What Are the Benefits of a Gravel Driveway?

A Covered Gravel Drive

What are the benefits of a gravel driveway?

Many homes today are built in subdivisions of Austin, Texas, and come with a concrete driveway. But some subdivisions and other homes in set in rural areas typically have a gravel driveway. But what is involved with having a gravel driveway installed, is a gravel driveway a good idea?

What is the most low-maintenance driveway?

For any homeowner, low maintenance is important, especially when it comes to the driveway. The material, the traffic, the weather, and temperature fluctuations can affect durability and maintenance. Thankfully, there are several options available for a low-maintenance driveway:


Paving stones have an expected lifespan of 100 years when installed properly. It also makes a permeable driveway material and is an all-natural material, it is an eco-friendly driveway. 


Interlocking concrete grass pavers are installed and the small square holes fill with the grass or soil under the pavers, yet water can still pass through. This gives you an eco-friendly driveway that won’t flood in heavy rains. These can be expensive and is a time-consuming installation process. The one maintenance issue is keeping weeds pulled out. 


For the driveway material that has the lowest of all maintenance are plastic permeable pavers. The most eco-friendly of the three we have listed, these are made from 100% recycled plastic and have a longer lifespan than asphalt and concrete. 

Is a gravel driveway cheaper than concrete?

Absolutely!  A gravel driveway isn’t just budget-friendly, functional alternative to having an asphalt or concrete driveway. There are several factors that can affect the cost though including: 

  • The site conditions
  • The size
  • Any landscaping needed

These are important because a gravel driveway needs to have proper drainage that doesn’t allow the gravel to wash away. Occasionally a gravel driveway will need gravel added to fill in thin areas or areas that have sunken in or washed away. Removing ice and snow is difficult with a gravel driveway, but because it has better drainage, once the ice and snow melt, it flows on through. 

Who builds gravel driveways?

A gravel driveway is typically installed by a contractor that deals with rock, sand, stones, etc. You can find these with a Google search for “gravel driveway installation” and depending on where you live, the travel distance can affect the cost.

What gravel is best for driveways?

Depending on the area where you live will determine which type of rock or stone is best for your gravel driveway. Most driveway installers will use a blend of different sizes and types of stone with a different stone laid first as padding. 

The contractor you choose to work with will have recommendations, but they should be willing and able to work with what you have in mind as well. The common go-to is crushed stone, it is a durable material that is low-cost, which is why it is the popular go-to.  driveways and will probably be your best option. . If you’re making a gravel driveway for an area with tons of traffic, this is your old reliable. And it doesn’t look half bad, either.

In the Austin, Texas area, the common choice in gravel size is between one-fourth to one-inch size. They shouldn’t be too large or too small, too flat or too round, to ensure the best results. Fitting those specifics, rock contractors will recommend one of the following: 

  • 57 Granite
  • Crusher Run
  • Small Pea Gravel 
  • Alabama Path Stone

How do you prepare the ground for a gravel driveway?

A gravel driveway can be an attractive upgrade to your home’s curb appeal, but if the soil isn’t prepared properly, then it will wash away and lose that curb appeal.  The following are the steps that should be followed to install a gravel driveway:

  1. Stake out the path then clear all grass or topsoil from that area.
  2. Level the ground within the staked path.
  3. Add the base layer, spread, and compact the material. 
  4. Add the middle layer.
  5. Spread and shape the top surface of gravel.

What to put underneath driveway gravel?

A professionally installed gravel driveway will have landscape fabric laid down first, then the base layer, the middle layer, and then the top layer of gravel. This will help the gravel driveway withstand wear and tear to make it extremely stable. 

Can you have a gravel driveway on a slope?

Yes, with a stabilizer installed first to keep it in place, like locking pavers that are fitted into the ground that will keep the gravel trapped in place. The locking pavers will prevent the gravel from loosening and spreading out, even with heavy vehicle traffic.

A Gravel Driveway

Closing Statement

Anything to do with your home that cost, including a gravel driveway, the first question is, “How much does a truck full of driveway gravel cost?”. There isn’t any way to predetermine pricing because of so many variables. Those variables include: 

  • The length and width of the driveway
  • The amount of gravel you choose 
  • The type of rock, sand, stone used
  • The distance the contractor has to travel to get the materials

Learn more about the benefits of a gravel driveway in Austin, TX by calling 512-646-6069.

What is Hot Rubber Crack Repair?

close-up of a crack in asphalt pavement

Repairing Your Pavement

Here in Texas, during the summer, it gets really hot, almost unbearable. They say you can fry an egg on the sidewalk. In fact, it has been done! Sidewalks aren’t the only thing that gets that hot. Asphalt driveways, parking lots, and roads get so hot, that they crack. The best method to repair these surfaces is a hot rubber crack repair

What is hot crack filler?

Hot crack filler is a rubbery substance that is heated up to 400º with a melter. It is then applied to cracks in asphalt with specific equipment for crack and seals the crack to keep it waterproof. It is ready for traffic in under an hour. This is used for public parking lots and roadways where there is significant traffic.

There is also a cold crack filler, recommended for DIY asphalt repairs. It doesn’t require the special equipment that a hot rubber crack repair material does but takes longer to cure.

When do you need hot rubber crack Repair?

As much as we love and need water, it is the enemy when it comes to asphalt. Water and asphalt do not work well together. Some examples of what happens when water infiltrates an asphalt service: 

  • Asphalt cracks filled with water cause the foundation to erode
  • When the water inside the asphalt cracks freezes and thaws, potholes are formed
  • When asphalt cracks, as they get larger, they collect dirt and weeds grow

As soon as you see any cracks, repairing cracks in driveways, roadways, or parking lots, should be done sooner than later with cold or hot rubber crack repair. From a small crack, they grow and potholes form. Neglected too long, you’ll need to replace the surface with all new asphalt. 

