Gravel vs. Pavement for Parking Lots and Driveways

If you need a new surface for a driveway or parking lot and have investigated the options, you probably already know that it can be a pretty major expense. And the larger the area, the more it will cost. That is true no matter which paving contractor or gravel company you choose. Although there are several different options for the surface – ranging from dirt to fancy pavers – two of the most reasonably priced options are gravel and asphalt. Each of these choices have advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll look at each one in an effort to help you decide which would be the best choice for you.

Gravel Advantages

  • The biggest advantage in choosing gravel is the cost – it’s more affordable than any type of pavement or pavers you could choose.
  • Gravel is also low maintenance. In fact, sweeping up loose gravel and filling in an occasional depression is about the extent of the maintenance required.
  • Any type of gravel surface holds up well under the heaviest of vehicle and equipment traffic.

Gravel Disadvantages

  • Because the appearance of gravel can’t compare to smooth pavement, you should decide ahead of time what kind of impression you’re trying to make. If you’re looking for a surface for a rural residential driveway, gravel may work. But using gravel for a commercial parking area is a questionable choice.
  • Gravel moves around, which means you’ll be constantly sweeping it back into place. And eventually, it will wash out – particularly if you live in an area that experiences occasional heavy rainfall.
  • Gravel can be hard on vehicles. Whether it’s the wear and tear it causes on tires, or the small pieces of gravel that can fly up and hit windshields and ding paint jobs, gravel has the potential to do some damage.

Asphalt Advantages

  • Asphalt looks great! Compared to gravel, the sleek, dark color of new asphalt is much more attractive.
  • Asphalt is affordable. Although gravel costs less than asphalt, you may be surprised to learn how affordable asphalt is – especially compared to other pavement options.
  • Asphalt is durable. This sturdy pavement can withstand even the heaviest of vehicle traffic. And it’s long-lasting. In fact, if it’s well maintained, an asphalt surface can last 15 or even 20 years.
  • Asphalt adds to the value of your home or business – as opposed to gravel, which usually does not.

Asphalt Disadvantages

  • The only real disadvantage with an asphalt surface is that it will require some maintenance. That involves keeping the surface clean, having minor repairs done as promptly as possible, and having it sealcoated as needed.

For more information about the advantages of asphalt over gravel, contact a local, reputable paving contractor today.