Author Topic: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)  (Read 8351 times)

Milspecstache

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Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« on: March 29, 2014, 03:36:44 PM »
I live in a rural area and have the freedom to choose any driveway material I desire.  Currently I have gravel and it will need adding to/replacing within the next few years.  I don't get much snow so snow removal isn't a concern.

I'm rather sure from what I have read that both asphalt and concrete aren't really good for the environment just based on resources/production/runoff/disposal.  Additionally they are both prohibitively expensive as my driveway will be at least 100' long.

What I'm currently considering:
Gravel - cheap, minimal runoff, environmentally friendly, easy to add to what I already have, DIY.  Variations are crush-and-run, crushed concrete, oyster shell, etc.
Tar-and-chip - while similar to asphalt it is much cheaper and doesn't require as thick of a layer.  may also last longer due to ability to flex vice crack.  from environmental standpoint it is probably almost as bad as asphalt.
Crushed asphalt - disposal means for asphalt.  it rebonds to form a solid packed surface (not good for runoff again), fairly economical

I really think gravel is probably the way to go.  For the area from the road to the house I could do a completely filled in area of gravel and then continue to my garage with gravel only where the wheels will run.  Based on DIY I could also fill in as needed by patching areas that collect water/get muddy.

Thoughts?

Spork

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2014, 04:14:50 PM »
I'm in a similar housing situation (rural with 300 ft drive). 

Ours is asphalt (put in by previous owner).  We had a small amount patched (professionally) and had a 2-car parking area added and... HOLY CRAP.  It was like $4k.

So.. yeah, I understand your desire to find something cheaper.

I'd bet most of your solutions are reasonable and DIY friendly (ish) with a little bit of work.  If you have (can borrow or rent or ...) a tractor with a box blade, you could knock it out pretty quickly.

One thing I might do:   I might actually spring for a minimal amount of concrete for the apron directly behind the garage.  I know you're trying to avoid excessive runoff... but that's probably an area you WANT to drain very well... so you don't get stuck going in/out.  It is also probably your highest traffic area.  Yeah... expensive and not necessarily very DIY friendly.   (You could at least dig it out and form it up and lay out the rebar... but when it comes to spreading it and smoothing it, that's not something I'd do myself. 

fixer-upper

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2014, 04:33:28 PM »
Without knowing the details of the house, it's hard to say.  Some houses just look like they need a concrete/asphalt drive, while it would look out of place for another.

One thing to consider is adding some edging to gravel.  Clean lines do a lot for curb appeal.

letro

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2014, 04:36:03 PM »
The dump truck can spread that gravel or blue stone in 5 minutes and you will not need a rake or shovel.  Do not do oyster shells sharp and smelly.  I also have 300 feet of driveway in small blue stone and 4 foot wide concrete apron in front of garage . Small blue stone (size of thumb nail) lasts about 7 years then another $1000 of stone is necessary. Not much snow here on eastern shore of MD.  I put cars at mailbox for two or three little snow storms a year.  Keep smiling letro
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 04:38:54 PM by letro »

imustachemystash

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 04:42:58 PM »
Growing up in the woods we had a gravel driveway.  It was easy to maintain and fit in with the woodsy setting.  When some of it wore away, my dad just filled in the parts that needed it.  All our neighbors had gravel driveways as well. 

Primm

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2014, 04:59:14 PM »
I grew up on a farm with a 100m (300ft) gravel driveway. It only needed maintenance every few years, and it fit the house better than something permanent.

Emilyngh

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2014, 05:12:46 PM »
We have gravel, and I think it probably is the least expensive.   We do seem to have to get some to refill it about every two years or so (maybe b/c we're on a hill and it runs off?), but it's inexpensive here and seems to be costing a couple hundred every 2 years or so. 

RetiredAt63

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2014, 05:36:11 PM »
I also have a rural gravel driveway, about 100' long.  I am in snow country (especially this winter!).  I find that when I have a contractor clearing the snow with a blade, gravel ends up several feet into the lawn.  This year I did it myself with a snow-blower, and there will be a lot less gravel hiding in the grass.
However, as a result of the snow clearing I need to add gravel, so I am looking forward to hearing what people have done.  Does anyone have an edging strip that helps keep the gravel in place?  Especially those who have to deal with lots of snow?

fixer-upper

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2014, 06:11:24 PM »
Does anyone have an edging strip that helps keep the gravel in place?  Especially those who have to deal with lots of snow?

Pressure treated 4x4s would work.  Leave about half the height sticking above the gravel.

TomTX

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2014, 08:33:38 PM »
Does anyone have an edging strip that helps keep the gravel in place?  Especially those who have to deal with lots of snow?

Pressure treated 4x4s would work.  Leave about half the height sticking above the gravel.

If you can find them (usually not at HD or Lowe's) - get the "ground contact" or burial rated pressure treated lumber. Much higher level of preservative, and they last a lot longer.

Milspecstache

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2014, 09:32:03 PM »
Old railroad ties also work as edging.

Thanks for the info on the oyster shell.  Didn't think about the smell...

Rural

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2014, 10:45:08 PM »
Bookmarking this for reference. We're at about a quarter mile long road/driveway, too steep for gravel over much of it. So, this is a subject near and dear to my heart! We're leaning most heavily toward tar gravel right now.

livraison

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2014, 12:23:28 AM »
Hollow concrete pavers (aka grass pavers) are often touted as a good option from an environmental/runoff perspective. I've never known anyone who used them and haven't done any research on cost, durability, etc but thought I'd mention them since you raise runoff as an issue. It's hard to see how they'd be better than gravel from an environmental perspective but it may be that they last longer and require less upkeep.