How do you repair large cracks in asphalt driveway?

Unfortunately, the hot rubber crack repair process requires specific equipment that not every homeowner will have on hand. The cold rubber crack repair is a simple process for a DIY homeowner. The product is available at your local hardware store, and it takes only a few basic tools. 

The Preparation

The preparation is important and must be done prior to starting the repair job. If the surface isn’t clean and smooth, the patching material won’t adhere, and you’ll find you need to repeat the repair process or replace the asphalt surface completely. To prep the area, use the following steps: 

  • Using a chisel and hammer, remove any broken asphalt that is obstructing the crack.
  • Next, use a wire brush and remove all the debris and dirt from the crack.
  • Using a compressed air gun or a dry/wet shop vac, make sure the crack is completely clean of any loose debris and smaller pieces of asphalt. 

The Filling Repair

With the crack thoroughly cleaned, it is time to fill cracks up to half-inch deep. If the crack is deeper than two inches pour crushed, small gravel up to the crack is 2” deep. Then follow these steps: 

  • With a steel tamper, compact the gravel down into the crack. 
  • Take the cold asphalt compound and fill the crack.
  • Compact the compound with a tamper or a 4×4 wooden post.
  • Tamp the compound down and if needed, add more, and repeat the process. 

Note: It will take 24 to 48 hours for the blacktop fill to thoroughly dry, and a few weeks to completely cure. Do not apply any sealer for 3 to 4 weeks to allow air to escape from the filler, which helps it to harden. When you have this type of work done by a professional, they will use hot rubber crack repair material and the dry time is less than an hour and completely cured within a day or two.

Can all cracks be repaired with hot rubber?

No, repairing cracks in parking lots, driveways, or roadways with cracks smaller than 1/8 inches wide will not take an effective seal with a hot rubber crack repair process. The better solution is to have the entire area should be sealed with one of the following: 

  • Fog seal
  • Chip seal
  • Slurry seal
  • Sand seal

They should be applied to a surface with a fluid flow so that all hairline cracks are filled. 

What surfaces can be repaired with hot rubber?

A hot rubber crack repair material is used only on an asphalt surface. The chemicals and substances work together to seal the crack and make it waterproofed. 

long crack in asphalt leading to a curb

In Closing 

It is important to know that hot rubber crack repairs should only be done in dry, warm weather. And checking the forecast for the next 24 to 48 hours is recommended, you don’t want it to rain after applying the hot rubber crack repair compound. 

Never neglect a cracking asphalt surface for too long, Staying on top of the condition is will give you a longer lifespan before needing to have a total new surface.

How to Install a Driveway

workers installing an asphalt driveway

Getting a New Driveway

Choosing a driveway installation is something that should be given some serious consideration. As the roof and siding are a statement to your home, so is the driveway. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any driveway currently, or you’re upgrading your property with a new driveway, it is a value-add to your property. So, you should choose the one that will add the most value and give you the longest lifespan. 

What should I look for in a new driveway?

There are significant differences between the various driveway surfaces. You should consider the one that fits your budget, your home’s exterior architecture, and the driveway installation material that will provide the safest solution in various weather conditions. 

  • Asphalt Driveway Installation: The best option that will provide your property with the best level of protection, aesthetics, safety, and lifespan benefits. An asphalt driveway installation will need to be done by a professional contractor and it will require maintenance every 2 to 3 years for patching and seal coating. For cold climates with a lot of snow, an asphalt driveway installation will provide traction and is easy to clear with a snowplow. 
  • Concrete Driveway Installation: This is one of the most durable driveway installation options, providing a surface that is hard and stable. It is more expensive to install, using a professional contractor and is prone to crack during winter with freeze and thaw cycles. If repairs aren’t kept up, it can affect the curb appeal and property value. But can driveway cracks be repaired? Yes, the very fine type of cracks that come from the concrete not drying thoroughly can be repaired using a resurfacing product and is a simple DIY project. Cracks up to ¼” wide should be filled with a flexible sealant and then patched. 
  • Gravel Driveway Installation: This is the cheapest driveway installation surface choice that offers durability. In the long run, it will never need to be resurfaced, provides a level of safety, and is a budget-friendly choice. Not ideal for areas where there is a lot of snow in the winter. 
  • Paver Driveway Installation: A durable driveway installation option but is expensive upfront and with follow-up maintenance. The aesthetics are ideal for high-end homes with gate entrances.  is the use of paver stones. Not recommended for areas with a lot of snow in the winters because it is difficult to plow and unsafe. Requires effective drainage and waterproofing. 

What type of driveway lasts the longest?

A concrete driveway installation will give you up to 40 years of use when it is installed professionally with routine maintenance and upkeep.  An asphalt driveway installation is the next longest lasting driveway with up to 30 years lifespan. 

Which is the easiest driveway to install? 

In previous years, we would have said gravel driveway installation is the easiest to install, and it still is easy. This inexpensive and versatile material provides a rustic curb appeal and when grass patches are added, it is a welcoming drive for any home. 

However, the new “in” driveway installation material is rubber. Less expensive than asphalt or concrete, easier to install, and just as durable. A small surface makes it safer for households with small children and comes in a range of colors that can be mixed and matched to customize the look. 

Is concrete or asphalt better for a driveway?

When concerned about the durability of a drive, between an asphalt driveway installation versus a concrete driveway installation, concrete is the better choice. With proper upkeep, a concrete driveway will last 50 years or longer, providing a sturdy surface, Occasional degreasing, and possible repairs within those 50 years. 

