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Paving a driveway vs gravel

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  • Paving a driveway vs gravel

    we have a gravel driveway that becomes a muddy mess during wet seasons. I want to have it paved with asphalt but my husband says you “don’t do that” on a farm. What? City girl needs help.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Hollybelle View Post
    I want to have it paved with asphalt but my husband says you “don’t do that” on a farm. .
    just a guess on the translation but I believe it means I would rather have a new (insert: tractor. truck, trailer,vacation) than pave the drive


    • #3
      We have both. Asphalt coming in off the road and then it switches to gravel.

      Here's one problem: To maintain the gravel driveway we need to have big dump trucks bring more gravel and crushed granite. This can damage the asphalt especially if they go off the edge.

      Our gravel drive definitely does _not_ become a muddy mess... that's why we have the gravel! But you do have to keep adding gravel at intervals and maintain it.

      So... maybe find out why the gravel drive is such a mess, and offer to put some money into a new box blade or whatever would be needed to maintain it (plus the materials) ?

      If the asphalt wasn't already here, I probably would not pay to put it in. I'd rather have a [nice fence, new horse, side-by-side].
      ... and Patrick


      • #4
        Of course you can pave "farm" driveways with asphalt!!!

        Should you? It depends...mostly on how much money you have! If the ground is flat but not well drained then as part of the paving process you'll have to deal with the water. If you live in Alpine, TX (with very low rainfall) this isn't a big problem. If you live in Alpine, TN where you get 50" of rain/yr. it will be a BIG problem.

        And then there will be terrain issues, regulatory issue (if you live in a "nanny State"), tax issues (you might get a bigger tax bill 'cause the place is worth more), etc. So you have to look at the total picture to make a decision.

        Take the time to think about it, cost it out, and then decide. Good luck in your program.

        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo


        • #5
          You absolutely can pave/asphalt the road to your farm. However, most people don't because of $$$$$$.

          A friend I know bought a place that had a paved driveway. I don't recall the exact length but I think it is about 3/4 of a mile. It did need to be re-paved and his first quote he got was $90,000 and that was just to resurface it!!! (not putting in a brand new one where you would also have dirt work expenses)

          We're currently working on our own place and to put in a new driveway with gravel, and with all the dirt work it is cost us around $30,000. I don't remember how many feet it is but it's somewhere around 1/3 of a mile. Gravel will suit fine and there's no way I'm spending the money on asphalt (plus, we have 2 miles of gravel to get to our place anyway, so it would be pointless to pave)

          So if you've got the money, by all means, pave away!!!
          It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.


          • #6
            We have a 1/4 long driveway through the woods uphill to our house. It's all gravel (well crusher run really). To me, gravel has a lot more going for it than paving, number one being the amount of ice storms we get here in the winter. At least with gravel under the ice, there's a little traction, nada with pavement. The cost of course is a huge factor, paving vrs gravel is at least 10X's more. And if you are running equipment on it, you might displace a little gravel but you won't gouge it like pavement. It's also easier to fix gravel. If your gravel lane is getting muddy, the base probably wasn't laid and compacted correctly- fixing it is still cheaper than paving
            If history repeats itself, I'm getting a dinosaur


            • #7
              I paved over part of my barn driveway because it makes snow clearing SO much easier. (Naturally, we haven't had a blizzard since I did it. And tabula rashah is right, gravel is much better for ice than asphalt.) It was quite cheap because we were getting the house driveway paved too for the same reason so they just tacked it on. I have to walk on it to get to my arena and can be a bit slippery for shod horses, so there is that downside. It is much lower-maintenance than the gravel parking and driveway areas that are constantly trying to turn into grass though.

              I say pave it if you want to and can afford it, but you do need a good base and the fact that it's getting muddy suggests you don't already have one.
              Building and Managing the Small Horse Farm:


              • #8
                Our gravel driveway used to become a soupy mess.

                We finally bit the bullet this year and had somebody come in and re-grade it so it could drain properly (there was no crown) and work over the potholes. We put in a rip-rap border to help with the wash-out down the hill. We also hauled in additional gravel. Then after it rained they compacted it. Compacting it was key that a lot of people skip.

                It's amazing now.


                • #9
                  I'd opt for a good overhaul of your current gravel road. They really do take maintenance or complete do-overs if improperly installed to begin with. We have about 500 feet of gravel drive to the house and back to the barn. I live in a highly wet environment (SW WA). Our road is crowned with a base of 3/4 minus gravel (bigger gravel) and a top of 5/8" minus (regular "driveway" gravel). We've been here 16 years and have had to add gravel twice to maintain it. Your road will need more maintenance depending on traffic load, topography (hilly gravel roads need regular grading/gravel based on my childhood home's 1/2 mile two hill driveway!).

