How Much Does a Gravel Driveway Cost?

by Team HomeServe
A house sits on a parcel of land with a green front lawn and surrounded by trees at the end of a gravel driveway

Gravel is frequently used in place of concrete or asphalt in rural and outer suburban areas where driveways are long and wide. This is because the cost is typically much lower per square foot.

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Gravel is also easier to install and maintain than concrete, and it allows water to permeate into the soil beneath the gravel, which can prevent pooling and flooding. This also helps to reduce water and ice buildup during the winter.

What's the Average Cost of a Gravel Driveway?

The cost varies by the dimensions of the driveway. A short gravel driveway might only cost a few hundred dollars to install, but a large country estate driveway could run as high as $60,000 (CAD 75,000) or more.

The cost estimate here is based on installing a suburban-style 16-foot by 38-foot gravel driveway. The cost for this size driveway runs about $1,500 (CAD 1,900), according to data from Bob Vila. The average costs nationwide are about $1.25 to $1.80 (CAD 1.55 to CAD 2.25) per square foot for a standard driveway using regular gravel. However, there are factors that can raise or lower these costs.

Gravel Driveway Installation: Cost Factors

Lots of different moving parts can impact the total cost of a gravel driveway, including type of gravel used, labor, landscaping, drainage, permits, fees and the type of equipment used. Knowing what aspects of the project bump up the price can help you budget for your project.

Gravel Types

  • Base Gravel: There are two common types of base gravel used. They are referred to by numbers. Base gravel #3 is a clean stone. Its size is 1 to 2 inches with irregular edges. Cost is between $15 and $25 (CAD 19 and CAD 31) per ton. Gravel base #4 is the same as #3, but it is mixed with dirt and sand (and sometimes different recycled materials like asphalt and bluestone). Cost is $12 to $22 (CAD 15 and CAD 28) per ton.
  • Rock Pebbles: Also known as river rock, these pebbles are smooth and have different colors. This type of gravel promotes drainage and it doesn’t get slippery when wet. The price is about $1.50 (CAD 1.90) per square foot.
  • Crushed Granite: This is often used as the top layer on gravel driveways. It’s made of finely crushed granite mixed with stone dust. This allows it to settle between the larger stones to create a smoother driveway surface and costs about $25 to $50 (CAD 31 to CAD 63) per ton.
  • Pea Gravel: The various-colored smooth stones are pea-sized and are great allowing water to drain from the surface of the driveway. Costs for this type are between $100 and $180 (CAD 125 and CAD 225) per ton. One concern with this type of stone is that it travels and will have to be replaced every couple of years.
  • Crushed Stone and Limestone: These types of stone can be ordered by different sizes and styles. On average, you can expect to pay upward of $2 (CAD 2.50) per square foot. Crushed material can also cost $115 (CAD 145) per cubic yard and $145 (CAD 180) per ton, on average.
  • Crushed Shell: Clam shells can be used on gravel driveways. It costs about 60 cents (CAD 0.75) per square foot, depending on the type of clam shells used. You can also pay $40 (CAD 50) per cubic foot or $50 (CAD 63) per ton.
  • Caliche: This is made out of calcium carbonate and is found commonly in the southwestern desert areas. It’s almost as strong as limestone cement and goes for about 45 cents (CAD .056) per square foot, $25 (CAD 31) per cubic yard, or $32 (CAD 40) per ton.

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The rates for labor usually include the cost of tools being used. You can expect to pay upward of $30 (CAD 38) per hour per laborer.

Driveway Size

Driveway size is measured as length (multiplied by) width (multiplied by) depth. A minimum depth of 4 inches is recommended. The average price for a single-car driveway is roughly $360 to $900 (CAD 450 and CAD 1,130).

Drainage System

A drainage system might be necessary to move water away from the driveway. This can cost between $2,000 and $5,000 (CAD 2,500 and CAD 6,300).

Taxes and Permits

These usually total anywhere from $500 to $2,000 (CAD 630 to CAD 2,500), depending on where you live.

How Much Is a Yard of Gravel?

Gravel is measured in cubic yards. A cubic yard is measured 3 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet, and it covers about a 10-square-foot area. Depending on the type of stone used, a yard of gravel can cost anywhere from $10 to $75 (CAD 12.50 to CAD 94) for standard stones.

How Much Is a Ton of Gravel?

Gravel usually goes for $10 to $50 (CAD 12.50 to CAD 63) per ton. This will usually cover 50 square feet at a depth of 4 inches.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.