At The End of The Driveway – More Questions

How do you know when to replace a driveway? 

You can expect to get a minimum of 15 to 20 years from any driveway installation material if you keep the maintenance and upkeep on schedule. To make the decision if it is time for a new driveway installation, as yourself the following: 

1. Are there cracks and holes, and how big are they? – Small cracks and holes that are under 1/4” wide are considered minor in the driveway industry and can be patched easily. Any cracks bigger than ¼” should have flexible filler before patching, but the cracks will surface again fair quick, so a new driveway installation may be the better option. 

2. The age of your current driveway – It has been more than 25 years since your last driveway installation, it is time for a new one. 

3. How does your current driveway look? – This is important when placing your house on the market because this is the “welcome, come on in” curb appeal. If it looks old and worn, the house will old and worn. 

close-up of an asphalt driveway under construction

One Final Consideration

Let’s take a look at the three most common types of driveways and their upfront costs: 

Cost to install a concrete driveway: There are variables that can affect the cost of a concrete drive installation, like the length and if any excavation is needed. The cost can start at around $5,000 and reach up to $16,000 and more depending on a variety of factors.

Cost to install an asphalt driveway: The typical range for an asphalt driveway installation is between $3,900 and up to $7,500. 

Cost to install a gravel driveway: Again, the length of the driveway installation has a lot to do with the final cost for gravel too.  The average cost for a 16-foot x 38-foot driveway is $1,800. 

A big consideration for homeowners is the cost of any major type of work needed around the house, and a driveway installation is a major cost. This is another reason it’s important to do a lot of planning for driveway installation.

Is seal coating worth it?

worker compacting a layer of asphalt on a driveway

Do I really need seal coating?

As a homeowner, you want your home to have a beautiful and inviting curb appeal, and what can look better than having a new asphalt driveway installed? Having a new asphalt driveway installed is an expensive and rather large job. It isn’t something that you’re going to want to have to repeat again for a long time, if ever. So yes, it is worth the extra expense of seal coating.

What is the purpose of seal coating?

The purpose of seal coating driveways is for the protection and longevity of the driveway surface. A seal coating will fill in surface damage while giving the driveway a protective layer that keeps damaging UV rays, assorted vehicle fluids, and water. Here are some other facts that prove a seal coating is beneficial for a driveway: 

  1. Seal coating is a low cost compared to having a new driveway installed. When an asphalt driveway is properly maintained and seal coating applied, the repair costs over the long-term are minimized, even dissolved. 
  2. With the element exposures today, an asphalt driveway will fade, losing its appealing appearance. A fresh seal coating will enhance the appearance, making your asphalt driveway look new again. 
  3. Seal coating can be applied in one of two methods: spray or squeegee.
  4. Seal coating actually speeds up the process of melting ice and snow while it protects it from the water penetrating. 

How do you know when to seal asphalt? 

The general rule that seal coating contractors recommend is no longer than every three years and sooner if you notice the surface is looking faded or has begun to crack, has holes, or the individual stones are visible. 

When your asphalt driveway seal coating is done by an experienced contractor, they will give you a schedule they recommend for your next round of sealcoating and crack filling. This isn’t something you want to delay or overlook for too long when the rainy season or cold weather are on the way. However, you don’t want to let it go in the summer either, as the seal coating is an important protective layer against the sun’s UV rays too.        

Does seal coating really work?

If an asphalt driveway has severe damage, yes, seal coating would be a waste of money and time. The idea is to get the seal coating applied as soon as possible and then maintain it every three years to keep it from becoming severely damaged. At some point of damage, the best solution is to have the old driveway scraped up and removed, a new driveway installed, and then have seal coating applied. 

A key to seal coating working as intended is for the base of the asphalt driveway to have been designed and constructed properly, with a compact and sound installation of the appropriate amount and type of base material at the proper thickness. 

Can seal coating be done in the rain?

No, it must be a dry, preferably warm day when seal coating is applied. Choose a day when there isn’t any rain forecasted for the next 12 hours at a minimum. A light sprinkling usually won’t cause any damage. However, depending on the amount of rain, the damage to freshly installed seal coating could wash its effectiveness away. If there is a concern of rain on the way the day before, the day of, or the day after, reschedule your seal coating job. 

Is seal coating dangerous?

Yes – according to the United States Geological Survey, (USGS), seal coating an asphalt driveway is a serious health hazard. There are PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) that are known to be cancer-causing involved with asphalt seal coating. 

  • Seal Coating: Seal coating is done by spraying a coal-tar pitch emulsion on top of an existing asphalt surface and is primarily a cosmetic procedure; it doesn’t improve the asphalt’s integrity and needs to be reapplied within 3 years. 
  • Coal-Tar Pitch Seal Coating: There is an alternative offered by some asphalt contractors of coal-tar pitch seal coating. Most homeowners are not aware of the cancer-causing risks involved. This method can be done by homeowners with 5-gallon buckets available at their local home improvement stores.  
  • Asphalt-based Seal Coating: The central, eastern, and southern areas of the United States commonly use a coal-tar pitch seal coating. The western area of the country uses an asphalt-based seal coating because the manufacturing plants and the materials are easier accessible on the East coast. 
a layer of seal coating being applied to a driveway

In Conclusion 

The biggest question of all, well next to homeowner’s insurance questions, is how long does seal coating last? A professionally applied seal coating can last up to 3 years. If the original asphalt is older, the seal coating may need to be on an annual schedule. While this maintenance may be an issue that you don’t want, think of how beautiful the curb appeal to your home will be!  A new asphalt driveway is absolutely stunning and with the properly applied seal coating, an older asphalt driveway is just a beautiful and stunning. 

