Crushed granite driveway issues?

threeapplesApril 21, 2013

I really want crushed granite for the oval driveway in front of our house. My husband is on board with it, but worries that granite will get stuck in the soles of peoples' shoes and, if they keep them on when they come in the house, they will scratch our marble and wood floors very badly. Do any of you have this issue? Any thoughts?

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We don't have crushed granite we have a type of driveway called oil and stone, and while I love my driveway and the look of it, yes we do get little stones in the house. We don't wear shoes in the house so that helps significantly. We also have mats outside of the house and immediately inside the doors. I have also installed a boot scraper which helps if there is a stone that gets lodged into a sole. I haven't had an experience where a stone in a shoe has damaged our floors but I am sure it is only a matter of time...

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 10:30PM
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Why not just pour cement for the driveway and it will be smooth. The crushed granite thing may be cool but it also sounds like a headache as well.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 11:16PM
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Where we live, gravel driveways and parking areas are very common. I've had one in every house I've lived in in the Northeast. They're also common in certain commercial settings here, like small shops, libraries, churches, etc.

I echo what GinaGordon said. We don't wear shoes inside, and have mats outside every door. Even so, yes, sometimes little stones come in - on the dog's feet or on the feet of guests, etc.

It all depends on the size of the stone you get, as well as how thick your top finished layer is. When the layer is thin, and the stone dust or DGA starts showing through, it's much worse, and dusty and awful in the rain.

One place where I volunteer has really small stone (1/4" or 3/8") and those little guys are always coming in on people's shoes - and yes, they leave marks on the floors. I suggest a larger size that's still comfortable like 3/4". Our library has really big stone (1.5"?) and it can be difficult to walk on without twisting an ankle, especially in a shoe with any kind of heel.

I'd really be concerned if you have a lot of marble on the floor, and yours is not a shoeless household.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 11:24PM
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What do the driveway people say about plowing? I would worry about it being torn up each winter.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:30AM
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Yep, we put a little crushed granite cart path around our property and they are always getting stuck in my tennis shoes. I'm always picking them out or scraping them out on the concrete driveway. Scratching floors could be a big concern with guests.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:33AM
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We used crushed granite for walking paths all around our last house and yes, stones got tracked into the house and scratched the wood floor. Every time I suggest we use it for landscaping around our current house, DH has to remind me of what a pain in the butt it was.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 9:11AM
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We have it too, but we take off our shoes when we enter the house. Another downfall is that weeds come up in it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Mowing small stones for years and yes, they stick in the soles of your shoes as well.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Gravel is usually done as a budget choice. It's never an aesthetic one as it's a huge PIA to deal with on many many fronts from tracking it into the home to occasionally having to have it be regraded and redistributed an new gravel dumped to refresh it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 12:12PM
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Our driveway will be loooong. With 44 acres, you don't have short driveways. I'm thinking we'll have gravel for the "road", then concrete for the actual driveway that adjoins the house itself. This gives us economy for the majority of the project, but the more durable /lower maintenance concrete near the actual house.

Incidentally, snow isn't an issue in our area.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 1:01PM
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Another thing to think about is kids and bike riding/scooters/basketball, etc. We looked and and loved a house with a pea gravel driveway. Smooth stones so the scratching never occurred to me (although it sounds like a real problem), but we knew our kids would want to ride bikes or scooters in our driveway so it would have had to have been replaced.

You can get a similar look with an aggregate driveway. More expensive than concrete but looks great and no loose stones.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Gravel is usually done as a budget choice. It's never an aesthetic one

I beg to differ. Do not say that it's "never" an aesthetic one. When I say many (most) homes in my area have gravel driveways, I am not talking about a rural or depressed farm area. I am talking about $2-10 million estates in one of the most affluent counties in the country.

My nearest neighbor is about as fancy and uptight as you can get in his white 10,000 sf Georgian manor, and spends about $15K per month on his lawn maintenance service alone. His driveway is cobbled from the road up to his 1500 sf parking area by the front door, which is all gravel. I am sure he and others did not make this choice for "budget" reasons. It can be a deliberate design choice.