SnackDog

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2014, 03:14:34 AM »
I have gravel and love it.  Tell your snow guy to keep his blade two inches off the driveway instead of scraping it clean.

dcheesi

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2014, 05:58:55 AM »
Hollow concrete pavers (aka grass pavers) are often touted as a good option from an environmental/runoff perspective. I've never known anyone who used them and haven't done any research on cost, durability, etc but thought I'd mention them since you raise runoff as an issue. It's hard to see how they'd be better than gravel from an environmental perspective but it may be that they last longer and require less upkeep.
Is there a special kind for driveways? At my parents house there are walkway pavers running along the edge of one of the parking spaces; the ones that tend to get parked on the most  are all cracked and broken from the weight of the vehicles.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2014, 07:15:38 AM »
Concrete directly around the garage and possibly at the start of the driveway would be a good idea but even a little bit of concrete is EXPENSIVE.

Consider crushed limestone (Traffic Bond). Stuff gets super hard and semi-cemented after getting wet and drying out once. Even though it's fine grain, it may last longer than standard gravel. I've never used it for a driveway but used to use it all the time as a landscape base.

Are your cars AWD? If so, only clear snow when you have a major storm that exceeds the ground clearance of the vehicle. My DW's Outback can handle more than 12" of snow. As you travel, the snow gets packed down and easier to pass, unless you have slopes where the resulting ice is a problem.

DoubleDown

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2014, 12:08:53 PM »
I think gravel is an excellent material for a rural driveway, and will definitely be less expensive to install and maintain.

I used this gravel stabilizing material with excellent results for a gravel parking pad I "built" for our house. It's very strong, and allowed me to reduce by at least 60% the amount of gravel I needed to buy in order to hold the weight of our cars:

http://celltekdirect.com/lsg.html

You might not need it for a long driveway, and if you don't care too much about the gravel sinking and shifting over time. But for anyone considering a gravel parking area or driveway, I highly recommend looking into it. It is terrific for holding the gravel in place, and will cut by 50-60% or more the amount of gravel you need to put down. It also eliminates the need for any kind of edging material since the gravel is already held in place in each individual cell (though you might still want an edge for decorative purposes, but it's not needed for stability).

And, you can just put it right on top of grass/dirt/whatever, and pour the gravel right into it -- no other site preparation needed (other than of course leveling a really misshapen area). I just spread out the honeycomb cells right over the grass that used to be where my parking spot now is, and instead of needing at least 14" deep gravel, I only needed 6-7" -- enough to fill the cells plus another inch or two. 2+ years later, it is still holding with no maintenance needed, no gravel shifting around, no depressed areas, and no grass or weeds growing through the gravel. Walking on it is more like concrete -- your feet don't sink into the gravel at all. I ordered the Celltek stuff from the same place I purchased the gravel itself, and you just cut it into whatever dimensions you need.

Also, you should not use smooth, round gravel or pea gravel for any kind of driving/parking application. Those stones will slip and shift against one another too much, you'll have a squishy driveway or parking area with lots of depressions and holes. Instead, use jagged/rough cut and larger gravel, like 3/4". The pieces of gravel should have lots of straight edges, square and rectangular/jagged shaped instead of round. They will tend to lock together and hold tight in place even under the heavy weight of cars or trucks.


Milspecstache

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2014, 04:33:51 PM »
The celltek link looked pretty neat.  I did look and there is a dealer not too far from me.  Will have to get in touch to figure out how much.  Thanks!

Rural

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2014, 06:35:44 PM »
I want to look at it more, too, thanks! Any idea if it will hold on a slope?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2014, 06:40:56 PM »
@DoubleDown: The Celltek looks interesting.

@Thegoblinchief: Just snow tires, no AWD.  The issue here is as much the wind as the snow, although this has been a very snowy year.  I have easily 4' of snow most places in the yard.  In the driveway, even with snow fencing, I get drifting so that 6-9" of snow means 2' drifts in places.  If I didn't clear I would have way too much snow after a few snowfalls, even without drifting.

I am doing the driveway now that I have time - don't have to be out early for work.  This means very little gravel getting moved.  My contractor did paved and gravel driveways, so had his blade quite low.  Plus my driveway is fairly uneven now, so he was getting a lot of gravel from the high spots.  I need to add gravel to level it.

DoubleDown

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2014, 08:59:46 AM »
I want to look at it more, too, thanks! Any idea if it will hold on a slope?

Yes, I have a pretty steep slope where my driveway goes up to the parking area, and the celltek stuff is great at holding the gravel there. I think without it, it would be a disaster since it's so steep there. If I get off my lazy ass I'll take a picture and post it so you can see how it holds.

The celltek stuff is not cheap (at least it wasn't from the dealer I got it), but it's still way more cost-effective than having to buy double the gravel or more, and it does a tremendous job IMO. Plus for me it was a big deal not to have to do all the expensive or labor-intensive site preparation. Without the celltek stuff, I would have needed to excavate tons of grass and dirt, compact the site, etc. The celltek stuff makes it strong like concrete without any site preparation.

Frugal Firefighter

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Re: Most MMM driveway solution? (vs concrete/asphalt)
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2014, 02:27:52 PM »
If you have a concrete plant close, talk to them about some of the clean out from the trucks. I've seen it used on a 75 ft driveway. It looks like a white rock/gravel driveway, but it stays together a little better. I'm not sure on the price though.