What is a tar and chip driveway?

installing a driveway

Learning about Tar and Chip

You’ve seen cement or concrete driveways, gravel driveways, probably even a bricked driveway. And you’ve probably seen a tar and chip driveway, you just may not have realized it. What is a tar and chip driveway?

A tar and chip driveway is made with an approximate 3/8” thick layer of hot liquid asphalt and crushed stone. The crushed stone is compacted while the asphalt is still pliable. This isn’t a DIY job and should only be installed by a professional that as the equipment and experience working with hot asphalt, which is around 300 degrees. 

Another name for tar and chip driveway is “Macadam”, named after the creator, John Loudon McAdam, a Scottish engineer. Originally the roads built in this manner were water-bound before the discovery that a tar-base was better. The tar version gave us the name, macadam, or tarmacadam. From that, it has evolved to ‘tarmac’ like at the airport. Runways today are engineered in a different process. 

So, what does a tar and chip driveway look like? Once the asphalt is poured and the gravel is dumped and spread, it look just like an asphalt driveway. Anyone that didn’t know how your driveway was installed probably won’t know the difference! 

How thick is a tar and chip driveway?

The thickness of the newly installed  tar and chip driveway should be a maximum of half an inch. It will wear down in approximately 10 years with moderate use, 7 with heavy use. Some homeowners are concerned that ½” thick isn’t going to be thick enough, but the thing to remember it is the gravel that is providing the protection and support. The asphalt is simply the holding material of the gravel. 

Is tar and chip good for a driveway?

Yes! A tar-andchip driveway provides superb traction because the aggregate, or gravel, is held in by the hot tar. This keeps the gravel from sticking tires so they can’t skid. A tar and chip driveway is a  multi-purpose solution for driveways that need repair too.  There are several other benefits to a tar and chip driveway: 

  • Aesthetically pleasing for any style of architecture.
  • They are less expensive to install than an asphalt driveway. 
  • They are durable.
  • They are a low-maintenance driveway that only require occasional gravel added. 
  • They have a rough surface that provides good traction.

Like any type of driveway material, a tar and chip driveway has a few downfalls too: 

  • Finding a tar and chip driveway experienced contractor can be challenging. 
  • Removing snow can be difficult, if not done carefully, it can damage the driveway surface. Easy repair is add more gravel. 

How long does tar and chip driveway last?

While a gravel driveway surface is cheaper than a tar and chip driveway, the tar and chip is a more durable and harder surface. A tar and chip driveway under normal use will last up to 10 years, perhaps longer. This is a downside when compared to a concrete driveway that has a lifespan of 40 years or longer. 

Can you seal coat tar and chip driveway?

You can, but there really isn’t any reason to. When it comes to various driveway materials, tar and chip driveways require the least amount of maintenance. As we stated earlier, removing snow can damage a tar and chip driveway, especially if you use a snowplow. 

Can you tar and chip a gravel driveway?

Yes, that is one of the positive sides of a tar and chip driveway, the process is  easy and simple. The contractor will check the existing gravel is in good condition then pour the hot asphalt over it, followed by new gravel. 

Okay, so how do you tar and chip your own driveway? Follow these 5 steps: 

  • Step 1: Select the gravel chips you want on the top. You can get this material in a variety of colors, and you’ll need approx. 2.5 tons  for every 100 square yards to be installed.
  • Step 2: Roll the bed where the tar and chip driveway will be installed. You want a compacted dirt roadbed for a thick layer of gravel poured along the road bed as a base. 
  • Step 3: Next, using an asphalt sprayer that s full of hot liquid asphalt, spray a layer of asphalt that is between 3/8 inch and 1/4-inch thick over the gravel base. This is usually around 50 gallons for a 100 square yards.
  • Step 4: Next, dump your gravel chips over the liquid asphalt and spread industrial rake, making a uniform thickness of one inch. If you can have a helper, they can spread the gravel while you dump. 
  • Step 5: Using an industrial roller machine, roll the gravel chips into the asphalt until it compacted. Wait 48 hours before using the tar and chip driveway.
asphalt driveway

A Few Last Words 

As we mentioned, it can be challenging finding an experienced contractor to install a tar and chip driveway. So, you may be wondering, “Can I tar and chip my own driveway?”, and the answer is … yes. If you have access to the right equipment and have knowledge how to use that equipment. Call 512-646-6069 today for your tar and chip driveway! 

When to Replace Your Driveway

workers installing an asphalt driveway

Having a Quality Driveway

In most cases, when you move into or build your home, a driveway installation is included. The driveway is taken for granted as it will always be there and be useable. That is, until the driveway is cracking, has potholes forming, and is looking bad. This leads to a big question. Do you wait until the driveway isn’t useable anymore or until it is impacting the curb appeal of your home to have it repaired or replaced?

How do you know when to install a driveway?  

Typically, a new asphalt driveway installation is recommended about every 20 years. For a concrete driveway installation, the recommendation is every 25 years. Repairing a driveway after about five years past these times is not recommended. If the driveway looks like it is sinking, has an excessive amount of wear and tear, or if other issues have left a driveway in bad condition, it is best to go forward with a new driveway installation instead. 

Is driveway sealing worth it?

You know that nothing will last forever, right?  That includes an asphalt driveway installation. Asphalt is made of rock or stone that is held together with a binder, aka asphalt cement. Through the refining process of crude oil, an adhesive is formed.

There are factors that age and damage an asphalt driveway installation like chemicals, rain, and UV rays. The asphalt binder gets brittle and begins to degrade, and before long, your asphalt driveway installation job is looking bad, which is degrading your home’s curb appeal. 

