What should I put on my gravel driveway?
When deciding on gravel for your driveway, the most important fact to know is whether you need a crushed rock with a minus or a crushed rock that is clean. Gravel that has a minus after its name will contain small fines from the crushing process that will compress between the bigger rock to help it to pack down tighter. For example if a product is ‘¾” minus’, this means it will have every size fragment from fines up to ¾”. Any gravel you see that does not have the word minus after it will be a clean rock. It will not have the fines in it, which means it will not pack down tightly but offers better drainage.
When working with a new driveway it is typical to start with a clean rock. This will keep the mud down and give your driveway good drainage as well as create a firm base so that you can top it with a minus (see below). The steps are similar to dealing with a muddy driveway as below, though you may want to consult a professional. Proper engineering, grading and drainage will ensure that your driveway performs well with less maintenance over the years.
If you have a muddy driveway you need to get a clean rock down to hold that mud back, give you good drainage and allow you to top with a minus (see below) without adding to your mud problem. When deciding on the size you need to think about how deep your mud is and get a rock that is big enough it won’t sink and disappear into the mud. The 1½ -¾" crushed basalt is commonly used in slightly muddy areas. In extremely muddy situations it may be necessary to start with a larger clean crushed rock (for example a 2-4" crushed basalt or 4-8" crushed basalt), then put in a smaller clean crushed rock (such as 1½-2½" crushed basalt or 1½ -¾" crushed basalt) before adding a minus.
When topping a driveway that is well established and does not have a drainage or mud problem it is typical to use a rock with a minus. This will allow it to pack down so that it will be stable. You generally do not want to use a clean rock for these areas because when you are driving on it, the rock will shift out from under the tires causing ruts and losing your gravel quicker. The most commonly used is ¾” minus basalt, though there are several other options as well (click here for more choices).
If you are dealing with water issues and potholes, check out our article: "I have potholes... Now what?" and our information on grading and driveway repair.
As with any product we advise that you come to our yard and look, as there are many different sizes and colors to choose from. You can begin by checking out our selection of crushed rock on the website, then call or come in when you are ready to order.