Gravel vs Asphalt Driveway: The Benefits of Each & Which Is Best for You

Gravel vs Asphalt Driveway: The Benefits of Each & Which Is Best for You

It's time for a new driveway. Should you go with the same material you've used in the past, or try something new? To help you decide, it's a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of each material you're considering.

If your debate is between asphalt and gravel, we've already done the research for you. Check out this gravel vs asphalt driveway guide. Our suggestions can help you make the best decision for your next driveway project.


Gravel and asphalt driveways couldn't be more unalike in terms of appearance.

Gravel driveways are made of loose rocks that are spread across the area. The rocks are usually small but can vary in size depending on the mix that you choose. Driving along a gravel driveway can kick up clouds of dust. Some people don't appreciate that view — nor the layer of dust that settles on their vehicles. An option to this is installing an oil & stone driveway. A layer of hot oil is applied followed by an application of stone, which is then compacted by a roller. Some customers like 2 coats of the oil and stone for a longer lasting driveway. 

Hot asphalt is a mixture of small aggregates, sand and a liquid asphalt binder. When the mixture cools, it forms a hard, smooth surface. New asphalt driveways are flat and black. For homeowners who want a driveway with a uniform look, asphalt is the way to go.


No matter your driveway material, it's a good idea to have professionals properly prepare the base before placing the top layer. A strong foundation can help extend the life of your surface.

At first glance, spreading gravel, one might think is an easy DIY project. But, you'll probably get a better result, including improved water drainage, if you hire a professional.

Asphalt definitely calls for a professional installation. Professional teams have the heavy equipment, tools and labor force with expertise, to lay asphalt quickly and efficiently while the material is still hot and pliable.


All driveways need attention now and then. As you compare maintenance requirements for gravel vs asphalt driveway, consider which upkeep commitment would better fit your lifestyle.

Gravel driveways are prone to potholes and grooves. These dips and bumps can make for a rough driving surface, so you should fill them in as soon as possible. Early on, you may be able to fill the depressions with just a few scoops of additional gravel. If you let the problem areas go too long, repairing them will be a much bigger job.

Also, gravel driveways aren't good at keeping out weed and grass growth. You may need to regularly spray the surface or pluck stray sprouts.

Asphalt driveways can develop cracks. To maintain the driveway, it's smart to fill the cracks. As with gravel potholes, the sooner you attend to this task, the better.

In addition, professionals recommend adding a new sealcoating layer to your driveway now and then. It will improve the surface's water resistance, extend its lifespan and restore the deep black color. For the quickest, easiest option, call on a professional company to handle this task.

Climate Concerns

Does your region see extreme hot or cold during the year? If so, you'll want to factor that into your new driveway plans.

Snowy weather means shoveling and plowing. Those activities can be rough on gravel driveways. The small stones can easily become dislodged. Maintenance is needed to sweep back gravel into the driveway, which is easily displaced during plowing or shoveling.

Plowing asphalt is easy, though, because of its smooth, flat nature. Even as the ground freezes and thaws, asphalt is ok, because of its flexible nature. If cracks do occur, they can be patched in the spring.

On the other hand, extreme heat may soften an asphalt driveway. That can leave it susceptible to imprints or scuff marks.

If you live in an area that's hot and humid for much of the year, gravel may be a good choice. For those who live in temperate or chilly climates, asphalt is likely to be a more reliable choice that can hold up the demands of winter maintenance.


Gravel driveways can last for a long time with the proper upkeep. You'll need to add gravel to your driveway every few years. Small stones may need to be replenished once a year. Heavier gravel may still need to be refreshed every two to four years.

With proper maintenance, an asphalt driveway often serves homeowners well for 10 to 20 years. Sealcoating the driveway every five years or so can help keep the surface strong and attractive during that time. If more extensive repairs are needed, resurfacing can be a cost-affordable alternative to a premature driveway replacement.


Both gravel and asphalt driveways can fit into a budget-conscious remodeling project. According to some estimates, the average price per square foot is just under $4.00 for gravel driveways and just over $5.00 for asphalt driveways.

If you're working with limited funds, you may have to go with gravel. Those who have a little more wiggle room may want to choose the smooth appearance and low maintenance of asphalt.

Even though asphalt may cost a bit more upfront, the expenses may even out over time. Adding a new layer of gravel every year or two can add up, especially in comparison to the less-frequent need for asphalt resealing.

Gravel vs Asphalt Driveway: Which Is Best for You?

Based on these pros and cons, which material wins the gravel vs asphalt driveway comparison for you? Many homeowners choose asphalt because of its durability, affordability and low maintenance requirements.

For all your driveway needs, contact PALERMO PAVING in Bellport, NY. 

While asphalt is our specialty, we offer a range of services. Our experts will work with you to determine the best driveway surface for your property.

About the Author PALERMO PAVING

PALERMO PAVING is a family-owned-and-operated Long Island paving company. As such, we have a vested interest in our work. This translates into your paving project being done correctly and professionally. We pride ourselves in our expertise in paving, as well as our dedication to honesty and treating all customers with the care they deserve.

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