Maintenance and upkeep are important in keeping a driveway looking good and giving it a long lifespan, and that is where seal coating comes into the picture. But there are several other benefits to seal coating a driveway installation: 

  • Minimizes Repairs
  • Weatherizes
  • Limits Oxidation
  • Increases and Preserves the Beauty
  • Resists Destruction 

What driveway surface is best?

There are different opinions on which is better, a concrete driveway versus asphalt driveway installation, or you may even be interested in other materials like gravel or stone. As the homeowner, you have your own set of concerns for this investment so your opinion is likely to be different from that of your neighbor. Things to take into account include: 

  • Aesthetics
  • Durability
  • Longevity
  • Initial Cost
  • Maintenance Costs
  • Safety

Here we have composed a list of the four most common choices, listing some of their pros and cons: 

Asphalt Driveway Installation

This is the best option for property investment as it will provide aesthetics, a long life, and safety. An asphalt driveway installation will need to be done by a professional, and there is some maintenance required such as seal coating every two to three years. However, it is an affordable, solid, and stable option. 

In areas where the winters see ice and snow, an asphalt driveway offers traction and is easy to plow. If your driveway is curved or has a sloped design, it will require professional draining installation to re-direct storm water safely away from your home or other property structures. 

Concrete Driveway Installation

For a more durable option, this is the better choice. This option provides a surface that is hard and stable, but it must be installed by a professional, creating a high upfront expense. Maintenance and upkeep are required based on the weather conditions. For example, during winter weather, the freeze-thaw cycles can lead to cracking and potholes. The cracking and potholes will minimize the curb appeal and create an unsafe driveway. For this driveway installation to result in a durable and stable investment, be careful in selecting a professional contractor able to offer quality work. A poor installation will result in quick failure of the driveway. 

Gravel Driveway Installation

This is the cheapest driveway installation, making it ideal when your budget is a major determining factor. This is a durable driveway surface that won’t need resurfacing or sealing and it is still a safe surface. This is great for a DIY project once the material is delivered. It’s also highly weather-resistant, making it a good choice for areas where the weather can be harsh with heavy rains, ice, or snow, as the drainage is important to sustain the driveway’s integrity. 

Paver Driveway Installation

Paver stones make for a durable driveway installation option but can be expensive upfront. Meanwhile, maintaining the aesthetics and durability of this option can also be costly over time. Professional installation is needed, and it is not the best driveway surface where snow plowing is routine in the winter. 

A slippery surface when wet, this choice will need to be waterproofed and resealed with professional drainage installed. The aesthetic appeal is great as it is certainly an eye-catching choice, but for a large or long driveway, it is recommended to use other driveway materials for the purposes of budget. 

What is the cheapest driveway to install?

The cheapest driveway installation material is gravel made from a loose rock or stone material. A gravel material is larger than sand granules but smaller than cobblestones. A gravel driveway installation is a mixture of clay, rocks, and sand, providing a compacted surface. A driveway installation with coarse gravel will allow the water to flow freely whereas other types of gravel will shed water. Other options for a gravel driveway include: 

  • Crushed shells
  • Crusher run
  • Crushed concrete
  • Recycled asphalt
  • Slate chips

How do you install a driveway?

The first step will require tearing out and removing the old driveway. Your contractor will examine the base under that and either remove some of the material or add more depending on what they find. 

An eight-inch layer of base is recommended over clay soil or four inches over well-drained sandy soil. Then, using a heavy roller, the contractor will compact the base and a subbase before installing the asphalt.

The asphalt will be applied in two-to-three-inch thicknesses depending on the base and subbase, then rolled over with heavy compacting equipment as needed. The edges are raked to form a 45-degree angle and then packed down with a hand tamper.

close-up of a driveway being installed

In Closing – Keep Your Investment Looking Good! 

Now that you have invested in your new drive, you’re probably asking, “How can I make my driveway look nice?” The key is maintenance. If you go with a concrete driveway installation, have it power washed every two to three years to keep it looking good. Other things you can do that will make for an attractive driveway are: 

  • Keeping repairs done including replacing broken bricks, pavers, and filling in any cracks
  • Adding a border, whether it is bricks, rock, or landscaping
  • Choosing a stain for a concrete driveway installation
  • If your driveway is long enough, adding a gate
  • If your mailbox is at the curb, installation of a designer mailbox
  • Adding lighting along the edges of the driveway

As you can see, there are many ways to make your driveway look great. And if you are ever in need of help building a durable, attractive driveway, simply reach out to our team. 

What is asphalt driveway resurfacing?

Driveway covered in cracks and potholes.

The Importance of an Attractive Driveway

An asphalt driveway can make a home’s appearance look elegant and welcoming. When it is buckling, cracked, and has potholes, it can make the overall appearance look bad too. Choosing sealing and asphalt resurfacing in Austin, TX  can fix those things and give your home a makeover!

What is the difference between resurfacing vs sealcoating?

Asphalt is an inexpensive and durable material, ideal for driveways made from cement or concrete. It can create an extremely attractive presence and it can also look like a warzone where there are cracks and potholes. Fortunately, there are ways to fix these issues at a few different levels, with asphalt resurfacing and sealcoating. 

  • Asphalt resurfacing, sometimes referred to as overlaying, is when your asphalt driveway is completely ripped up two to three inches deep and new asphalt is installed. In essence, you’re getting a new driveway where the old drive was located. This is a cost effective measure that can only be done where the original driveway was installed correctly.
  • Sealcoating is a liquid mixture that the contractor spreads over the entire driveway, which hardens into a thin layer. You’re left with this amazing dark and rich black driveway that now has durable protection. 

