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How Much Does A Gravel Driveway Or Road Cost?

National Average
$1,500
Low End
$300
High End
$60,000

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Gravel Cost Per Square Foot

The average cost of a 16x38 foot gravel driveway is $1,500. The base cost falls between $1.25 and $1.80 per square foot. Driveways on the smaller side can cost as little as $300 with a larger and longer driveway costing as much as $60,000.
Whether you want a basic gravel driveway or something more stylish, multiple factors affect the cost. Depending on the condition of the site and its size, land clearing may be required. That task could require serious equipment, so if you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need to rent the appropriate gear. The material you choose and the amount needed also impact the price. Drainage is an important factor, and if not installed right the first time around, it could lead to greater maintenance costs in the future.
While gravel is less expensive compared to other types, it takes more than just spreading small stones around to make it work. You need at least a few layers of rocks of different sizes and a layer of geotextile fabric underneath. It’s also a good idea—whether it’s a driveway, walkway, road, parking lot or any other outdoor space—to install a border or retaining wall to keep rocks that come loose from getting into the yard.
A gravel driveway doesn’t just make a nice crunching sound welcoming you home; it’s usually the cheapest option for the place to park a car. It works with several different styles of house, and the installation and upkeep are on the easier side.
Doing this project yourself isn’t necessarily hard, but it’s a lot of work. If you’re short on time, hiring a professional to both deliver the materials and install your new driveway may be the way to go.

Material Price Estimator

There are several different types of material you can make your gravel driveway with, so the cost per square foot can range from $0.40 to $2. The choices are typically priced by the cubic yard or per ton. Plain pea gravel and crushed clamshells are each priced at about $40 per cubic yard and $50 per ton. Crushed stone is costlier at about $55 per cubic yard and $65 per ton. Buying pea gravel in bulk may reduce costs, but different finishes, like gravel with color, will add anywhere from $20 to $50 to the price per unit.
Labor costs, including equipment, average about $30 per hour, but that amount also is subject to change based on the company’s pricing structure, the scope of the job, the region the work is performed in and how the construction market is doing.
There are a number of variables when it comes to the cost of the materials used in a gravel driveway. Prices vary based on the source of the materials, the cost set by the seller, the unit the business will sell by and the type of material used. Supply and demand in the minerals market can also lead to fluctuating prices.
Gravel Driveway Costs
MaterialsPrice Per Square FootAverage Cost per 100
Square Feet (including labor)
Gravel$0.70$100
Rock Base$0.65$95
Crushed Stone/ Limestone$2$230
Rock Pebbles$1.50$180
Crushed Shells$0.60$90
Crusher Run$0.40$70
Caliche$0.45$75
*Labor rate includes the cost of supplies and equipment.

Gravel

On average, a square foot costs about $0.70. Colored gravel tends to be more expensive. Businesses that specialize in selling such materials typically price per cubic yard or per ton. A cubic yard of plain gravel is about $40, and a ton is about $50. Companies will often lower the cost per unit if at least 10 tons are ordered.
Pros:
  • quick and easy installation and maintenance.
  • available in multiple types and colors.
  • doesn't crack or sink.
  • pairs well with different styles of house.
Cons:
  • moves in rain and snow.
  • dusty.
  • requires regular maintenance.
  • prone to ruts or sinkholes if improperly installed.

Rock Base

Rock base, the first layer installed on top of the geotextile fabric, is priced at about $0.65 per square foot. A cubic yard is about $38 and a ton is about $46.

Crushed Stone/Limestone

Ordered in smaller amounts, a cubic yard of crushed stone can cost as much as $115 and a ton as much as $143. Ordered in much larger amounts, a cubic yard can cost as little $30 and a ton as little as $65.
Crushed stone or crushed limestone is available in several styles and sizes, so the prices can vary drastically. If you’d like to go a little more upscale with your layers, crushed white marble is an option that will run you about $2 per square foot.
  • Pros: highly customizable
  • Cons: higher quality means higher price.

Rock Pebbles

The base cost per square foot of rock pebbles is about $1.50. A cubic yard of these is about $86 and a ton about $108. If you want a driveway that looks a little less rough around the edges, pebbles, also known as river rocks, are an option. These are smooth and typically have more color variation.
  • Pros: naturally stylish appearance
  • Cons: pricier than pea gravel and prone to shifting

Shells

Crushed clamshell runs at about $0.60 per square foot. A cubic yard is about $40 and a ton about $50. Even if you don’t live by the beach, crushed shells are another great option for driveway coverage. The type of shell is one factor that will affect the price.
If you’re concerned about the product having an odor, don’t be. Shells for hardscaping that are sold in bulk have usually been washed thoroughly. Any aroma they arrive with disappears in a couple of days.
Pros:
  • consistently stable surface as shells break into smaller pieces and disperse as they are driven/walked on.
  • environmentally friendly.
Cons:
  • not readily available in all areas.
  • not easy on bare feet.

