Gravel Should I Use For Driveway?

Ground level view of a new car, showing the rear tyre and tread together with the alloy wheel.

There are many different kinds of gravel that can be used for the driveway. You can always seek a professional's help as to what kind of gravel should be used, but for reference, most driveways are made with different layers of gravel.

Base Layers

#3 gravel

For base layers, the most commonly used gravel is #3 gravel. This gravel's size is about 1 to 2 inches in diameter, and it is favored by many because of its affordability and excellent drainage properties. Some homeowners choose to use just this kind of gravel for their driveway, but professionals suggest that augmenting it with other kinds of gravel would be better.

Item #4

Another option for the base layer is what we call Item #4. Comprised of a collection of sand, dirt, and crushed stone the size of a golf ball, Item #4 is another preferred base layer. It can also be made from recycled brick, concrete, rock, or other different kinds of stone.

Middle Layers

Crushed Stone #57

After laying out a good base that drains well, the driveway should have a layer that will provide a good base for the top layer. For the middle layer, most professionals choose crushed stone #57. These golf-ball-sized machine crushed stone provides good drainage and prevents gravel from getting stuck together.

Top Layers

Crushed stone #411

This particular stone is made up of coarse rock dust and small pieces of gravel, sometimes mixed in with pieces of broken crushed stone #57. This gravel creates a surface that can withstand heavy vehicles, but it isn't the best choice when it comes to drainage.

Quarry Process

Quarry process, sometimes called a "crusher run," is a mixture of crushed stone and stone dust. When applied, the stone dust settles and becomes compact. This creates a semi-solid smooth surface that looks great as a top layer. One caveat with using this gravel, though, is that it should be sloped to the sides for it to drain well.

Pea Gravel

Made of small round stones, pea gravel is often used as a top layer, and it is very comfortable to walk on. It also comes in many different colors, making it a prime choice to add aesthetics to the home's design. However, it can also be a little expensive, so it might be something that you should consider before using it. 

Pros and Cons of A Gravel Driveway

Countryside house exterior with garage.

Gravel driveways are very practical and very popular in many homes. This is one of the many reasons why many homeowners choose to have gravel driveways installed. However, it might not work for all homes. Here are some pros and cons of gravel driveways:

Pros

Affordable & Quick Installation

One of the best benefits of gravel is its affordability, and it is very quick to install. Depending on your budget, you should be able to find gravel that will fit your needs without having to shell out so much. As for the installation, it won't cost you as much because, in a week or so, your driveway should be ready to use. 

Easy Maintenance

Quite self-explanatory, but gravel driveways are very easy to maintain because all you need to do it to replenish parts where the gravel may have sunk into the soil. Other than that, there isn't much to do with it.

Stylish

Gravel comes in many different styles, and it can definitely change the look of your home. There are different gravel types that come in many different colors, so you will surely find one that looks great against the style of your house.

Cons

Not Snow Friendly

If you live in a place that has a lot of snow and ice all the time, then a gravel driveway might not be for you. Snow removal can be hard to do on gravel, and there is nothing else to do but to use salt and sand to prevent it from being slippery. 

Can Form Ruts & Sinkholes

Gravel does tend to sink in the soil, so it might be a cause for ruts and sinkholes to form in your driveway. This is why maintenance and checking of such areas in your driveway are important so you can replenish these spots on your driveway.

Dirt Flying Everywhere

Because gravel driveway also has crushed rock and dust included in the mix, there is a tendency for dirt to fly everywhere, especially during the dry summer season. This isn't particularly pleasurable because you might just need to clean the exterior of your home much more than usual.

Are There Alternatives To A Gravel Driveway?

Front view of beautiful double garage house idea

While gravel driveways are very common, there are also other materials that can be used to pave this area of your property. Depending on your location, gravel might not be suitable, so here are other options you might want to consider for your home.

Concrete Or Asphalt Driveways

These paved driveways can be an alternative to a gravel driveway if you are looking for a smooth, durable, and sturdy driveway surface. They are fairly popular for many homes and depending on where you live, it might be more beneficial for the climate of the place where you live. 

Brick Or Cobblestone Driveways

If you are looking for something that is more aesthetically pleasing, then a brick or cobblestone driveway might be what you are looking for. Of course, a caveat for these driveways is that it does need professional help to be installed. They can also be quite expensive, but on the brighter side of things, brick or cobblestone driveways are unique and beautiful to look at.

Crushed Stone Or Basalt Driveways

These two alternatives look very similar to gravel driveways, but they do look better and prettier. This is particularly true for basalt driveways. It gives off a sleek and elegant look to your home because of its color. However, because this is very similar to gravel driveways, it does face the same disadvantages such as erosion and difficulty when it snows. 

In Conclusion

 View of entrance and gravel driveway

The driveway is one of the busiest areas of the home, and it is also what most visitors notice in your home. Great driveways are made with many different materials and with the types of gravel that we've discussed, you should be able to find one that works best for you.

Are you looking for more information regarding driveways? We've got a couple of articles that might interest you:

How Much Weight Can A Driveway Hold?

Should The Driveway Be Higher Than The Lawn? [And What Type Of Border To Use!]