If you have been considering laying down a gravel driveway on your property but aren’t quite sure of how much this kind of project is going to cost, the good news is that these kinds of driveways are always less expensive than paved driveways – but breaking down the actual cost of building one yourself can be a bit of a tall task.
In this quick guide we are going to touch on a couple of the key cost categories that you’re going to have to pay close attention to when it comes time to price out and then eventually build your new gravel driveway.
It is absolutely impossible to tell you EXACTLY how much your new gravel driveway is going to cost (if only because it’s impossible to know how much space a specific gravel driveway is going to take up, amongst other things), but hopefully we will be able to help get you in the right ballpark.
Let’s dive right in!
Material costs for gravel driveways
A lot of people are under the impression that the only material cost they’ll have to pay for when building gravel driveways is the actual gravel itself, but things are a little bit more complex than that and you’ll have to pay for material for at least three different levels of your new driveway.
For starters, you’re going to need to get right down to the hardest base material you have on your property which involves removing a lot of topsoil. Then you’ll have to build out a base layer of large stone that provides for a solid foundation, on top of which will be laid a grid interlocking system that “houses” the gravel that you place on top of it.
These three layers will have different costs associated with them depending upon the actual material you decide to move forward with. At the end of the day, however, make sure that you do not cheap out on the ground interlocking grid system that holds your gravel in place. This is the backbone layer of your entire driveway and can make or break the entire project.
Equipment costs for gravel driveways
Gravel driveways are a very DIY friendly kind of project, but that doesn’t mean that you may not have to rent – or purchase out right – some equipment to help speed up the construction of your new driveway.
Even small gravel driveways often times require heavy equipment to move around dirt and level things out, and most people don’t have this kind of equipment just lying around. Different agencies will happily rent you the equipment or even send someone out to do the “heavy lifting” for you – and expect to create a budget line item for this kind of equipment for sure.
You’ll also need shovels, trucks to shuttle in the gravel, rakes to spread the gravel, hoses to make sure that everything is level and that drainage is working the way it should be and a handful of other miscellaneous tools.
Some of them you may have already and others you might have to purchase, so make sure these items make it into your budget as well.
Labour costs for gravel driveways
As mentioned above, a lot of people have decided to DIY gravel driveways without any experience with this kind of work before and things work out perfectly – so long as they use quality materials, are smart about their construction approach, and use ground interlocking systems like the ones that we mentioned above.
At the same time, you might want to save your back from some pretty heavy lifting by hiring out day labourers to assist you. Even if you are going to dive right in and get your hands dirty you might want some hands-on deck to speed things up, so that might be a cost that you have to consider.
Maintenance costs for gravel driveway
When it comes to maintaining your new gravel driveway the costs associated with this kind of work are always going to be a lot lower than paved driveways – but there will be some costs you have to account for when it comes to maintenance.
Yearly maintenance (fixing potholes, re-levelling the gravel, etc.) is going to be important, and from time to time you may have to bring new gravel in to fill in spots that have compacted or to make sure that your driveway remains stable and level.
Factor these costs into your budget and you won’t have any surprises popping up on you later down the line.
At the end of the day, gravel driveways make a lot of sense – especially for homeowners that want to do the work themselves and save a lot of money along the way. But while they are a lot less expensive than paved driveways they aren’t free of charge, and you’ll want to be smart about creating a reasonable budget before you dive right into this kind of project.