Crush & Run

Crush and run is one of the cheapest materials that can be used in a gravel driveway at about $0.40 per square foot. Cost per cubic yard is about $20 and per ton about $28.
This material—also known as crusher run, quarry process, dense grade aggregate or road stone—is the combination of crushed rock and dust created in the process.
Pros:
  • Inexpensive
  • Sturdy
Cons:
  • Less attractive than other types
  • Fewer variations

Caliche

The price per square foot is $0.45 while a cubic yard costs about $25 and a ton about $32.
Caliche, a sedimentary rock, is made of hardened calcium carbonate. It’s found mostly in arid climates, like states in the southwest, for which it’s best suited.

Steel Slag

Priced about $24 per ton, steel slag is a byproduct of making steel. To be used as construction aggregate material, it must be crushed and screened to meet gradation requirements. The aggregate material is angular in shape and rough to the touch. Because of its tendency to expand in humid environments, it is best used in drier climates.

Shale

Shale can be purchased for as little as $4 per yard if you pick it up yourself. Shale, which comes in multiple colors, forms from a muddy mix of clay minerals and silicates. Organic material often is trapped within the rock as it takes shape from the materials compacting and cementing together.
Shale rocks aren’t typically used by themselves in driveways, but they are used in producing cement. The rocks are combined with limestone, crushed and heated to eliminate moisture. Black shale is frequently used for natural gas or oil produced by the breakdown of the organic material.
Other colors of shale are mostly used to make clay as natural clay is hard to come by with deposits having been mostly depleted.
On a smaller scale, shale rocks are frequently found in aquariums or reptile habitats.
Consult with a Driveway Professional When Selecting Gravel
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Calculating How Much Hardpack Material You Need

To calculate how much hardpack material you’ll need for your project multiply length by width by depth.
For a 38x16 foot driveway with space for two cars and a depth of 4 inches (0.3 feet):
38 x 16 x 0.3 = 182 cubic feet of material

Average Installation Costs

The average price of labor is $30 per hour, including the cost of supplies and equipment. The typical driveway job should take two workers about two hours. The total cost to have a professional install a gravel driveway can vary. Some of the factors include the location, size of project, materials being used and whether or not the materials had to be delivered or were already on site.

Gravel Driveways

A gravel driveway is generally the least expensive with an average price tag of $1,500. Most homeowners spend between $2,250 and $5,900 on the installation of a driveway. While asphalt and concrete are widely favored, gravel is a popular choice for long driveways, usually found in rural areas.
The size of the project, including the depth, will be the biggest cost factor. Professionals recommend they be a minimum of 4 inches deep. The terrain’s flatness, or lack thereof, also will affect the price.
Needing to get rid of an existing driveway can also have a big impact on the cost. Prices vary greatly based on the region but removing an average concrete driveway can cost homeowners $1,000 to $4,000.

Residential Roads

Like a driveway, the cost of a residential road will most largely be impacted by the size of the project.
Because of the surface area, a steamroller would be needed to make sure the elements are compacted down enough.
A project of this size may also require permits from the homeowner’s city or county of residence. Permit are typically priced between $500 to $2,000.
If you’re going to have commercial vehicles or construction equipment traveling on the road, putting some extra money into it to ensure that it’s built to last is a good idea.

Parking Lots or Pads

The average size for a parking spot or single parking pad is 18x9 feet. The price of gravel for one spot with a depth of a 3 inches is about $60. A 1,000-square-foot parking lot with four spaces and room to pull in and back out costs about $370. A 1,512-square-foot parking lot with six spaces is about $560.

Walkways & Patios

Gravel is a material that works well and looks natural for walkways and patios. The national average price to put in a walkway or patio is about $3,300 with a low end of $800 and a high end of $10,000. Using gravel would fall on the cheaper end of the range.
A walkway of 4x12 feet with a depth of 3 inches will cost about $20. In using it for walkways, you won’t need to go as deep because the weight of people traveling on it won’t have the same impact vehicle traffic has. Grading usually isn’t needed in these smaller projects, but a weed-blocking geotextile fabric should still be used.
A patio of 16x18 feet with a depth of 4 inches will run about $130. If you’re planning on using gravel for a patio, pea gravel will provide the best drainage. Homeowners should also consider what they’ll be using their patio for. If you plan on entertaining, keep in mind that gravel isn’t the most comfortable thing for bare feet to walk on, and it makes moving furniture a bit difficult.

