Is Paving Your Driveway Worth It, Or Should You Stick With Gravel?

If you have a gravel driveway, you've probably thought about upgrading to an asphalt driveway. Asphalt, after all, is often seen as the premier choice for driveways. But while asphalt does have a lot of advantages over gravel, it's not always the best choice. You should certainly consider the advantages of both gravel and asphalt before you invest your hard-earned money in a new asphalt driveway.

What are the advantages of asphalt driveways?

They last a long time with little maintenance

The average asphalt driveway lasts about 20 years. During that time you will need to schedule a sealing appointment every few years, but this should be all that's needed to keep the driveway in good shape. A gravel driveway, on the other hand, require more frequent maintenance. Do nothing at all and most of the gravel will eventually get scattered and packed down (unevenly) within a few years. You need to fill in low spots or add a new layer of gravel each year to keep it looking nice, and generally this is something you'd do yourself, while sealing is a task your asphalt company can tackle for you.

They look attractive and smooth

There's something about the look of a sleek, smooth asphalt driveway that just makes your yard look more manicured. The black may coordinate with your roof or with iron railings or fences. Because many home buyers think that asphalt is more attractive, you may have an easier time selling your home or may get more for it than if you were to sell it with a gravel driveway.

The smooth texture of the asphalt also makes it easy to shovel snow in the winter. You can just push the shovel across the asphalt; it won't get caught on the rough surface like it may with gravel. You don't have to worry about shoveling away pieces of your driveway like you do with gravel, either.

It won't leave residue in your lawn

The gravel from a driveway can quickly find its way into your lawn. Not only is this messy, but it can wreak havoc on your lawn mower blades when you run over it. With the money you spend on extra lawn mower blades, you might be able to pay for an asphalt driveway!

What are the advantages of gravel driveways?

They're easy on your budget

You can have a load of gravel delivered for a few hundred dollars, and since spreading it out takes little to no skill, you can tackle the project yourself in an afternoon. If you don't have the money set aside for a driveway or don't want to take out a loan, gravel is probably the best choice.

You can use rock salt for de-icing

When you have an asphalt driveway, you need to be careful what you put on it. Rock salt can damage the sealant and you'll need to buy more expensive de-icing solutions made specifically for asphalt driveways. With gravel you can safely scatter rock salt during the winter without worry that it will cause damage. This saves you money on de-icing and is also quite convenient since rock salt is so readily available.

They're eco-friendly

There are companies that offer eco-friendly asphalt, but standard asphalt is made from fossil fuels and is therefore not the greenest choice. Gravel is completely natural and safe for the environment, so it might be a wise choice if you're very dedicated to sustainable, green building.

To learn more about these driveway options, speak with an asphalt contractor like Boswell Brothers Paving in your area. They should be able to give you an estimate, which should help you decide which option is best from a financial standpoint.