Here’s our guide to crushed limestone driveway pros and cons including its cost, size recommendations, and safety for you to decide if it’s the best material for your driveway.
Crushed limestone is an excellent driveway material for families who want to improve their property’s value without breaking the bank or tedious installation work. Limestone’s grayish-white color with dark specks can enhance any landscape while supporting a vehicle’s weight as it drives to the front door or carport.
While crushed limestone can improve a house’s aesthetics, there are also drawbacks that homeowners must understand. Learning the different crushed limestone driveway pros and cons will empower homeowners to decide if this material is best for them or not.
What Is Crushed Limestone Gravel?
A sedimentary rock, limestone mainly contains calcite or aragonite, which are forms of calcium carbonate. It can also contain sufficient amounts of dolomite or magnesium carbonate and trace amounts of iron carbonate, quartz, feldspar, clay, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and pyrite.
Farmers and growers add crushed limestone in their plots and gardens to improve soil nutrition and promote more robust plant growth. When crushed into tinier bits, limestone can also reduce soil acidity.
Larger chunks of crushed limestone are perfect for driveways because of limestone’s exceptional hardness and density. See the types of gravel here.
Crushed limestone forms the ballast or bed for railway tracks because of its strength under pressure. One can also see crushed limestone in tarmacked and concrete roads as base material.
Crushed Limestone Driveway Pros
Excellent Drainage: Homeowners will never worry about flooding on their driveways because crushed limestone driveways have spaces between individual rocks that facilitate more efficient water drainage. The water seeps naturally into the ground.
Easy Installation: Constructing a crushed limestone driveway is as easy as dumping the rocks into a pre-defined space, distributing them evenly, and compressing them to produce a dense and sturdy surface. On the other hand, asphalt or concrete driveways require more work.
Durable: Limestone is a dense and hard sedimentary rock made of carbonates and other minerals. While it is not as compact as concrete or asphalt, crushed limestone driveways can last several generations. That is why it is the favorite material of the building and construction industry.
Attractive: No two crushed limestone is exactly alike, creating a beautiful pattern on the driveway. It has a honey-colored and light cream hue that can complement the natural greens of the garden or lawn bordering the driveway. Some limestone varieties have a darker hue for a more dramatic effect.
Affordable and Accessible: One can buy crushed limestone from almost any sand and gravel company or construction supplies store. It is also more affordable than asphalt or concrete. See crushed asphalt driveway guide here.
Crushed Limestone Driveway Cons
Seasonal Challenges: It can be difficult to plow snow from a crushed limestone driveway. The snowplow can dig into the limestone bed and alter its composition. Raking leaves in the autumn can also be more challenging because of the gaps in the crushed limestone driveway.
Frequent Maintenance: A crushed limestone driveway requires regular weekly maintenance, removing leaves, twigs, and other debris. It is not the best option for households that need a maintenance-free or low-maintenance driveway.
Is Crushed Limestone Good For Driveways?
Crushed limestone is not only an affordable driveway option. It can also be a sturdy platform for vehicles to drive from the gate to the front door or carport.
Crushed limestone has jagged edges that lock in place when compacted or pressed together. The interlocks prevent the movement of individual limestone, ensuring a more stable and sturdier driveway.
What Size Limestone For Driveway?
Depending on the homeowner’s preferences, crushed limestone can form a loose-top driveway or an aggregate of a concrete or asphalt mix. Regardless, either method requires the correct size of crushed limestone.
Start with a foundation made of No. 2 or No, 2.5 limestone, followed by a filler layer of ½-inch-grade No. 57 crushed limestone. The top layer is a ¼-inch-grade No. 8 crushed limestone.
One can also use a ¾-inch limestone for the top surface. However, it is essential to understand that the tinier the limestone particles, the more maintenance the crushed limestone driveway will require.
Asphalt or Concrete Driveway
Families who want to use crushed limestone as concrete or asphalt aggregate can use a 3/8 to ½-inch-grade No. 8 crushed limestone. Read more about asphalt vs gravel driveway here.
Crushed Limestone Driveway Cost
Crushed limestone can cost $115 per cubic yard or $143 per ton if bought in small quantities. Large-volume orders can lower the price to $65 per ton or $30 per cubic yard.
One must also recognize the style and size differences of crushed limestone. The more upscale the limestone, the higher the price per square foot. For example, it is not unusual to pay $2 to $3 for every square foot of premium-quality crushed limestone.
Installing a crushed limestone driveway can set homeowners back by about $1.25 to $2 per square foot of driveway space. A 16×48 foot crushed limestone driveway can cost between $960 and $1,536.
A smaller driveway may only require a budget of $300 to $350, while a longer and larger driveway may require up to $60,000 in budget.
Does Crushed Limestone Harden When Wet?
Limestone is one of the densest and hardest rocks people use in construction. However, water tends to dissolve limestone’s carbonates, softening it when it rains or when exposed to water for a long time. The good news is that limestone is resilient, allowing it to harden once completely dry.
Is Crushed Limestone Safe?
Medical experts say crushed limestone is not a health hazard. However, mechanical or natural forces can produce dust particles that people can inhale or irritate the skin and mucus membranes.
Limestone dust particles can contain silica crystals that can embed in the respiratory tree and cause breathing problems.
With the correct size, crushed limestone is also safe on vehicle tires. While some rocks may have pointed edges, these are not sufficiently sharp to puncture the tires.
However, there is the risk of turning loose crushed limestone into projectiles. These small rocks can hit the vehicle’s under-chassis. That is why many contractors put a limestone screen on loose-top driveways.
Crushed limestone is an excellent choice for families who want an affordable and elegant driveway. It is hassle-free to install, although it requires more frequent maintenance. Crushed limestone is also more efficient in handling water runoffs, preventing floods in the driveway.
Deciding to use crushed limestone on the driveway is easier after learning the different crushed limestone driveway pros and cons.
For more related ideas visit our guide to concrete driveway finishes here.