Crawl Space or Garage Foundations

The cost of gravel in a crawl space of a 2,000-square-foot home is about $900. Underneath the aggregate, you should have a vapor barrier, which decreases moisture and soil gas. The price of 2,000 square feet of 12 mil vapor barrier is about $600.
The price of gravel for 20x20 feet of garage foundation is about $180.
Proper drainage is key in using gravel in a crawl space or a garage foundation. There are a few different types of drainage systems. Installing it yourself will typically cost between $230 and $1,000.

Landscaping

Decorative grave—which costs anywhere from $50 to $90 per ton—is becoming a popular choice in landscape design. A homeowner’s typical budget for installing landscaping falls between $350 to $10,000.
Xeriscaping uses materials that need little water to survive. It’s frequently seen in drier, desert-like climates in the southwest, but it’s a great alternative for any homeowner.
Pros:
  • environmentally friendly
  • low maintenance
  • ability to create unique designs with multiple colors
Cons:
  • costlier upfront
  • limited plant selection

Commercial Roads & Spaces

There are several variables in constructing a commercial roadway or space regardless of the type of material used. A few considerations include: size of project, location and terrain.
Building a new, two-lane roadway in a rural area can cost about $2 to 3 million per mile. Using gravel will be cheaper, but it’s important to keep in mind what kind of vehicles will be utilizing the roadway to determine how strong it will need to be.
Permitting for a large commercial project will likely take some time depending on the size of the municipality.
Building a new roadway in an urban area will be more expensive. Gravel isn’t highly recommended for highly traffic roadways common to urban areas.
Hire a Driveway Installation Professional
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Cost Factors for Building a Driveway or Other Gravel Surface

The price of building a driveway or other surface with gravel is subject to a number of factors.Those include the tools and equipment need to complete the project, whether the land needs to be excavated, graded or cleared of trees, drainage system and taxes and permits.

Additional Tools & Materials

One factor that will determine what tools and equipment are needed to install a gravel driveway is if there’s an existing driveway. On average, concrete removal costs about $970, with a low end of $250 and a high end of $3,000.
Reinforced concrete will be more expensive as it’s harder to remove. A professional may use an electric jackhammer and concrete saw or a pry bar and a sledgehammer. Cost of equipment is usually included in a professional’s rate, but if the aggregate has to be delivered, the project will cost more.
In going the DIY route, you’ll need, at a minimum:
  • Claw hammer - $15
  • Sledge hammer - $30
  • Landscape rake - $50
  • Square hand tamper - $30

Grading a Resloping

Resloping work costs most homeowners an average of $1,900 with a low end of $400 and a high end of $5,000.
Necessary to resloping is directing water away from your home’s foundation. Mitigate the concern of erosion by putting in wooden or metal edging or bracing.

Tree Removal & Site Clearing

Removing trees costs an average of $660 with a low end of $80 and a high end of $1,650.
Preparing a site runs a homeowner an average of about $2,600 with a low end of $450 and a high end of $8,500. The price per square foot is about $1.30 to $2.

Drainage Considerations

The cost of a drainage system falls anywhere between $2,000 and $5,500 for most homeowners.
Pea gravel provides for the best drainage, but what if you’re looking to use a different material?
Make sure your driveway crowns at the center and have ditches that direct water away from the site. If the site isn’t prepared for water, gravel can wash away, leading to potholes and other problems.

Taxes & Permits

The price of permits is about $500 to $2,000 for a project. The cost can vary greatly based on the region and municipality in which the resident lives. Unless you’re living in the middle of nowhere, taxes and permits will likely be a part of your process.
Consult with a Pro When Installing a Gravel Driveway
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Asphalt vs. Gravel Driveways. Which is Cheaper?

A gravel driveway is generally cheaper than one made of asphalt. However, the latter is relatively affordable. The average price of paving with asphalt is $4,500 or about $3 to $4 per square foot. While repairs are easy, asphalt softens in the heat, is only available in black and lasts about 20 years.
Homeowners spend less on gravel driveways than they do other types.. The average cost is $1,500 or $1.25 to $1.80 per square foot. They’re also easy to repair, available in multiple colors and last about 100 years when properly cared for. However, this kind of drive is not best suited for states where it snows.

DIY vs. Hiring a Pro

As long as you do your research, this kind of job could be done by an experienced DIYer. If you’re looking for the job to be done faster and don’t mind spending a bit extra, consider hiring a professional. If you’re able to bring the materials to the site yourself but still want to hire a pro, that will save you a little bit of money. The price of labor is about $30 per hour.
Hire a Prof for your Gravel Driveway Installation
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