picture of stone drivewayThere is nothing more irritating than driving and walking on a muddy driveway. The inevitable potholes appear, filling with water each storm and increasing in size. Soon you are avoiding an obstacle course of  mud-holes. The sides of your tires are always dirty looking and you track dirt and mud on your shoes into the house. Sound familiar? Well, maybe your conditions aren’t that bad, but the gravel on your driveway has thinned out and it needs to be refreshed.

Stone driveways are the No.1 service requested. The beauty of a stone driveway is that is not an impervious surface, like asphalt or concrete, meaning it allows rain water to seep through and doesn’t cause rainwater runoffs. There are many types of stones that can be laid down – gray stone, round white stone, and maroon-colored pea stone, plus crushed clam shells. The choice is yours, but here is our take.

The gray stone, also called blue stone, is about 3/4 of an inch in size with flat surfaces. In a short time after applying, the gray stone begins to interlock and become a very solid surface. It still lets water soak through, but driving or walking on it is effortless. To us, it is the best choice by far. We have used it extensively at our Swainton home and you are welcome to come check it out.

Round white stone, also about 3/4 inch in size, let’s water through so well that it is the stone used in septic system drain fields. The drawback is that it never interlocks, even after 20 years. It always makes you feel like you’re trudging through soft beach sand when you walk on it. Another downside is the summer sun causes an annoying glare off the white surface. If gray stone gets an A grade, we give round white stone a C.

The maroon-colored pea stone, which might seem seem appealing at first glance, has major deficiencies. It’s small size allows the stone to get stuck in the treads of your car tires. Worse yet, you will track the coloring onto your shoes and into your car and house. We give it a D.

Crushed clam shell was once the only driveway material here at the shore. It was abundant and inexpensive. Those days are over. There are few suppliers nowadays. The big downside to using it is that the sharp edges can and will puncture a tire now and then, plus the white glare factor. That’s not worth it and we give it a D-.

Once a stone is picked, the process goes like this: The stone is normally delivered in 24-ton loads (about 36 bucket fulls on our skid steer). Our last load of gray stone cost about $600 delivered. We buy it directly from the Pennsylvania quarry, eliminating the extra cost of a middleman in NJ. We can get smaller loads, but a 12-ton load will almost cost the same because of the local handling charges. Anyway, when the load is dumped you write the dump truck driver a check for the stone and that’s done.

In the meantime, we have already prepped your driveway by eliminating holes and low spots with our skid steer (also called a Bobcat) and hand raking. If you desired, we also already installed 4×4 pressure-treated timber to define and contain your driveway. Now we use the skid steer to deliver and evenly spread the stone. Hand raking finishes the effort. Your driveway is ready to be driven and walked on.