Being from small town Indiana, I have driven down my fair share of gravel roads. Also being a kid in need of some extra cash in small town Indiana, I have also shovel my fair share of gravel to make a driveway. It is no fun, but then, I doubt that it sounded like fun. The advantage to gravel driveways is that they are cheap on the front end of the investment. That is the only benefit to gravel driveways. Asphalt paving is better than gravel paving in every way but the aforementioned one. Gravel is not even cheaper in general. When you think about the amount of money that you have to spend to repave the gravel driveway after every winter, you actually end up saving more money in the long run with asphalt. We can start on this point. Because gravel is nothing more than rock shoveled into a common area, there is no adhesive to keep them together. There are a lot of ways that these stones can be thrown from the road. When that is gone, of course you have to replace them. Gravel can be thrown from the driveway when cars drive down it and get gravel rocks stuck in the tires. Gravel is often lost in the winter. When the snow melts, the ground is soggy. The ground shifts and moves, which displaces the ruts that the driveway has formed to. So every spring, you have to hire someone (or do it yourself) to come and replace the gravel back onto the driveway. This is a big hassle because it has to be done every year. If you go with asphalt paving, you will just have to have it installed once, and then it is over. Not only is the driving surface smoother and more pleasant than the bumpy gravel, but it is much less of a hassle. There are also environmental benefits of asphalt over gravel. Every time that the rains come or the snow melts, the soil that has been shaped into the gravel driveway is lost. Over time, erosion causes the level of the ground to decrease. That is lost sediment and earth. When you pave with asphalt, that surface will actually protect the soil, which is kept in place. This is especially relevant if you live near a body of water. Excess sediment in rivers and lakes is a big problem for the overall health of that ecosystem and the water quality. When you add up all of these factors, it seems like the easy choice to go with asphalt. Asphalt is the more recycled product in the world, pound for pound. It requires little to no maintenance, unlike gravel, which is probably its worst feature for me. Perhaps the hot days in Indiana shoveling gravel has given me a bias, but asphalt is the low-maintenance choice and it makes life easier. You are going to get yourself into hassle when you choose to pave your driveway with gravel. Asphalt is the choice for those that want to reduce the hassle.


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