Choosing a material for your driveway is a personal choice.  There are many kinds of materials that can be used for a driveway, and each has pros and cons.  Three common materials used on driveways are gravel, asphalt and concrete. 

Gravel Driveways

Pros

  • Compared to asphalt and concrete, gravel is inexpensive.  For rural homes with long driveways, the cost alone might be the determining factor. 
  • Gravel is easy to maintain, though it does need a lot of attention due to weeds and ruts. 
  • When you drive or walk on gravel, it makes noise. The benefit of this is that no one can sneak up on you, and it is also a tell-tale sign if you have a rebellious teenager.
  • Leaking vehicles won't stain gravel like it will concrete.
  • It is quick and easy to install a gravel driveway.  Once the gravel is put down, you can drive on it immediately. 

Cons

  • Removing snow can be difficult.  Gravel will destroy a snow blower, and using a plow will disturb the gravel.
  • Gravel kicks up loose dirt, so it will be difficult to keep your car (and garage) clean. 
  • While maintaining your gravel driveway isn't hard, it can be tedious and annoying.  Weeds will poke up through your gravel, and you will get ruts in your driveway from the shift of the gravel.  Solving these problems is easy, but inconvenient. 
  • If you have children, bike riding is hard to do on fresh gravel.
  • You will need to lay new gravel every few years. 

Asphalt Driveways

Pros

  • Asphalt is long lasting.
  • While it is more expensive than gravel, asphalt is considerably cheaper than concrete.
  • Repairs on asphalt are fairly easy and inexpensive.
  • Your car will remain cleaner with asphalt than it will with gravel, and it will be easier to shovel.
  • The dark color hides stains from oil.
  • Asphalt is pliable, so it is less likely to crack than concrete.
  • You can drive on asphalt sooner after it is installed than you can on concrete.

Cons

  • Asphalt comes in one color: black.  If you don't want a black driveway, asphalt isn't the best option. 
  • You need to pay attention to and take care of your asphalt driveway.  It should be power washed at least twice a year, and should be sealed every several years. 

Concrete

Pros

  • Concrete is very durable.  It will last longer than asphalt or gravel. 
  • It requires very little maintenance.
  • Concrete can be stamped and even colored to meet your aesthetic preferences.
  • As with asphalt, your car will remain clean and snow removal is easy with concrete.

Cons

  • Concrete is more expensive than asphalt and gravel.
  • Concrete will crack, and repairs to concrete are costly. 
  • Since concrete is a light color, it shows stains more easily than asphalt or gravel. 
  • Weather must be just right in order to put concrete down.  Once it is down, you can't drive on it right away.  You may need to wait up to a week to drive on it, and even longer to park a vehicle on it. 

Keep this information in mind as you contact a local paving company and decide on the best option for your driveway. 

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