Using Gravel For Paving Driveways: Looking At The Pros And Cons Of Decomposed Gravel

Let's be honest. Having a dirt driveway is not only unattractive and messy, but will also bring the market value of your property down. By paving your driveway, you can eliminate the problems listed previously. Gravel has become a popular favorite among homeowners for paving driveways. There are many different types of gravel that you can choose from. Decomposed gravel, in particular, comes with high recommendations, and will be the subject of this article, along with special considerations that you should keep in mind when paving, and also a list of pros and cons to help you make an informed decision. 

What Is Decomposed Gravel?

Decomposed gravel is made from granite or granitic rock that has been weathered down and broken down into pieces that are smaller than 1/4 inches  so that they have a sandy consistency. In fact, some homeowners claim that decomposed gravel looks similar to sand. Decomposed gravel can be further separated into 3 distinct types: loose decomposed gravel, stabilized decomposed gravel and decomposed gravel with resin.

Loose decomposed gravel is the least expensive and made from fine granite particles and aggregates without any additives. They are fairly permeable, and need to be compacted. Although inexpensive, you can expect loose decomposed gravel to be easily affected by erosion and will need to be filled in rather frequently. Stabilized decomposed gravel has a stabilizer already mixed in. Decomposed gravel with resin, on the other hand, has resin added in, and will have an appearance similar to asphalt.

Are There Any Special Factors You Should Consider When Using Decomposed Gravel for Paving Purposes?

When paving driveways with gravel, the layers should be at least 3 to 8 inches thick, and the surface should be crowned or sloped down to a bank with an ideal grade percentage falling between 2 to 5%. When using decomposed gravel, you will want to apply each layer in a thin manner and compacting the layers down. 

When using decomposed gravel, most professionals would recommend applying a thin layer, watering the layer down and tamping the layer afterwards in order to create a very compact surface. Keep in mind that decomposed gravel is a very fine type of aggregate. To further strengthen the decomposed gravel, you may want to consider adding a stabilizer, which is also known as a water activated binder. The stabilizer can protect the decomposed gravel from damaging effects of daily wear and elemental conditions while still allowing it to have a permeable property for draining runoff water.

What Are Some Reasons For Choosing Decomposed Gravel? 

In comparison to other types of gravel, decomposed gravel can offer numerous benefits that make them appear more attractive than the other options. Reasons for choosing decomposed gravel will include:

  • cost efficiency. Decomposed gravel is perhaps the most inexpensive option out there on the market meaning that you won't have to spend a lot of money to get your driveway looking fabulous. 
  • environmentally-safe. For homeowners who are conscious about their carbon footprint, decomposed gravel is perhaps one of the better options that you can go with since the entire mixture is made from natural aggregates, and will erode over time. 
  • permeability. Runoff water that cannot properly drain will only pool and cause water damage. Decomposed gravel is very fine, and also porous. This means that your driveway will be able to naturally drain away runoff water. This reduces the amount of maintenance that you will need to do regularly.
  • versatility in terms of color and design. Decomposed gravel comes in a wide variety of different colors and designs. You can easily customize the appearance of the gravel, so that it accommodates the overall appearance of your home.
  • ease of installation. Although tricky at times, decomposed gravel is quite easy to install. You do not need to have specialized equipment, and can probably pave your driveways by yourself without professional help. 

Why Might You Want to Avoid Decomposed Gravel?

If decomposed gravel has so many benefits to it, you may be wondering what the catch is. Reasons why you might want to avoid decomposed gravel will include:

  • the mess that it can make. Since decomposed gravel is extremely fine, aggregates can easily get wedged into your shoes and get trekked into the home. If your family does not have a custom of taking off your shoes when entering a home, you may find decomposed gravel to get messy really quick.
  • prone to erosion. Once again the fine aggregates may not work in your favor as decomposed gravel can easily erode, especially if it was not paved properly or if stabilizers are not used. If you live in an area where rain is prevalent, you may need to fill in your driveways fairly frequently due to the erosion experienced. 


Paving your driveway can make a huge difference to the overall appearance of your home. In fact, it can ultimately change not only the entire appearance of your home, but also your quality of living. Decomposed gravel is a great material to use, and comes with high recommendations from many professionals like Robinson Concrete Inc.