Paver vs. Gravel driveways

Offering reliable landscaping services to homeowners in British Columbia since 2013

Picture of Natasha Maerz

Natasha Maerz

Owner/Office Manager

Homeowners have quite a few options when it comes to what material to use for their driveway. Most driveways are made out of asphalt, brick (pavers), gravel or concrete. This article is going to compare gravel to pavers, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

If we haven’t met before allow us to introduce ourselves. We are Back 40 Landscaping and our expertise is in retaining walls and hardscaping. We also like to bring education to those looking for gravel solutions.

Gravel driveways

Gravel driveways are built with loose rock or stone, that is spread over an existing area. They are a great option for homeowners who have long driveways, live in rural areas, or want a cost-effective way to spruce up their driveway now, while they save up for a paver driveway in the future.

Advantages of gravel driveways

  • Perfect for homeowners that have a long or wide driveway. The cost of a gravel driveway is much more affordable for people who have a large area that they need done.
  • Creates a nice hard surface when compacted, and resembles the feeling of a concrete driveway.
  • Drains water extremely well, which is great for homeowners who wash their machines and vehicles frequently.
  • Gravel is prone to less damage from frost heave, which can cause cracking and settling in solid driveway materials, making it a nice choice for homeowners who live in colder climates.

Disadvantages of gravel driveways

  • Needs to be regraded eventually depending on how much traffic they see.
  • In winter conditions, gravel can be tough to plow, since the mixture of rocks and sand clings to ice and snow. At the end of a long winter, there is a chance that a good chunk of gravel will need to be replaced. 
  • Unlike pavers that can be washed off, there is really no good way to clean a gravel driveway.
  • Potholes  can develop after regular use, and to be properly fixed, will require the use of machines to regrade the driveway.
  • Weeds can grow in-between the gravel
  • Gravel washes away easily, in a big rain storm where roads are flooded, homeowners should not be surprised to see that part of their gravel have washed away onto the road or other parts of their property.

Gravel driveway maintenance

Gravel driveways will need to be regraded about once every 5-10 years depending on how much traffic the driveway sees (If you want your driveway to be in tip top shape). This is due to the pot holes and grooves that form from the driveway being used regularly. Potholes need to be filled in properly, otherwise they will reform very quickly. The proper way to have a driveway regraded is to have big machinery come in and regrade the surface of your driveway, spread new gravel, and then compact the fresh gravel.

Paver driveways

When installed correctly, paver driveways are capable of lasting decades, and add tremendous curb appeal and value to your home.

Advantages of paver driveways

  • Huge curb appeal
  • When sloped correctly, will prevent water from pooling on your driveway
  • Most pavers carry a lifetime warranty for the product
  • Come in a variety of shapes and colors
  • Can be designed in many different patters
  • Works well with almost every home design
  • Pavers can be sealed to protect the driveway from oil stains, rubber marks and other unsightly spots.

Disadvantages of paver driveways

  • Weeds and/or moss will grow in-between pavers if the driveway is not installed with the proper joint sand.
  • can move from settling and frost heave
  • Takes longer to install than other materials

Keep in mind that most of these disadvantages are from pavers not being installed correctly. Not all contractors install pavers properly, and these disadvantages are a big possibility if the company that installs your driveway do not follow the proper steps.

Paver driveway maintenance

When installed properly, paver driveways require little maintenance. If homeowners want to clean their driveway, they can easily blow it off with a leaf blower, sweep it, or rinse it off. It is suggested that pavers get resealed every couple years, and this can include having to replace some of the joint sand that has washed away from regular wear and tear, and the changing weather.

When installed correctly, pavers will last decades, and act as a huge selling point for your home.

Should I put in a paver or gravel driveway?

Gravel driveways are a great choice for homeowners needing to change their driveway, but do not want to invest in pavers, or anyone with a large area that needs to be done. Pavers are a good option for homeowners looking to spruce up the look of their home, and a driveway that will last decades.

It truly depends on what look you are going for, and what you want out of your driveway. Think about what you are looking to achieve in this moment, and what you want for the future, and choose the option that best suits your space and your family.