And sometimes it is a choice made to circumvent lot coverage maximums, as gravel is considered a pervious surface and therefore may in some cases be excluded from these numbers. Our town's max lot coverage is 3%, so I'm sure all the gravel drives exist so that the houses and pool houses and tennis courts can be bigger.

Yes, it does have to be regraded and refreshed with a new top layer about once every 3-5 years, depending on how much you abuse it (i.e., snow plowing, etc).

I do agree that it can be a maintenance nightmare. Like I said before, it's dusty, loud, no fun to walk on in bare feet, can get weedy in the summer, can get "muddy" when you wash the car, and makes it more challenging to snowplow and snowblow (they have to know just how low to set the plow so you don't end up with a pile of gravel in the spring - but it's easily respread if you do).

Gravel can be beautiful and adds a certain texture and ambiance to the landscape that you don't get with some other driveway materials. But it's not for everyone or for every situation. DH actually despises our long gravel drive for all the reasons I listed above, and can't wait to replace it with a pervious pebbled aggregate when we rebuild.

Are these homes budget builds? I don't think so.

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Here is a link that might be useful: Pervious concrete aggregate

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 2:41PM
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I really love the look of it, but these responses convinced me it's just too much of a pain and not sensible with small kids. I'm going to check out the concrete aggregate--thanks for making me aware of it.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:56PM
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haha! Touché! Thank you for saying that, jenswrens. It definitely wasn't a "budget choice" for us and was definitely an aesthetic choice. We are putting in crushed asphalt. I think paved driveways are kind of tacky, personally. :)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:58PM
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"My nearest neighbor is about as fancy and uptight as you can get in his white 10,000 sf Georgian manor, and spends about $15K per month on his lawn maintenance service alone."

15K? per month?

Well, then, I would think that someone spending $180,000 annually on landscaping won't fret over some scratches in the floor.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Our last house had a gravel driveway and river rock walkways up to the front and back doors. NEVER do this. What a major pain! We had hardwood floors and a marble entry. Gravel and dirt and tiny rocks in your shoe soles all the time. And weeds grew up in the rocks. And my kids were little at the time and they LOVED throwing the rocks at each other, the dog, the roof, etc. And don't even try to walk in dress shoes (high heels) on those walkways.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 11:42PM
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In my area city ordinances do not allow gravel driveways. All driveways and parking lots must be a hard surface (asphalt or concrete). Rural dwellings typically have a gravel "lane" that turns to concrete near the house. Our rural subdivision requires hard surfaces from the road to the garage.

We have an aggregate driveway. Price was the same as a typical finish and this is probably due to our location. My brother has a circular drive in front of his home and poured concrete with a 5" curb. His lane is asphalt and then asphalt over the concrete with the curbing exposed. It is a unique look, but overkill on cost.

Many of the posters mentioned rocks in the soles of shoes, but another issue is the dirt that comes from stones. My children's school had a small gravel playground that increased our clothing budget considerably. It stains and we could never get the clothes clean. This was in the late 80s/early 90s and most playgrounds do not have this type of surface today.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 7:15AM
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Exposed aggregate is about 20 percent more than concrete around here. It is lovely though. I was a bit concerned about the ability to play basketball and roller-skate or scoot on it but my main reservation was cost (end of the build and all).

We did a colored concrete with a broom finish and it looks very nice. We chose French Gray for the concrete color - mixed in the concrete not painted on top - which is a pretty pale gray rather than the creamy white of concrete. It looks great I think and goes with our bluestone apron at the end of the driveway and our house in general.

My parents did the same color on their driveway years ago and it has held up perfectly. Also, they have a brick apron and the driveway is edged in brick and the color looks great with that as well.

Just another thought if exposed aggregate or pea gravel is out of the budget.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Beware pea gravel. It may not follow you into the house but it will move everywhere else outside.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:24AM
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I second jenswrens suggestion. I was thinking about this thread last night when I was walking my dog. (We finally got a break from the rain.) I passed the house in the picture below - they have a long aggregate driveway (it's a corner lot and the driveway goes from one street, across the front of the house, and to the perpendicular street.) Normally I don't like that much driveway but this one looks very nice. The house was built several years ago, at least 12, and the driveway hasn't been replaced or updated to my knowledge (I go past it almost daily.)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 1:17PM
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I really like the aggregate. Dh convinced me that snow plowing was not practical on this type of surface.

