Gravel driveways hold a certain appeal for many homeowners. Some like the versatility in terms of style and color, while others like the affordable cost of gravel. Quick installation times, permeability, and eco-friendliness are even more reasons to implement gravel as a driveway material.
Of all the reasons why people like gravel driveways, though, low-maintenance requirements aren’t one of them. Almost all gravel driveways except for one type require regular and extensive maintenance. Though generally affordable, most types of gravel driveway maintenance need to be done on a regular basis.
In case you have a gravel driveway or are thinking about installing one, let’s go over some tips for maintaining yours to keep it clean and functional. We’ll also look at a type of gravel driveway that requires almost no maintenance.
Gravel is made up of many small rocks, so it is very permeable, which is one of the main things people like about gravel driveways. A permeable paving material such as gravel means you don’t need to worry as much about driveway flooding or install any additional drainage in most cases.
However, in comparison to an impermeable material like asphalt or concrete, gravel needs to be regularly cleaned in a variety of ways. Leaves, dirt, and junk can get mixed in with your gravel, clogging it and preventing proper drainage.
If you want to know how to keep a gravel driveway clean, you’ll want to invest in a good rake. A heavy-duty rake made for gravel will allow you to sift the gravel and filter out the debris that so commonly builds up in loose gravel.
Raking can also help even out the gravel and fill in any bare spots that may have developed from wind, rain, and/or traffic. Removing this debris from your gravel driveway can also help improve the amount of traction your wheels get.
Bare spots can be filled in with redistributed gravel via raking, but potholes cannot. To fix potholes you’ll need to reapply gravel and compact it with a heavy roller. If not, the same potholes will continue reappearing.
Another tip for how to maintain a gravel driveway is to avoid snowplow use in the winter. Snowplows usually catch both gravel and snow as they plow, meaning you’ll have to redistribute your gravel once the snow melts.
Snow is usually shoveled off of sidewalks and driveways because it drastically reduces the amount of traction that vehicle tires can get. Gravel provides a ton of natural traction.
In fact, you can leave about a full inch of snow on your gravel driveway without sacrificing traction or safety. This will allow you to avoid displacing gravel with snow shovels or plows and will help keep as much gravel in your driveway as possible.
Gravel is easily crushed into dust over time, which can get kicked up as you drive on it. The dust can get all over your vehicle, so proper crushed stone driveway maintenance involves spraying down your driveway every now and then if it’s not already stabilized with pavers.
Loose gravel can be sprayed down with a basic garden hose. It will keep the dust weighed down and can help loosen any dirt clumps stuck in your driveway as well.
The absolute best tip for maintaining a gravel driveway is to stabilize your loose gravel with pavers.
TRUEGRID permeable pavers, for instance, lock your gravel into place and can keep your driveway clean, level, and stable for up to 40 years with almost no maintenance required.