What is the Cheapest Material for a Driveway?

This article discusses what the cheapest material for a driveway is. Installing a driveway can be expensive because you have to pay for the labor and materials that you need to use. A lot of people choose to install their driveway themselves to save money. However, it is best to let a contractor do the work to make sure that it is done properly. You can save on your expenses by choosing a cheap material that is still durable and long-lasting. Let us find out below what this material is.

What is the cheapest material for a driveway? The cheapest material for a driveway is gravel. There are many gravel options that you can choose from and the cheapest ones include crushed shells, crusher run, crushed concrete, recycled asphalt, and slate chips. You can purchase these types of gravel in bulk from a quarry at a cheap price of about 15 to 30 dollars per yard.

Driveways that are made from gravel are affordable and easy to maintain which makes them a popular choice for homeowners. Moreover, gravel is a common material that is used in rural areas for both driveways and roadways. If you have a tight budget, you can use gravel. Not only is it a cheaper option, but it can last for many years with proper maintenance.

What is Gravel for Driveways?

Gravel is loose stone or rock. They are larger than sand in size but smaller than a cobble. The gravel that is usually used in driveways consists of rocks, clay, and sand. Using this mixture offers more advantages because it is compact and has a better surface as compared to plain rocks. Moreover, coarse gravel allows water to flow through it while other types can shed water.

What Driveway is Gravel Best for?

Gravel is best for rural driveways but they can also work in urban driveways. The advantage of using gravel is that it creates a buffer zone around the driveway which makes it possible to capture stray pieces of gravel. Furthermore, gravel is a good material for driveways that have high traffic or large tree roots scattered around. Gravel is also ideal for large driveways as compared to concrete or asphalt because it is cheaper.

How Long Will a Gravel Driveway Last?

A gravel driveway that is well maintained can last for up to a hundred years. The good thing about gravel is that you can easily repair and replenish it regularly. Take note that asphalt and concrete driveways are hard to repair and in case of damage, replacement is more expensive. Furthermore, gravel can withstand the damage caused by seasonal freeze or frost. You can also check out this article that discusses what the best material for a driveway is. We have shared helpful tips and ideas that you can check out to help you choose the best material for your driveway.

How Much Does a Gravel Driveway Cost?

The cost of a gravel driveway varies depending on some factors like transportation and how thick the driveway needs to be. Usually, it cost about 1 to over 3 dollars per square foot. High-end gravel is still less expensive as compared to other driveway materials.

What are the Advantages of Gravel Driveways?

Some of the advantages of gravel driveways are that the material is affordable, easy to maintain, and can suit any type of house. Aside from that, it is widely available. There are a lot of stores and quarries that sell different types of gravel for an affordable price. Let us learn more about these advantages below.

Easy to Maintain

Gravel driveways are also easy to maintain. It is quicker to add gravel into the driveway than to seal an asphalt driveway. Maintaining gravel driveways is convenient since it does not require special tools. All that you need is a shovel and a rake and you are set to go. On the other hand, you need to deal with weeds creeping up through the gravel. Make sure to pull out any weeds that you can find or use a weed killer.


One advantage that you can get from using gravel is that it is affordable. This is a common reason why large driveways are usually made from gravel.

Easy Installation

Another advantage that you can get from gravel is that it is easy to install. The steps include grading the driveway and adding the gravel. Once the gravel has been poured into the driveway, add a layer of pea gravel to fill between the layers of the gravel. It takes about a week for gravel to settle and turn into a smooth surface. You can use gravel driveways immediately after installation.


Gravel is also permeable. With proper installation, gravel allows the rainwater to directly penetrate the earth and replenish groundwater. Gravel is ideal for water drainage because it lets water dissipate into the ground and evaporate into the air without h affecting the driveway. If you have a paved driveway, it can trap water and result in cracks and deterioration which can be expensive to repair.

✅ Video – How To Build a Gravel Driveway or Road That Will Last

OFFRD shared the video below on YouTube. It discusses how to build a gravel driveway or road that will last. In the video, the step-by-step instructions on how to build a gravel driveway are show. Check out the video for more tips and information.

What are the Disadvantages of Gravel Driveways?

Some of the disadvantages of gravel driveways are that snow removal can be a hassle, it can develop rust and sinkholes, and it is prone to dust and dirt. Like any other driveway material, gravel also has its disadvantages. Let us discuss more this below.

Snow Removal

A disadvantage of gravel is gravel is that snow removal can be a problem. If you live in a snowy area, removing snow from a gravel driveway can be a hassle. Aside from that, it can also be challenging to remove the rocks that get pushed from the driveway while shoveling.

Ruts and Sinkholes

Another disadvantage of a gravel driveway is that it is vulnerable to rust and sinkholes. Take note that gravel will shift over time. As it does, it can form grooves that result in puddles when it rains. The good thing is that rust and sinkholes can be easily leveled by pouring more gravel into the driveway.

Dust and Dirt

If you have a gravel driveway, you also need to deal with dust and dirt. Driving over gravel can produce more dust and it is also dirty as compared to other driveway surfaces. Dust can be a big issue, especially during the summer months.

Can You Lay a New Drive Over Your Existing Drive?

You can lay a new drive over the existing drive that you have, but you should not do it. While laying a new surface on top of the driveway seems to be a cheaper solution, it is a mistake that needs to be avoided. After many years, driveways will start to erode and the sub-base will begin to drop. This can cause a lot of issues for the homeowner. Make sure that you get in touch with your contractor for the best solution that you can do for your driveway. We have also shared this article that discusses if you can chip seal a gravel driveway. Read the article for more information.

How Deep Should a Gravel Driveway Be?

A gravel driveway should be about 8 to 12 inches deep and have three 4 inches thick layers. The proper thickness of the gravel will determine how long it will last. A gravel driveway that is not properly installed and does not have the right thickness to it can easily erode and get damaged. We have also shared this article that discusses if crushed concrete make a good driveway. Check out the article for more information.

What are the Common Concerns about Gravel?

The common concerns of gravel are that it can get pushed away from the driveway and scatter into the yard and other areas around your property. Because it can be moved around, it can cause bare patches on your driveways. Aside from that, you also have to deal with rutting and pitting, a messy appearance, and you will need to replenish the gravel once in a while to maintain a neat and level driveway. Moreover, gravel can also make it hard to push buggies, wheelchairs, or riding bikes because of its rough surface. While there are many benefits to a gravel driveway, they also come with many issues. Hence, you need to weigh out the pros and cons to decide whether this material is ideal for your driveway or not. You can also check out this article that discusses what the most durable material for a driveway is. We have shared helpful tips and ideas that you can refer to.


You have reached the end of this article that discusses what the cheapest material for a driveway is. We have found out that gravel is considered the cheapest material that can be used for driveways. Aside from being affordable, it needs less maintenance and can easily be repaired without spending a lot of money. We have also discussed its advantages and disadvantages. While gravel is a cheap option, there are other things that you need to consider before you can decide if it is ideal for your driveway. Thank you for reading!

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