Crushed Asphalt Vs. Gravel Driveway (Which is Better)

Sometimes choosing the best material to construct a driveway for your home can be confusing, especially with various construction materials in the market and looking at what your neighbors have.

Crushed asphalt and gravels pose different challenges when used in driveways. Crushed asphalt is smooth, appealing, lasts about 20-30 years but is expensive for your driveway. Gravel, on the other hand, is cheap, durable, and long-lasting up to 100 years, requires no repairs and is good for heavy machines driveways although it’s prone to be washed away by runoff.

Knowing the significant differences between crushed asphalt and gravel will save you from this confusion, and choose the best one for your driveway. But, is crushed asphalt and gravel good for a driveway?

Is crushed asphalt /gravel good for driveway?

Crushed asphalt is a good choice for a driveway because it comes with several benefits. Crushed asphalt is cheaper than other driveway construction materials like concrete, and it’s environmentally friendly too(releases low greenhouse gases to the surrounding during its production). With proper maintenance, an asphalt driveway will last you a long time( between 20-30 years). It can also withstand extreme cold weather conditions during winter because snow and ice thaw on it. Crushed asphalt also adds more value to your home by giving it a  beautiful appearance.

Gravel also makes a good driveway building choice, primarily if your home is located in a dry area. It will serve you well if you have heavy machines or trucks running on it because it’s strong. Gravel lasts a century and has no frequent maintenance required. If you choose to use gravel for the driveway, go for the best of its types: pea gravel and jersey shore gravel.

Crushed asphalt  Vs. gravel driveway(Differences)

Finally, settling for either crushed asphalt or gravel, you still need to know the vital differences between these two, so you choose the best that will suit your home.

Crushed asphaltGravel
It has a compact, smooth appearance.It has a rough appearance. 
It has a lifespan of 20-30 years.It has a lifespan of up to 100 years. 
The average cost is $4737 minimum.The average cost is $1500 minimum. 
It’s weak, doesn’t support heavy machines and vehicles.It’s strong, can carry heavy machines and vehicles without getting cracked or chipped. 
It cannot be washed away during floods. They are easily washed away during floods.
Require often repair and maintenance services.Are repair-free and maintenance-free.

Be sure to know what you want regarding appearance, durability, flexibility, cost of the driveway, and type of machine or vehicles running on it. With that cleared out, this guide will help you know the differences between these two for an appropriate driveway choice for your home. Let’s explore the differences!

1. Appearance

Crushed asphalt has a smooth, compact black appearance, while gravel has a rough appearance.

Crushed asphalt is made of recycled asphalt, which is customarily ground into pleasing small fillings. Because they are small, their particles are close to each other, making them compact, and are coated with black tar, hence an appealing, sightful look for your home. On the other hand, gravel is stones cut into big pieces. They appear, and are rough, and don’t have the best appealing look for your home.

So, if you want that close, sightful look for your driveway, then crushed asphalt should be your best choice.

2. Durability

Crushed asphalt has a shorter 20-30 years lifespan, while gravel can stay up to 100 years.

But the lifespan of these driveway materials depends on how well you maintain them, the installation method, your geographical location, and the type of vehicles running on them. An asphalt driveway to last the expected years requires professional installation and proper maintenance practices such as repairing potholes and cracks, driving lightweight vehicles only on it, coating to prevent oxidation, and draining excess waters in it during rainy seasons.

Gravel doesn’t require many maintenance practices, just shoveling once in a while to keep them together, and that’s why they have a longer lifespan.

3. Costs

Crushed asphalt is more costly, while gravel is less costly.

The average cost of recycled asphalt is approximately $7-$60 per ton, but this depends on the mixture’s quantity of recycled asphalt on the pavement. The installation cost is between $2-$5 per square centimeter. The general costs depend on your location and the length of your driveway. On the other hand, gravel costs an average of $1.25-$1.80 per square foot, inclusive of equipment cost and installation cost.

If you are building your driveway on a tight budget, choosing gravel will be your best decision.

4. Strength

Crushed asphalt is weaker, while gravel is stronger.

Crushed asphalt is weaker; it’s made of tiny, recycled asphalt fillings coated in black tar and isn’t suitable for big, heavy trucks because they break it. For this reason, it isn’t advisable to drive heavy equipment and vehicles on asphalt driveways to make them more durable. On the contrary, gravel is made of heavy stones, so it’s strong enough to carry the weight of big machines and vehicles; therefore, it doesn’t break easily. Being strong makes it more durable, hence convenient for a farm or home with heavy trucks and equipment.

5. Washability

Crushed asphalt can’t be washed away by rains, while gravel can be washed away, especially during heavy rains with floods.

Crushed asphalt fillings are close, compact to each other hence sticking together permanently. This compactness makes crushed asphalt remain intact during heavy rains. Gravel stones are always rough and are away from each other; this makes them be washed away during heavy rains or floods.

If you are in a flooded area, don’t settle for gravel because you will lose them as soon as the rains start.

6. Maintainance

Crushed asphalt driveways are tedious to maintain, while gravel driveways are easy to maintain.

Maintaining an asphalt driveway is difficult and costly simultaneously. Sometimes, crushed asphalt driveways chip, crack, or form potholes, requiring continuous repair and maintenance. They also fade because they are coated with black tar, and this needs repainting. But if you choose the gravel driveway, you won’t keep repairing or repainting it. It’s maintenance-free unless shoveling is done once in a while to keep the stones together after they get dispersed when vehicles pass on them.

Crushed asphalt has advantages such as it can be recycled for future use and is safer to drive on because it’s skid-free. Homes with crushed asphalt driveways are more valuable for property sale and have a high Return Of Investment(ROI) of 10% of the total property cost.

Asphalt driveways are more suitable in cold weather environments, but they get damaged in scorching weather conditions because they are versatile.

The fact that gravel can handle heavy machinery and equipment without cracking or chipping is good until the driveway causes wear and tear to the vehicles’ tires. Check that too before choosing gravel for the driveway.

Which is better crushed asphalt or gravel, for driveway?

Both crushed asphalt and gravel are good material choices to construct a driveway, but this depends on your needs.

If you care about your home appearance and want that seamless finish look, then a crushed asphalt driveway is your go-to choice. Another reason to choose a crushed asphalt driveway is that it’s resistant to ice and snow (they make them thaw), therefore suitable for extremely cold weather conditions. Asphalt driveways are durable, too, though not as durable as gravel driveways.

Gravel is a better driveway choice for heavy trucks and machinery because it’s strong enough to support heavy weights and doesn’t spoil either. If you want a driveway that will last years with little to no maintenance, go for gravel. You can add gravel to your home without hiring a professional. Above all, gravel is affordable, and you don’t have to spend many coins to have it for your driveway.

Source and References

1. IOWA State University Extension and Outreach: Driveway maintenance on an Acreage.

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