Since 1976

Types of Driveway Materials

Thinking about replacing your driveway or building one from scratch? There is probably a good chance you have not researched all types of driveway materials as there are many.

different driveway materials

Different Types of Driveway Material Options

First impressions are paramount for many homeowners and a beautiful driveway can make a positive lasting impression.

From asphalt to shell, we’ve got the pros and cons of seven popular types of driveway materials to help you make the right decision.


The majority of commercial and residential driveways in the country are finished with either asphalt or concrete.

Asphalt driveways are very popular in colder climates as the material is pliable and weathers freeze-thaw cycles well.

A significant benefit to asphalt is flexibility and durability. As driveways bear heavy loads, an asphalt driveway is less likely to crack than concrete.


  • Less expensive than concrete
  • Easy to repair
  • Sustainable as it can be recycled
  • Tolerates extreme weather including subzero temperatures and freeze/thaw cycles
  • Well-suited for sloped driveways
  • Can be stamped or colored
  • Quick installation
  • Smooth and seamless appearance


  • Requires regular maintenance and should be sealed every three to five years
  • Can become extremely hot during the summer months
  • Petroleum-based: Not environmentally friendly
  • Lifespan: Asphalt does not last as long as concrete
  • Can crack and distort without an adequate foundation


Concrete has long been a favored material for driveways and walkways.

Driveways made of concrete are expected to remain functional for more than 25 years. A classic concrete driveway is not only versatile and cost-effective, but it is also exceptionally strong and durable. While many homeowners consider the building material to be maintenance-free, keeping the driveway clean and sealed with a concrete sealer will help ensure its longevity.

Concrete typically comes with a choice of finishes and can be enhanced with color, texture, and other decorative treatments.


  • Relatively affordable
  • Exceedingly durable
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to maintain
  • Durable: Can last for decades with minimal maintenance
  • Versatile and customizable: Can be stamped or colored
  • Sustainable: Made of natural materials that can be recycled
  • Better load-bearing capacity


  • Susceptible to staining from oil and tires
  • May crack over time
  • Difficult to repair: Cracks usually require the removal and replacement of an entire area
  • Poured concrete is not well-suited for sloped driveways
  • Not suitable for salting in winter unless sealed
  • Prone to damage from freeze/thaw cycles in unsealed
pervious concrete driveway

Pervious Concrete

Pervious concrete pavement is an effective means of addressing environmental issues and supporting green construction.

The material goes by many names including porous concrete, porous pavement, and pervious concrete. Containing little to no sand, it allows water to run through its porous surface, minimalizing run-off issues commonly seen with asphalt and concrete driveways.

Pervious concrete is not ideal for high traffic driveways as it has a lower load-bearing capacity than conventional pavement.


  • Rustic, textured look and feel
  • Durability: Can last up to 20 years before showing cracks or potholes
  • Decreases water runoff
  • Promotes infiltration of runoff into the ground
  • Versatile and customizable: Comes in a wide variety of colors
  • Relatively low maintenance


  • Not ideal for high traffic areas
  • Lower load-bearing capacity


Gravel is the material of choice for rural driveways across the country for its low-cost and easy maintenance.

The term gravel refers to loose rock or stone that is larger than sand but is smaller than cobble. The gravel typically used for driveways is a processed product that consists of rocks, sand, and clay. A gravel driveway is usually far less expensive to install than other materials and can last for many decades.

Be sure to check with your local building department before installing a gravel driveway as some urban areas do not allow gravel on small lots. Gravel can be installed quickly and is available in many different colors for a customized look.


  • Cost-effective
  • Can last up to a century with proper care and maintenance
  • Extensive color, shape, and size options
  • Suitable for wintery conditions
  • Requires less infrastructure than concrete
  • Less vulnerable to freeze/thaw cycles


  • Not well suited for snowplowing or scrapping
  • Requires frequent, although easy, maintenance including regrading
  • Readily develop potholes, chips, and deep groves
  • Not suitable for sloping driveways
  • More challenging to remove debris and dirt


Brick provides classic beauty to a driveway that is unmatched by other materials. Their deep colors and varied patterns create a grand entrance and can complement nearly any style of home. However, installing a brick driveway can come with a big price tag.

Brick driveways are generally skid resistant and the abrasive service makes them a good paving option for wet or flood-prone areas.