Any opinions?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:25AM
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Just a note for anyone reading in the future... Gravel is not always considered pervious surface area. In my area, any graveled area (with car traffic--probably not garden gravel) is considered IMPERVIOUS and counts as such in the surface water management fee calculations and lot coverage %s...

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:49AM
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I don't see why snow plowing wouldn't work on exposed aggregate, except it would dislodge some of the rocks. Every day use does that, too. My last house had exposed aggregate, and we were not fans of it. It is common, but it isn't considered an upgrade here as far as I can tell. The nicer homes have stamped and/or stained concrete.

In our rural parts, nearly everyone has gravel. Next step up is asphalt and then concrete in various forms. I'd say for every 100 gravel driveways, there are 15 asphalt and 2 concrete. Then again, these aren't million dollar homes. :)

Anyway, no one in this region has crushed granite. What I can say about gravel is that weeds love to grow in it. That was the most annoying part that led to us upgrading the whole thing.....

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:58AM
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We are in Steel country here. a popular product here is pelletized Blast Furnace slag. because of availability it's cost is far less then any limestone or other aggregates. It can be coloured to enhance landscaping. Should be available in the north central states as well. one advantage is that it packs tightly with little or no voids.

Also becoming popular is limestone slabs using screened fines as grout lines. Gives a field stone look at a fraction of the price. There are many limestone quarries nearby. It is very durable and look very nice if placement is thought out well. It however can be somewhat uneven depending on what's available at the quarry.

I hate our pea stone drive, it gets everywhere, as well over time our clay soil is brought onto it from vehicle tires, then the mud needs o be scrapped off and new stone applied every few years as all that mud is tracked in with the stone. Talk about a pain to clear snow from, can get dangerous using a snow blower as stones can be flung over 100 mph.

On my wish list is a driveway with concrete path separated by a grass boulevard down the centre, just like the home I grew up in. Far less expensive than a fully paved drive and very appealing and nostalgic for me. Really only works for a long single drive.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 12:11PM
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Interesting, kirkhall, and yes, true. Our town considers it pervious so it doesn't count against lot coverage maximums, but at the same time our state DEP considers it impervious so it counts against any allowable building footprint in a wetlands area. Catch 22. Which is why we're going to have to remove a significant portion of all the gravel we have (for the DEP) and replace it with the pervious concrete aggregate shown above. Luckily we're nowhere close to reaching the 3% max lot coverage either way. But it seems a win/win - DH gets rid of the gravel he hates, the DEP is happy, and hopefully, someday we'll get to build our house.

And LuAnn, I can't tell from your post if you are just shocked or if you are questioning the validity of my statement. $10-15,000 per month is correct . Yes - per month. Not unusual here. We are hopelessly and forever zip-coded (precisely b/c of people like my neighbor). I remember being shocked when we bought a house in Minnesota, and the guy would come and do my whole lawn (front, sides, and back) for a mere $25 - amazing! You would never find that here.

I guess it's not totally $180K per year because they (thankfully!) don't have much done during the 4-5 months of winter. Their workers are the bane of my existence, as I cannot stand listening to the constant drone of mowers and leaf blowers for 8-10 hours a day 2-3 times a week. It's like living across from an industrial park, and I bought this house primarily so I could have privacy and silence and listen to nature. I guess my bitterness is made worse because I was here years before they were, and their property used to be acres and acres of natural woodland until they bought it and cut down all the trees and planted grass. But I digress... They're nice people though (even if a bit OCD about their yard), so that helps temper it. I'm sure they hate that my place is left somewhat wild, and attracts deer and fox and birds and bears. Oh my! To each his own. :-)

This post was edited by jenswrens on Fri, May 17, 13 at 19:04

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Do you happen to have pics of how you did your drive?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:19PM
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