Gravel and limestone are two of widely used type of aggregates with variety of applications in construction industry. It is often used as a sub-base material or as primary material for paving driveways. But there’s a big debate out there that which one is better for driveways – lime stone or gravel?
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What is aggregate?
We take both gravel and limestone and name them as aggregate. Aggregates are among primary building and construction materials. We use them in concrete as fillers and as sub-base and base material in highway paving. Another use is for construction of footpaths and parking areas. It is an alternate to that of slab, tuff-paving or flat stone paving.
Here’re some of the benefits of using aggregates for paving:
- It is a cost-effective solution than other paving options like tuff-pavers
- A gravel paved area doesn’t require drainage channels
- It is pretty easy to lay
- It gives unique contemporary style and texture to your property
Both gravel and limestone has their pros and cons but the problem comes in when you want to use this material on a driveway that needs to handle a lot of traffic.
Let’s first see what gravel has to offer. The term gravel is specially used to describe aggregates that are in mix. It includes both stones and pebbles that are from different origins of rocks. You can easily find gravels at the edge of water bodies like lakes or rivers. We also term gravel as “landscape rock” or “pounded stones”. They are unconsolidated pieces of rock and are thus available in range of gravel sizes from granule to boulder-sized.
Gravel is somewhat more versatile material than limestone. It encompasses variety and unique texture. It is typically rounded and smoother than limestone, owing to the origin. Gravel is famous to achieve smooth finish for driveways and paths. Owing to the availability of variety of colors, you can achieve more attractive look for your home’s exterior. We use three different sizes of gravels to put them in a layer and form a driveway.
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Unlike gravel, limestone is obtained just from one rock. Basically, limestone is broken fragments of hard or carbonate sedimentary rock. It is mainly composed of calcium carbonate or dolomite resulting from the ancient remains of sea creatures such as coral and shellfish.
Limestone is not like gravel decorative mixes. You’ll see uniformity in limestone in terms of size, shape, and texture. Unlike gravel, limestone is not smooth; it rather has sharp appearance with jagged corners.
Limestone alone has variety of applications in construction. It is an essential component of concrete in terms of Portland cement. Moreover, they are also used as aggregate for the base of road or as filler in white pigments.
What is better – Gravel or limestone?
Gravel or limestone both are a great material and versatile in terms of benefits for most driveways, but both has their own pros and cons. Limestone is readily available and you can purchase that from garden center or hardware stores. But same stands true to gravel as well, which is available in large quantities. In fact, their easy availability makes both the most affordable construction material.
When it comes to appearance of both the aggregates, limestone gives you a uniform appearance. Though both are aesthetically pleasing when compared with concrete or asphalt but there’s much diversity in gravel. You’ll see numerous colors and shades due to collection of stones, pebbles, and rock fragments. However, limestone is only available in shades of grey, white, and brown. Anyhow, you can pay more to buy special mixes of selected colors.
Use edges when required
You may have face problem of loose top layer moving around, but that’s not a big deal. You can provide proper edging to keep loose top layer in place. It is due to this easy maintenance and easy installation, that makes gravel limestone the popular paving choice among residential and commercial property owners.
Limestone is very difficult to clean without using harsh chemicalsconc, though it is possible to use some commercial products that do a pretty good job of keeping the stones clean and chipped away.
Use limestone for heavy traffic areas
On the other hand, if you have a lot of traffic on your route, the constant eroding of the stones can cause them to become weak and fall apart. Limestone does not wear down as easily, and you can usually expect to have a bit of resiliency if something does happen to the surface.
Cost is also a factor in choosing materials. Gravel is much cheaper than limestone. But it all depends on where you are building the driveway, of course. If it is a residential property in a relatively small town, and you only plan to make it as wide as the available width of your street, then you may find that the cost differential is not all that big.
As far as longevity goes, both materials are extremely long lasting. In addition, they both are highly resistant to breaking and are waterproof. These two factors make gravel an excellent choice for any driveway, as well as a very desirable choice for both commercial and residential properties.
On the cost side of things, this cost savings comes at a price. There is a trade-off between the durability and longevity of the finished product and the price tag that comes with it.
Can I do it myself?
Laying and carving these stones is pretty easy and simple task. You won’t require precise tools that only some professionals have in their tool boxes. Moreover, the final result will likely match your expectations. If you get tired of the routine and want a break from the monotony, this is a pretty good weekend project.
The bottom line
So, you see both gravel and limestone has benefits and pitfalls. So, there is no right answer to the question “what is better for driveways?” This only really comes down to individual preference and the specific requirements of any given project. Regardless of which materials you choose, you will likely find that gravel and limestone are durable, affordable options that hold up well over time and will stand up to anything you can throw at them.