There is no denying that a gravel driveway is quite an attractive addition to your home. Whether you live in a rural or urban area, it is an excellent paving option. Gravel driveways are not just durable; they are also inexpensive and easy to install. Also, they help to reduce the risk of flooding and are environment-friendly.
There are some things you should be aware of if you want to lay a gravel driveway. You should know that three layers of gravel are needed in installing a gravel driveway. The first layer, known as the base, consists of stones the size of baseballs. This layer forms a stable foundation for your driveway and ensures proper drainage. The second layer consists of rocks the size of golf balls. This layer performs a similar function to the base. The third layer, known as the top layer, consists of rocks the size of marbles.
Best Gravel For Driveways
Gravel comes in different shapes, texture, and sizes. Different gravel types and sizes are needed to fill the three layers that make up a gravel driveway.
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It is essential to know the types of driveway stone available so you can make the right selection. It is also vital to be conversant with the gravel size chart. Choosing the best gravel for your driveway is crucial; otherwise, you will end up with a poor installation. The various types of gravel available include:
1) Crushed Stone
Crushed stone refers to a mixture of small rocks and coarse sand. There are different types of crushed stone for driveways, and they come in different colours and sizes. Crushed stone is quite versatile, durable, and affordable, making it an excellent option for gravel driveways. It is the best material for gravel driveways. It can be used for either the base, second, or top layer forming the gravel driveway. Before you make use of crushed stone, you need to be familiar with its size chart.
The #57 crushed stone is the most popular type of crushed stone. It is preferred because its angular shape promotes good drainage. It also prevents the rocks from sticking together. It is often used as the second layer of a gravel driveway. It could also be used for concrete mix, drainage, and landscaping.
The #411 crushed stone is also another preferred choice for gravel driveways. It is smaller and finer in texture than the #57 stone. It is a combination of coarse stone dust and the #57 stone. Because of its finer texture, it is used to fill the top layer of the driveway. It also forms a solid surface that vehicles can drive across easily. In other words, it helps to create a stable crushed gravel driveway.
2) Stone Dust
It is also called stone screenings. It is the finest type of crushed stone available. As the name implies, it consists of stones that have been crushed into a fine powdery form like dust. It could be used on its own or combined with larger stones. When it is used by itself, it forms a hard, water-resistant surface. When it is combined with larger stones, it forms an excellent binding agent. Stone dust is usually combined with other stones to create the top layer of gravel driveways. It is also used to bind asphalt or cement for sidewalks and roads. An advantage of stone dust is that it prevents weeds and mould from growing on your driveway.
3) Pea Gravel
It is also known as pea shingle. It is made up of small, smooth stones that are perfect for forming the top layer of a gravel driveway. This is because of its smooth texture and aesthetic appeal. It is usually 3/8” in size. Pea gravel comes in a variety of colours, such as brown, grey, blue, and red. Unlike crushed stone which is angular in shape, pea gravel is round. This round shape makes it harder for it to be locked in place. Unless some form of edging is used to keep it in place, driving across it might not be so easy.
4) Item #4
This is also another popular type of driveway rock. It is a combination of sand, dirt and crushed stone. Because of its texture and size, it is used to form the base layer of the driveway. There are different compositions of this type of gravel, such as gravel made from recycled concrete, rocks, bricks, crushed bluestone, and limestone. It could also be made from grey gravel.
5) Jersey Shore Gravel
It is made up of tiny yellow, tan, gold and white stones that resemble sand on the beach. It usually forms the top layer of gravel driveways in the Mid-Atlantic state and all over New England. It is a preferred choice because of its aesthetic appeal. This type of gravel has a tranquil feel about it that helps create a welcoming atmosphere. It is similar to pea gravel in size and shape. Just like pea gravel, Jersey shore gravel requires a driveway edging to keep it in place.
6) River Rock
It is also called creek stone. It is made up of round, semi-polished stones that have been scooped from river or stream beds. Because of its smooth texture which makes it shift around, it is not the best material for gravel driveways. However, because of its aesthetic appeal, it is usually used as the top layer of the gravel driveway. The best way to design a river rock driveway is to use the stones as edging material to keep other types of top layer rocks in place.
7) Quarry Process Stone
It is also known as dirty stone, crusher run, shoulder stone, QP, dense grade aggregate, and ¾ blended stone. It is a mixture of stone dust and three-quarter inch crushed stone. It is mostly made out of crushed granite, limestone or trap rock. The pieces bind together to form compacted gravel. This kind of gravel is strong and durable, making it an excellent option for the top layer of the gravel driveway. If you decide to use this kind of gravel, you should ensure that the middle of the driveway is higher than the sides. This structure would facilitate proper drainage and minimise damage to the driveway. It’s always a good idea to have a CCTV drain survey to get the best understanding of how your current driveway drain system is working.
8) White Marble Chips
They are commonly used as the top layer of gravel driveways and walkways. They are not purely white but have grey streaks, which make them more attractive. They come in different shapes and sizes. Also, they sparkle and shimmer in the sun. This sparking effect makes them seem quite elegant and aesthetically appealing. It also helps to prevent the property from being too hot. Thus, they are one of the best driveway gravel.
Just like pea gravel, marble chips need a driveway edging to hold them in place and prevent them from being washed away. The downside with this gravel stone is that it is usually more costly than the other types.
9) Base Gravel #3
As the name implies, this type of gravel is an excellent option for filling the base layer of your driveway. It is the best gravel for creating the driveway base. It is another type of crushed stone but is larger. It can be up to 2 or more inches in diameter.
10) Washed Clean Stone
It is like crushed stone in texture. The only difference is that it is cleaner than crushed stone, thus making it more attractive. Depending on the size, it can be used to form the middle or top layer of the driveway.
Tips For Laying A Gravel Driveway
Selecting the best gravel type and sizes is only one part of the process of installing a gravel driveway. There are so many other things you should do to ensure that your gravel driveway is properly installed. We have compiled some tips that could be useful in helping you create a solid and attractive driveway they are:
- Seek Professional Advice: If you are unsure as to what type or size of gravel would be the best to use, talk to experts. Seeking professional advice also helps you have a pretty accurate estimate of how much gravel material would be required.
- Prepare the site to be used beforehand: Until this has been done, you must not lay your gravel driveway. You need to clear the land of weeds, grass, and debris. You also need to remove the topsoil off the ground, leaving only hard rocks which would make your driveway more durable.
- Ensure that you have good drainage: If you do not have good drainage, your driveway would be damaged. The gravel pieces would become loose and start to separate. Eventually, the gravel would sink into a mud hole. The simple solution to prevent this from happening is to insert a layer of geotextile fabric between the subsoil and base of the driveway.
- Make use of driveway borders or edgings where necessary: Some gravel types would not form stable driveways because of their sizes and textures. Therefore, it would be necessary to make use of edgings to hold them in place and create a solid ground for your vehicle to drive across.