Being a homeowner is an accomplishment to be proud of, but it also comes with a string of responsibilities. Along with financial concerns like property taxes and mortgage payments, there’s property maintenance to think about, which includes looking after the lawn and taking care of the driveway.
Lawn upkeep may seem self-explanatory, but why would you ever need to deal with your driveway? Well, maybe some holes or cracks have started to make it a sight sore on the street and it’s bringing your property value down, or maybe it’s a pain to drive over multiple times a day.
Whatever the reason is for needing to replace or repair your driveway, you can successfully knock out your DIY project by taking these steps and using either an asphalt or gravel calculator.
1) Decide to Use Gravel or Asphalt
The first step in taking on a DIY driveway repair job is deciding on whether to use gravel or asphalt for your driveway. Gravel is a product of small, loose rocks and stones. To be specific, this loose rock is in between two millimeters or around 1/12 an inch and 63 millimeters or 2.5 inches in size. Asphalt is a dark, tar-like substance made up of stone, sand, gravel, and a petroleum-based binder called bitumen. Here are the pros and cons of each:
Pros and Cons of Gravel:
- Lower cost
- Unique, attractive appearance
- Requires regular maintenance
- Can be more difficult to plow, rake, and generally keep clean
- Not as solid a surface during inclement weather
Pros and Cons of Asphalt:
- Durable (can withstand tough weather conditions)
- Known for its longevity
- Easy to maintain
- Quieter to drive over
- Can be more expensive than gravel
2) Measure Your Driveway
After reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of using gravel vs. asphalt, you can move on to the next step: measuring your driveway. You need to measure the length and width of the driveway area you’ll be working on in order to know how much gravel or asphalt is necessary to fill the space. If it isn’t easy to measure your driveway in one block, you can break up the measurements into small rectangular and circular sections.
3) Figure Out How Much Gravel or Asphalt You’ll Need
Once you have your driveway measurements, you may be wondering how you’re supposed to figure out how much gravel or asphalt you need. Easy! An online calculator can tell you in no time. Plug the width, length, and depth of your driveway into either a gravel calculator or an asphalt calculator, and it will tell you the volume and weight of the material you need.
If you happen to know the price per ton of the gravel or asphalt you’ll be using, you can add that in as well in order to get a cost calculation, too. That way, you’ll be a step ahead when it comes to budgeting for your DIY driveway repair project.
4) Buy the Tools for the Job
Along with the actual gravel or asphalt you’ll be using for your driveway, you need to gather up the rest of your tools for the repair work. For starters, a rake, shovel, leaf blower, and pressure washer will all come in handy for cleaning your work area of debris. It’s also not a bad idea to have a thick pair of gloves to protect your hands while you’re working. If you’re planning on using gravel, you can get a wheelbarrow to use to spread the rocks.
Additionally, you may want to visit your local home improvement store to ask what options they have available for renting any large tools necessary for working on your driveway, such as a mechanical compactor for gravel.
5) Follow a Step-by-Step Plan
With all your prep work in place, you’ve built a great foundation for the actual project. Now, all you need is a step-by-step plan to follow! As the famous writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, once said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Since an asphalt driveway requires a different set of steps than a gravel driveway, make sure you have a specific plan to refer to based on the material you’ve chosen for your project. For example, with a gravel driveway, you may need to first improve drainage before putting in new gravel. With a plan on how to use the gravel or asphalt for your driveway, your DIY project is in reach!
If your driveway is in need of repair, you can tackle the project on your own by first deciding if you want to use gravel or asphalt, and then using a gravel or asphalt calculator to determine how exactly how much material you need. Get ready to have a great-looking driveway made from your hard work!
Cindy is a freelance writer and editor with previous experience in marketing as well as book publishing. Along with her content writing for a diverse portfolio of clients, Cindy’s work has been featured in Thrillist, The Points Guy, Forbes, and more.