  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Slip-resistant
  • Durability
  • Ability to be stained for a longer lifespan
  • Flexibility: Brick is able to maintain an interlocking form by adjusting to movements of the earth
  • Wide variety of colors, textures, and placement patterns
  • Exceedingly strong and durable
  • Minimal maintenance
  • Sustainability: Brick is made from natural clay, making it eco-friendly


  • Typically expensive
  • Bricks can shift if the subsurface is inadequate
  • Requires regular cleaning
  • Maintenance: Should be resealed twice annually
brick pavers driveway


Paver driveways are stronger, less slippery, and more durable than concrete and asphalt.

They have a superior load distribution compared to other materials and come with lower repair and maintenance costs.

But they do have their drawbacks. Paver driveways are typically more expensive and are more labor-intensive to install.


  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Slip-resistant
  • Exceedingly durable
  • Long-lasting
  • Reduced propensity to cracking
  • Easy to maintain
  • Durable: Can last for decades with minimal maintenance
  • Versatile and customizable: Can be stamped or colored
  • Sustainable: Made of natural materials that can be recycled
  • Better load-bearing capacity
  • Sustainable: Made of natural materials that can be recycled


  • Typically expensive
  • Pavers can shift if the subsurface is inadequate


Shell driveways are not only beautiful, but they are also functional and cost less to install than many other materials.

Typically a combination of clam, oyster, and scallop shells, shell driveways break into smaller pieces over time to create a uniform, stable surface that resists ruts and holes.

Shell complements many home styles and is very popular on the East Coast.


  • Cost-effective
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Low-maintenance
  • Environmentally friendly: sustainable and renewable
  • Provides adequate traction


  • Not durable over time
  • Shells can become damaged or washed away in areas with heavy wind or erosions issues
  • Breaks down over time

What is the Best Material for a Driveway?

Selecting the ideal material for your driveway is an essential decision, and we’re here to assist you in making an informed choice. Among the various options available, bricks emerge as a standout contender (surprise, surprise, given we’re a brick staining company writing this article), offering a range of compelling benefits:

  • Exceptional Durability: Bricks boast remarkable strength and resilience, ensuring that your driveway can withstand heavy loads and the test of time.
  • Timeless Appeal: With a classic and elegant appearance, brick driveways exude a timeless charm that enhances the overall aesthetic of your property.
  • Customization Possibilities: Bricks are available in diverse colors and patterns, enabling you to create a unique and personalized design that complements your home or business.

What is the Cheapest Material to Make a Driveway?

For those seeking budget-friendly options, we understand the importance of finding the right balance between affordability and quality. Here, gravel presents itself as a cost-effective solution with its distinctive attributes:

  • Economical Investment: Gravel driveways offer a cost-efficient installation, making them an appealing choice for homeowners and businesses on a budget.
  • Swift Installation: The relatively straightforward installation process for gravel driveways ensures minimal disruption, allowing you to enjoy your new driveway promptly.
  • Effective Drainage: Gravel’s permeable nature allows for proper water drainage, mitigating potential issues related to standing water during inclement weather.

What is the Most Durable Type of Driveway Material?

When durability is a top priority, concrete emerges as a strong contender (brick comes in a close 2nd place), delivering a range of advantages:

  • Unwavering Strength: Concrete driveways can endure substantial weight and traffic, making them a durable and long-lasting investment.
  • Weather Resistance: Concrete’s robust composition allows it to withstand extreme weather conditions, from freezing temperatures to scorching heat.
  • Low-Maintenance Appeal: Concrete driveways require minimal maintenance, reducing long-term costs and providing peace of mind to property owners.

What is the Cheapest Type of Driveway Material to Install? 

For those seeking a balance between cost and performance during installation, asphalt proves to be a viable option:

  • Affordability: Asphalt driveways are often more budget-friendly to install compared to concrete alternatives, making them a popular choice for many property owners.
  • Smooth Surface: The smooth finish of asphalt driveways ensures a comfortable driving experience, free of bumps and disruptions.
  • Efficient Installation: The straightforward installation process of asphalt driveways results in reduced downtime, allowing you to enjoy your new driveway without delay.

While you are mulling over the many different types of driveway materials, consider an upgrade to your home’s exterior.

BrickImaging has been the premier brick staining company in the nation since our founding in 1976.

Our exclusive Stayntech® brick stains provide a consistent finish that is permanent, looks entirely natural, and is maintenance-free. Available in 12 exclusive colors and four application options, our stains are formulated specifically for brick, block, stone, and mortar, and are guaranteed to never bubble, chip, or peel, like paint.

To learn more about our brick staining process, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the details of your latest home improvement project.



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