When it comes to asphalt sealing vs resurfacing, is one better than the other, or are they even the same thing? Sealcoating your asphalt driveway offers a layer of protection from rain, UV rays, auto fluids, and more. Resurfacing is like getting a new driveway. If you have a new asphalt driveway installed, you don’t need to get it seal coated, but why wouldn’t you? 

How much does driveway resurfacing cost?

Asphalt resurfacing a 600 square foot driveway will typically cost between $1,800 and $4,200. The cost factor isn’t just for the square footage of the driveway, but for repairs that are needed before the asphalt resurfacing is done. Regardless, this is much less expensive than having a completely new driveway installed and will look just as good. 

For a driveway that is between 5 and 15 years old without any potholes, the asphalt resurfacing process is the right step to take, though keep in mind it requires physical labor and specialized equipment. You want to make sure you check any contractor’s insurance and licensing, asking for recent references and pictures of the work done. 

Can you put new asphalt over old asphalt?

If your current driveway is old and worn out or maybe you’re getting your home ready to sell and want to freshen up the appearance, a driveway is a great way to accomplish these things. So, are you able to have new asphalt put on top of the existing old asphalt? Yes, and it will be an easier option that will still give your home a refreshed appearance and add years to the lifespan of the driveway, up to 15 years! 

How do you resurface old asphalt?

For homes where the weather exhibits a lot of freezing and thawing or an abundance of snow, asphalt driveways are popular, and because of that weather, asphalt resurfacing is common. The aggregate mixture of bitumen, gravel, sand, and stone is used in the construction industry as well as for paving parking lots, roads, walkways, as well as driveways. 

It is best left to experienced contractors that have the equipment and know-how to resurface asphalt, but if you want to try this on your own, the following steps will lead you through an asphalt resurfacing:

  • Cleaning the Driveway

All the algae, debris, dirt, and weeds need to be 100% removed before the asphalt resurfacing can be done. Using a garden hoe, hose and shovel will help you loosen any debris in cracks, then a broom to sweep it clean, followed by a leaf blower.

Next, using a cleaning solution made for driveway cleaning, spread with a push broom, and allow it to sit for a few minutes. (Follow the label’s directions). Then, with the broom, scrub any remaining dirt off the driveway and rinse clean with a pressure washer or garden hose. The driveway needs to be 100% dry before you begin the asphalt resurfacing, so allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. 

  • Make Repairs

Now fill the cracks with fillers, smoothing with a putty knife. Then fill potholes with patching material and smooth it over with a trowel. Tamper the patches to flatten then wash away any oil spots with a degreaser and apply a primer.

  • Resurface

Mix your asphalt resurfacing material with a 3” wide paintbrush, applying the resurfacing material along all the edges. Next, pour the asphalt resurfacing material in a line across the driveway and spread evenly with a driveway brush. Keep moving back and forth in a continuous pattern. 

Preparing asphalt for resurfacing is essential for the asphalt resurfacing to hold in place and look good. This is not the place to take shortcuts. 

Black asphalt driveway in front of a brick house.

In Closing 

Whether you do your own asphalt resurfacing, or have it done by a professional contract, how long does asphalt resurfacing last? If done properly, including the cleaning of the surface and then the patching and repairs, asphalt resurfacing should last a minimum of eight years and can often last as long as fifteen years. If you could use some help with asphalt resurfacing in Austin, TX, reach out to the ATX Asphalt Paving team by calling 512-646-6069.

Can You Have a Gravel Driveway on a Slope?

gravel driveway installation

Are gravel driveways a good idea?

If your home is out in a rural area, you may not have a driveway or your current driveway may be washing away, disappearing. If you have a gravel driveway, that isn’t uncommon, but that doesn’t mean that a gravel driveway is a bad idea. 

Maybe not always in every situations, but a gravel driveway can add charm to a home, even in the city. Depending on the location of your home, or business, whether you choose gravel driveway or asphalt for the drive should fit the landscape and architectural style of the home or structure. It may or may not need to blend in with the neighborhood, and you’ll need to check with building codes and POA restrictions. 

To have a good gravel driveway, there are things to be considered in addition to building codes and POA restrictions. A gravel driveway construction is more than just having a dump truck bring a load of gravel. Like what gravel for driveway.  What is the recommended rock for a good gravel driveway? 

A gravel driveway is usually thought to be a budget, low-cost way to have a driveway. However, they can be stylish and trendsetting when installed and maintained correctly.  Yes, a gravel driveway could have vulnerabilities with potential downsides over time, but not all of them are. The quality of the rock you choose, the gravel driveway build up process, and the quality work of the contractor that installs your gravel driveway will make a difference. 

Before the gravel you see, there is a base installed that keeps the gravel stabilized. There are few choices in the material used for a bottom layer. The choices of what to put under gravel driveway are: 

  • A clean stone referred to as “ base gravel #3”. The contractor will install a 4 inch thick layer with 2” diameter stones. This helps with the driveway draining. 
  • Another base layer option for a gravel driveway is “item #4” which is comprised of dirt, sand, and golf ball-sized stone. There is a recycled version of this type of rock which will consist of blacktop, brick, concrete, recycled stones, and rock. 

Other options in gravel driveway base materials are: 

  • Quarry item # 4, which is a crushed limestone material. 
  • Gray item # 4,  which is dark grey
  • Crushed bluestone item #4, common for municipal driveways

Then a middle layer is installed with golf ball size stones, #57 stone or more commonly known as crushed gravel. This material aids in your gravel driveway draining. Now, let’s talk about the options in surface driveway gravel. The following are going to have rock dust combined that will help create a solid-like surface for driving on: 


 This is the same as the crushed up #57 stone but is combined with rock dust and can handle moderate amounts of traffic from heavy vehicles. 


