What are the Best Materials for a Long Driveway?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
Crushed gravel is a type of gravel mulch frequently used to fill driveways.
Crushed gravel is a type of gravel mulch frequently used to fill driveways.

There is no certain material that should always be used to construct a long driveway, as it is really a matter of individual taste and style. Asphalt and concrete are among the most long-lasting and durable options, although gravel and sand are also still used occasionally for a more rustic look. The right option for any particular home may depend on the location, the look and feel of the surrounding houses and landscaping, and the homeowner's style and budget.

Gravel can create a permeably-paved porous surface.
Gravel can create a permeably-paved porous surface.

One of the most common materials used to build a long driveway is concrete. This material is durable and readily available. For very long driveways, a professional should lay the concrete to ensure proper construction. Sometimes a homeowner may be able to take care of this part himself, but this is only recommended if he has the necessary skills and equipment.

Asphalt, the material used to pave roads, can also be used for driveways.
Asphalt, the material used to pave roads, can also be used for driveways.

Asphalt is also sometimes used for long driveway construction, although not nearly as often as concrete. This is the same material used to construct roads, and it is highly durable and long-lasting. It is also expensive, however, and should almost always be paved by a specialist. Not all areas have many choices for asphalt installation, especially smaller towns.

Less expensive options can also be used in long driveway construction, including dirt and gravel. Gravel can be found in various colors, textures and sizes, which may give homeowners more freedom in choosing a style they enjoy. Sometimes dyed stones are also available and can be customized to match the home or business perfectly.

Dirt or sand is less often used in long driveway construction, but it is perhaps the least expensive. Sometimes this type of driveway is done by simply removing grass from the area on which it is going. Other times, fill dirt or sand can be delivered and spread around the area. This method is not always a good idea in areas where heavy rainfall may cause erosion or where flooding is likely to occur.

The materials chosen should be considered carefully by the building owner. Those who are on a budget may choose to go with gravel or sand, but should remember that these options sometimes need to be replaced later on while concrete tends to be long lasting. Asphalt and concrete may not fit very well with more country or rustic design themes, however, and may take away from the charm of the outdoorsy look of some homes.

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    • Crushed gravel is a type of gravel mulch frequently used to fill driveways.
      Crushed gravel is a type of gravel mulch frequently used to fill driveways.
    • Gravel can create a permeably-paved porous surface.
      Gravel can create a permeably-paved porous surface.
    • Asphalt, the material used to pave roads, can also be used for driveways.
      Asphalt, the material used to pave roads, can also be used for driveways.