home with crushed concrete driveway

Pros And Cons Of A Crushed Concrete Driveway

A crushed concrete driveway is an excellent choice for homeowners who live in regions with extreme weather conditions or have long driveways that would be price prohibitive to pour traditional concrete or pave with asphalt.

But are they for you?

In this article, I look at the pros and cons of crushed concrete driveways and if they are a viable option for homeowners.

What is crushed concrete?

Crushed concrete is recycled concrete and other concrete aggregate or stone that was previously used in road construction or recently demolished buildings. Instead of throwing the material into a landfill as waste, large equipment called a crusher, crushes it into small pieces

It is then typically sold to construction and landscaping companies at a reduced price or lower cost than pure gravel alternatives.

Is crushed concrete good for driveways?

Because crushed concrete packs down well and provides a hard surface that can be walked or driven on, it makes an ideal base material for hardscapes, patios, driveways, and roads.

A crushed concrete driveway has a lot of benefits over asphalt and poured concrete. It also has some drawbacks.

Pros of crushed concrete driveways

  • Spreads and compacts easily – Crushed concrete can be spread like gravel and compacted to create a firm, hard surface. This makes it ideal for driveways.
  • Cost-effective – Using crushed concrete is very cost-effective. Its price is cheaper than gravel making it a great alternative to other materials like gravel and up to 1/2 the cost.
  • Weather-resistant – Crushed concrete holds up well in all types of weather. Freezing and thawing will not damage it compared to asphalt or poured concrete.
  • Great drainage – Because crushed concrete is porous, drainage is built in. If it rains, your driveway will dry fast because it is less likely to allow the water to puddle
  • Durability – Driveways hold up well to heavy equipment and vehicles. Especially when installed properly with solid base layers.
  • Easy to maintain – Crushed concrete driveways are easy to maintain. Should you need to give it a touch-up, you can simply add a thin layer of refined concrete aggregate over the top of the existing driveway, pack it down or drive over it with your vehicle, and it is as good as new.
  • Environmentally friendly – Recycled concrete allows us to reuse construction materials and prevents demolished material from making it to the landfill. Using recycled concrete from a crusher helps with the environment and at the same time benefits all of us with affordable material options vs compared to waste ending up in the landfill.

Cons of crushed concrete driveways

  • May not be allowed in some areas – Crushed concrete driveways are not allowed in many subdivisions and neighborhoods. Be sure to check local zoning regulations and/or any homeowner association rules before installing a crushed concrete driveway on your property.
  • Dust – Since the materials are made of recycled concrete, driveways can get dusty in the Summer, especially during times of dry weather.
  • Material color can vary – Crushed concrete contains whatever is being recycled together at the time it is recycled. This can include chunks of asphalt, soil, brick, and other construction materials. Usually, metal, rubber, and rebar are removed but some debris could make its way into the crusher and into some truck loads. If you want a consistent color, be sure to get a higher construction grade, especially if the consistency of color is important to you.

Installing a crushed concrete driveway

When crushed concrete driveways are installed, a 2″ or 3″ gravel or coarse aggregate is typically laid down over the soil to provide a strong base layer. This base helps ensure the driveway does not sink into the soil or get ruts in it when driven over by vehicles.

Once you have a great base for your driveway, crushed concrete is brought in by truck and applied over the top to fill in any cracks. This process is repeated layer by layer until the surface is smooth. Between each layer, heavy equipment is typically used to pack it down.

Where to buy crushed concrete?

In most cases, crushed concrete can be purchased the same place you buy gravel or other material. As mentioned earlier some crushed concrete, especially recycled concrete can have pieces of asphalt, brick, or other junk material in it that can change the appearance of the driveway. When possible see the material you will be using in advance in case you need to find an alternative.

Crushed concrete is still a good option, just be sure to ask any companies you talk to, about the quality of the material before it is installed.

How much crushed concrete do I need for my driveway?

Most driveways require a depth of 6-8 inches of aggregate. How much your project needs depends if you are putting in a brand new driveway or installing over an old one.

For new driveways, if you put down 3-4 inches of course, rock gravel first, you can then apply a top coat of 3-4 inches of crushed concrete to get a solid, base surface that will hold up to heavy equipment and vehicles.

If you use DOT Type 1 Recycled Sub Base crushed concrete as a base (a courser, sometimes dirtier blend of crushed concrete, you can use it as a base material if you are looking for a cheap alternative). Then topcoat it with a better, cleaner mix of crushed concrete, or even consider using gravel or rock chippings

For existing driveways, 1-3 inches may be enough.

How to estimate crushed concrete if sold by cubic yards:

To calculate how much crushed concrete you need for your driveway, you need to determine the length of your driveway, the width, and how deep you want to lay the material.

The number of Cubic Yards = Length (in feet) Width (in feet) Depth (in feet) ÷ 27.

For example, a 70′ driveway that is 12′ wide and needs a depth of 6 inches, your calculation would look like:

(70 x 12 x .5) / 27 = 15.5 cubic yards

How to estimate crushed concrete if sold by the ton:

First, calculate the cubic yards needed as shown above and then multiply the total by 1.35.

For example, using the above example if 15.5 cubic yards you would get:

15.5 x 1.35 = 20.9 tons (or round up to 21).

Note: 1.35 is a common estimation factor. Always call and check with your supplier to double-check your estimate.

What is the average cost of crushed concrete?

Crushed concrete is typically sold by the ton or by the yard.

When crushed concrete is charged by the ton, the cost can be anywhere from $7 to $17 per ton.

When sold by the yard, crushed concrete typically cost anywhere from $22 to $36. 

Does crushed concrete harden?

Yes, crushed concrete can become densely packed and harder. Not as hard as traditional concrete driveways, but it compacts down very tight which makes it a great choice for base layers and driveways.

Does crushed concrete drain well?

Yes, to a point, but low spots will puddle. When leveled properly, most water will drain off to the side and into the surrounding soil.