Industry name for this is “crusher run” and is excellent for surface material of driveways and walkways with the stone dust and crushed stone. The stone dust settles and compacts, creating a semisolid smooth surface. This should be installed so that it slopes off the sides for drainage. 


The most popular topping for gravel driveways is pea gravel. The small round stones make for great aesthetics and with the different colors, you can match it to your home’s exterior. It easily migrates and spreads though when drove on much, so a good base for stabilization is needed. 


A mixture of brownstones, gold, tan, white, and yellow gives this a sandy appearance and is similar to pea gravel, requires good stabilizing base and borders. 


Marble chips is the more expensive material for a gravel driveway with the sparkling white rock. A firm stabilizing base and bordering is a must to keep the aesthetic appeal that it offers. 


Also referred to as Blackstar rock, this dark gray gravel is extremely attractive and makes an excellent choice with the angular shape that locks together. Combine this with a stabilizing grid paving system, and you have a beautiful and durable gravel driveway. 

gravel installation

Can you seal a gravel driveway?

If you currently have a gravel driveway and want it sealed, this will require paving over it with a hot-asphalt seal-coating. This will need to be done by an experienced contractor. It is not a weekend DIY project. 

So, why use gravel for driveway?  There are several benefits to having a gravel driveway, so if you’re wondering is gravel driveway good idea, yes, in certain settings. A gravel can be great for a tight budget, especially if you have a long driveway. Compared to having plain rocks installed, gravel will compact better for the long run. 

A gravel driveway is porous, so it will drain easier and faster than other materials, and there isn’t much maintenance once it is installed. You’ll have a longer lifespan and even better, you can do this yourself! Just have the gravel delivered after you have the base in place and spread it yourself. Call 512-646-6069 today for gravel driveway installation in Austin, TX.

Can you put cold patch on top of asphalt?

patched road

How do you fix a hole in asphalt?

The roadways today seem to be getting worse with each passing day here in Texas and around the country. The cracks and potholes are endless it seems, and there really isn’t much we can do as citizens except drive carefully. City, County, State road crews have endless asphalt patching and repairs to do, but with the budget they have, they may never get caught up 100%.

When it comes to parking lots, private roads, and private driveways though, we are in charges of our asphalt patching and repairs. First though, you should understand what type of surface you can do asphalt patching on, and how. If it isn’t done correctly, it won’t stick, then you could end up with a bigger problem than you had.

Filling and repairing potholes as soon as they have started is important. If they aren’t, the holes get bigger, causing widespread pavement failure. This leads to damaged vehicles which can lead to lawsuits and insurance claims for the property owner. Asphalt patching and repairs can be done with either of the following two methods:

Cold-Patch Asphalt Patching

There are asphalt patching products on the market for cold-patch, that is affordable, easy, and best of all, durable and long lasting:

Step One – Clean the pothole out, removing debris and any big loose rocks.

Step Two – Pour the cold-patch material into the hole, half inch over the pothole surface, then spread and compact.

Step Three – Compact the cold-patch material with a tamper or you can drive back/forth over it to compact and level the asphalt patching material.

Water Activation Cold-Patch Asphalt Patching

Today, there is a water-activated pothole asphalt patching cold-patch technology. IT sets quickly to create a permanent pothole asphalt patching repair.

Step One  – Clean the pothole out, removing debris and any big loose rocks.

Step Two – Pour the cold-patch asphalt patching material in the pothole up to half an inch above the surface.

Step Three  – Spread a generous amount of water over the patch and allow it to penetrate into and soak the asphalt patching material. Water is what activates the curing mechanism within the cold-patch material.

Step Four– Compact the cold-patch material with a tamper or you can drive back/forth over it to compact and level the asphalt patching material.

What do you put under asphalt patches?

  • Add crushed, angular stone to the pothole, no less than 1-1/2 inch, but not more than 2 inches. With a steel tamping plate or any other heavy tool, pack the stone base.
  • Apply the asphalt patching material you’ve chosen, following the above steps and manufacturers instructions, leaving it at three-eighths of an inch above the surrounding area. Using a straight edge, check for an even surface, leveling out any high or low spots.
  • Do not cover the asphalt patching with an asphalt sealer. The patched area need air for curing. Between the asphalt patching and sealing, wait 30 days.

Even with expansive number of potholes and puddles, check if asphalt patching and repairs is possible before getting a new driveway, parking lot, or private roadway. An asphalt topcoat costs approximately one-third of a complete driveway redo. Almost any size crack can be done by patching asphalt with cement with the following steps:

  1. Clean debris and growths from the small cracks and holes .
  2. Hose the cracks and holes down and spray with weed killer.
  3. Use an asphalt patching product for crack of 3/8” or smaller and for cracks and holes larger then 3/8” use a concrete or vinyl concrete patching product. A quickset concrete product will work too.
  4. For deep cracks and large holes, fill with gravel up to 4 inches from the surface then fill with concrete.
  5. Tamp the concrete filled cracks and holes using a magnesium float and the finish up with a flat trowel to match the existing area level.
  6. After the asphalt patching is completed with the concrete, use a specialty cleaner to remove any spots then apply a sealant.

 How much does it cost to patch asphalt?

A professional asphalt patching and repair job can average anywhere from $900 and as high as $3,700, based on the size of the area to be patched and repaired.

What is the difference between asphalt and blacktop?

In general terms, asphalt refers to highways and public roadways and blacktop is referring to driveways and residential roads. While the terms are interchangeable, and blacktop is a form of asphalt, they are different.