                  Our barn road from house to barn gets less traffic, but we put bigger gravel on it with a geotextile base. It's held up very well even with heavy dump trucks on it.
                  Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


                  • #10
                    an alternative might be Chip Seal .... works well...the street in front of our home is a chip seal surface that most people believe is asphalt

                    Last edited by clanter; Aug. 8, 2019, 07:06 PM.


                    • #11
                      Is crushed asphalt something you can get? 15 years ago we had our gravel driveway redone with crushed asphalt and it is fantastic. We don’t have mud issues and we might need to redo it for the first time next year.

                      When end we had gravel we were redoing every few years. I think when they redo it next year we are going to add a small spot for the horse trailer.


                      • #12
                        My very busy barn is about 50/50. The gravel gets so bad after a hard rain or the winter that you really have to be careful driving on it, even at 3 MPH. I really wish it was more paved. We get huge pot holes between the asphalt and the gravel.

                        They have to add sand/gravel/dirt and drag it several times a year. It's also very dusty when it is dry.

                        In the winter, the pot holes become treacherous. The uneven surface makes it so ice pockets form, so sometimes the horses can't go outside because the walkways are just too dangerous. Asphalt gets icy too, but we can plow it easier and salt it as well.

                        I think it boils down to the amount of money you have, and the amount of patience you have to maintain gravel!

                        If we didn't have high traffic and hard winters, I think gravel would be fine. It is really lovely to walk on riding during the dry months after it's been tended.


                        • #13

                          I think it is not fair to compare a gravel drive in a poor state of repair to a paved drive in good condition. Of course the drive in good condition is going to be better.

                          A well maintained gravel drive will serve the user well.

                          OP, sit down with the other half and make a pros and cons list for both. Clearly you need to do something if your current driveway is muddy when it rains because even a gravel driveway should not be muddy.

                          Originally posted by tipzythegreat View Post
                          Asphalt gets icy too, but we can plow it easier and salt it as well.
                          You can salt gravel too.


                          • #14
                            We have a paved driveway coming up the hill to our house. I hate it with a passion. We’re in Canada so harsh winters are a reality which brings frozen ground and frost heaves. Our driveway has a section with some pretty good washboarding. In our half ton, it’s not bad. In our one ton, it rattles your teeth.

                            I shudder to think what it would cost to resurface. In the next couple years, we will rip up and replace with gravel. Still needs maintenance but much easier to do.

                            I would really consider what winter is like in your area and if the ground freezes regularly before putting down asphalt. Because a beautiful smooth driveway may not stay that way very long.


                            • #15
                              Another vote for chip and seal. It was half the cost of asphalt.


                              • #16
                                What kind of farm are we talking here? Like do you regularly have large equipment--tractors and combines and whatever--over the drive?

                                Paving is $$$$ but paving something that needs to hold up to heavy farm equipment is even more so. If it's a muddy mess in the winter now, it'll be a skating rink if you pave and don't address the grading and drainage. But if you address the grading and drainage, it won't be a muddy mess.

                                ​​​​​​Might be a good idea to have it graded properly, and install drainage if necessary. Then see what you have.


                                • #17
                                  I have a love/hate relationship with our gravel driveway. But anytime we've had ice then snow, or ice storm or whatever winter might throw at us, I am thankful to have it. Nothing worse than a skating rink on cement/pavement - at least the gravel gives you some grip in a vehicle.

                                  And with big propane trucks and UPS trucks and the various other trucks going up/down our 1/4 mile driveway, I think the gravel is better suited for longevity (especially since those truck drivers seem to not know how to stay ON the driveway, which I find annoying). No telling what a huge truck going off the driveway would do to a pretty paved driveway.
                                  ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~


                                  • #18
                                    We have the entrance to the farm paved and the circle by my house, the rest is stone (by barns, sheds and turn out paths). I made the decision not to pave but (re)do gravel. I do maintenance on my gravel as far as raking, filling in some ruts, adding gravel every few year and our is not a muddy mess. It sounds as if you need a good load of stone. Your local quarry can tell you how much.

                                    It sounds as if you really need the amount to have a "new driveway".

                                    I don't want asphalt because some of mine where shoes. Depending on where they are being turned out we may have to be on the driveway for a bit. I think they have better traction on the stones in ice etc.

                                    If my set up was different I wouldn't be opposed to asphalt.
                                    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Well in general the consensus seems to be gravel. I am in Minnesota and the winters are quite harsh so I can see where gravel might be better in those conditions. Also cost is a big consideration. The biggest concern I have with gravel is the maintenance, since we don’t have any big machinery. *Thanks* to one and all for your very informative answers!


                                      • #20
                                        My biggest problem with paved driveways is horses slipping on them. I've watched way too many horses fall on asphalt. Gravel gives better grip under their feet.