  • Asphalt has two main ingredient, bitumen, and crushed stone. The bitumen is a black, or sticky material made from petroleum distillation that holds the crushed stones together.
  • Blacktop is made with the same ingredients, but a higher amount of stone. For it to be applied, it must be heated up to 300 degrees.

After being heated, both asphalt and blacktop are pre-mixed then poured into the area needed. Asphalt provides a smooth quiet surface, making it popular in neighborhoods. Asphalt is ready to drive on in 2 days while blacktop must cure for 4 to 5 days depending on the heat.

blacktop in need of patching

Can blacktop be patched?

Yes, with a specifically formulated product, Sakrete All-Weather Blacktop Patch, permanent repairs of cracks, potholes, and other defects are possible with this ready-to-use product. Follow the instructions on the packaging for best results and this environmentally friendly product will have the roadway ready for use in short time.

You can’t do much about the public highways and roadways, but your private drive and roads you can.  As soon as you notice cracks and holes, immediate asphalt patching and repair is needed so that you aren’t facing bigger problems. If you aren’t able to do the patching and repairing yourself, call for professional service, getting 2 or 3 quotes. Need help with your asphalt patching in Austin, TX? Call 512-646-6069 today.

Can you put new asphalt over old asphalt?

asphalt road

Is blacktop the same as asphalt?

Asphalt is used for more than just parking lots and roadways. There are homes with asphalt driveways, and depending on the architectural style of the home, it lends to the elegance. Until there are cracks and potholes in the driveway, then asphalt resurfacing is needed to maintain that look of elegance. 

Asphalt resurfacing and sealing can make an asphalt driveway look new again, extend its life, and improve the home’s curb appeal. What is resurfacing asphalt? Asphalt resurfacing is the process of replacing the top layer of an existing asphalt surface with a fresh layer of asphalt. The asphalt resurfacing process can extend the life of a driveway for up to another fifteen years in the right environment. 

Yes and no.  Asphalt and blacktop are made from the same two ingredients: bitumen and crushed stone. Where they differ is how those two ingredients are blended. 

  • A construction drum is used to mix asphalt, keeping it at a minimum temperature of 250 degrees. This keeps the asphalt pliable enough for pouring yet keeping it durable and strong. 
  • The ratio used for blacktop is different and at a higher temperature than asphalt, usually at a minimum of 300 degrees. There is more crushed stone than bitumen, giving blacktop that sparkle.  The hotter temperature and extra crushed stone gives blacktop a longer lifespan. 

After a harsh season of weather, both surfaces are simply resealed to renew their appearance. Blacktop is better for pathways, parking lots, playgrounds, and driveways or residential roads where the traffic is light. Asphalt is recommended for major roadways where traffic is steady and heavy. 

How often should an asphalt driveway be resurfaced?

The frequency of asphalt resurfacing isn’t as important as the sealcoating. Sealcoating is more important than other maintenance efforts like asphalt resurfacing because it protects the asphalt. With a proper sealcoating, the asphalt doesn’t degrade as quickly, is protected from the weather, and extends the lifespan. 

Without sealer, the asphalt resurfacing could be needed every 5 to 6 years at the cost of thousands of dollars each time. With sealcoating and a good maintenance regime, your asphalt driveway can give you as many as 25 years. 

How thick should an asphalt overlay be?

For minor surface issues, asphalt resurfacing is sometimes the better option, and there are a few advantages to asphalt resurfacing compared other maintenance treatments. 

  • Seals shallow fatigue cracks.
  • Adds strength to the existing surface.
  • Provides support for bigger loads and have minimal chance of stress failure.
  • Restores proper slope.
  • Improve the smoothness.

However, proper, and thorough preparing asphalt for resurfacing is needed for the results to meet expectations. An existing surface with deep cracks and ruts, wheel paths, and underlying base problems like deformation or moisture, asphalt resurfacing won’t suffice without proper repairs done first. 

How long does an asphalt overlay last?

Asphalt resurfacing is a significant part of asphalt driveways today. It requires the existing surface to be clean, level, and structurally intact so that the asphalt can bond. With an asphalt overlay, the customer must expect that it likely won’t last as long as a full replacement of asphalt, getting a maximum of 15 years instead of 20 years. 

The existing driveway’s elevation is a strong factor in the lifespan of a asphalt resurfacing job. Proper drainage will be key to the longevity of the asphalt resurfacing, so a minimum of one and half inches is recommended. If there is any existing cracking in the driveway, it will likely come through the asphalt resurfacing over time, and that time frame will vary based on the soil surrounding the driveway. 

aphalt built up over time

Can old asphalt be reused?

Absolutely!  The RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement) market is busting and when you look at the original service life, it makes sense. Even old asphalt pavement is still of value when you consider that there are more than two million miles of paved roads in this country. Of that, over 90 percent are surfaced with asphalt. Recycling and reusing that old asphalt is a priority and because contractors and states now recognize RAP as an economical and environmental plus, it is used more extensively today. 

Why choose an asphalt driveway over your current gravel driveway? Installing an asphalt driveway on your property has four significant benefits: 

  • Asphalt Is Cheaper 
  • Asphalt Repairs are Easier
  • Asphalt Has a Smooth Appearance
  • Asphalt Is Installed Faster
  • Asphalt Cures As It Is Installed 
  • Asphalt Is Easier To Recycle

When you compare these advantages, it is easy to see why asphalt is the better choice over a concrete driveway. Especially when you consider that concrete will take days to install and then has to cure for a week or more before using it. Call 512-646-6069 today for your asphalt resurfacing needs in Austin, TX.