This crushed concrete driveway that I share with you below was made back in 2015. I hope that it will give you some ideas on the possible alternatives that are available when it comes to paving an affordable driveway.
It’s hard to believe that my farm’s driveway is five years old! I still drive on it, and it’s still functioning well however it’s in desperate need of a few extra tons of material… Now that I am divorced and no longer have the tractor and the dump truck, I am not sure that crushed concrete will be the best way for me to go.
I would definitely still use it if I had the equipment, but I’ll have to run the numbers and check if it’s still worth it when I have to pay someone else for the hauling and spreading. Read the story of this crushed concrete driveway before you make the decision whether this is the right option for you…
Crushed Concrete Driveway…
I’ve updated the post so it’s easier to read, however, I left all the information like pricing and stuff as it was back in 2015. Take into consideration that crushed concrete prices might have changed. Maybe it’s not as easy to find it anymore… I am not sure since I haven’t checked since the time when we built this driveway.
Also take into consideration, that this option might not be for you if you aren’t able to haul and spread the crushed concrete yourself. I am sure that you can find people to do it for you, but you’ll have to calculate the overall cost if you have additional expenses.
I enjoyed this driveway over the years. I think that it was a great material to use. I know now that we should have dug ditches on the sides of the driveway to help direct the rain water a certain way. I think that if we’d done that at the beginning the driveway would have been in better shape right now. But water made a little bit of damage to it and it just needs more material now. I am still using it but it’s definitely on my to-do list of things that needs to get fixed around here (along with another 3.67 million things!).
The Story of My Crushed Concrete Driveway…
We finished the first part of the driveway on the farm. We choose to make a crushed concrete driveway because it’s much much cheaper than what we would have paid for the common gravel driveway. Read the story and what I’ve learned below…
Searching For an Alternative Driveway Material…
Our search for a cheaper way to pave a driveway started right after we spent more than a $1,000 for 50 ft of the conventional gravel driveway. One of the reasons we bought our land was because it’s off of the main country road that connects two small towns.
We were thinking about the possibility of building a farm stand in the future, so we could sell products right from the farm. But we never intended to live close to the road. The land is rectangular and hilly, so we can go as far back as we would like to and not hear or see the road. Or so we thought…
When we set out to build a driveway (there wasn’t any access road to the land), we were shocked to find out how expensive it is to pave what we thought was a ‘simple’ gravel driveway. We spent over a $1,000 for 50 ft of a driveway! Just a simple paved road so we have access to the front field.
After spending that much, we knew that if we wanted to build our house 2,000 or 3,000 ft from the road, we would have to come up with a serious amount of money. So the search for a cheaper alternative driveway began. And since then, we became very familiar with the world of driveways and even ended up building affordable driveways on the side for others in the area for a while.
Finding Recycled Paving Material…
If you read my post about the cheapest way to pave a driveway, you know that, at first, we were looking for dump truck drivers who pick up milled asphalt from paving jobs around the city to dump the material at our place. This was easy when we redid the driveway at our house in town, it proved to be much harder to find a willing driver to dump on our land since it’s deep in the country. Not so close to job sites anymore.
We started searching and found out that there are a few places around town that recycle materials and resell them to the public. Paving companies will bring their waste — large blocks of concrete or asphalt — to those yards, the crusher will crush and mill the big blocks, and resell it as paving or filling material.
The Price of Crushed Concrete…
We learned that prices change all the time. A crusher can sell asphalt for $12 a ton one week and $9 the next because there might have been a large paving job around town, and they are now dealing with a huge amount of material that they need to get rid of.
Some concrete plants might even give you their waste for free when they clean the plant. So when the price went down to $6 a ton for crushed concrete (compared at $18 a ton for gravel) we bought 100 tons.
Hauling Crushed Concrete…
We didn’t pick it all up right away, most of it was still waiting for us at the crusher’s yard. But over a few weeks, the kids and I hauled two or three loads of crushed concrete to the farm every week. We had a dump truck, and although it was as pretty as a dump truck can be (in my opinion…), it was not comfortable at all.
Luckily, the truck has a back bench, which is pretty much the reason we bought it, so I buckled the kids (all three of them under 5 years old!) in their car seats, and off we’d go. Let me tell you… I used to drive an eighteen-wheeler. I thought that the looks I got back then every time I’d get off the truck were funny… It is nothing compared to the looks I got when I climbed off the dump truck.
The guys looked at me like they weren’t exactly sure what was going on. I saw them trying to figure out why I just climbed down the driver’s side… Then they figure out that I have kids strapped in the back seat, and they are thrown off completely.
“You lady drive this thing?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Oh…” Pause. “You have a kid in there?”
“I have three.”
Now can you turn on the damn diesel pump or load the truck already? I don’t have all day, and there is no AC in this thing, so my kids are frying! I didn’t say that out load… I just have to note both myself and that the kids LOVED to ride in the truck. The kids got a real kick out of being so high. We were happy to do the hauling.
Paving a Crushed Concrete Driveway…
Anyway, before we started delivering the driveway material, my ex-husband scraped about 3 inches of the topsoil from where the driveway was going to be. I dumped one load after another on the path he made, and when he had a day off, we drove the tractor to the farm to spread the crushed concrete with the box blade.
He pulled it forward and pushed it back until it all leveled and was where it should be.
Then, the last step was to flatten the bucket on the driveway and drive back to smooth it.
This took time. He just kept going back and forth until he had it where he wanted it.
The Total Cost…
This first section (approximately 1,000 ft and 11 or 12 ft wide) is made out of 64 tons of crushed concrete. At a rate of $6 a ton, we paid $384 for the materials at that point. Compare it to $18 a ton for gravel making it $1,152 and we are talking serious saving here. Of course, you have to calculate fuel as well.
The crushed concrete packs very well. It doesn’t get muddy when it rains (we had a few monsoons here lately), however, if we have a dry spell, it can get a bit dusty. We thought about spreading a thin layer of asphalt milling on top of it to eliminate the dust.
How to Find Crushed Concrete…
If you are interested in using recycled material for your driveway…
- Look on Craigslist for crushed asphalt or concrete.
- Call concrete plants and crushers in your area and compare their prices.
- Call paving companies and ask if they need a place to dump. Don’t be shy, if you see a paving job in progress, walk up to the dump truck driver and ask if he wants to dump the material at your location for a small fee.
Things to Consider…
- This might not be for you if you don’t have the right equipment to do it properly! You’ll need a way to haul the material (a truck), a way to spread the material (a tractor with a box blade attachment), and a way to dig ditches. Of course, all of this can be hired out but it’s going to change the cost of the project considerably and means that you are going to depend on someone else. You’ll have to consider if it’s worth it.
- Always, always consider where the water is going! We learned this the hard way when a lot of the material was washed in heavy rain. Take the time to figure out how the water is flowing on your property and take the time to dig ditches to take the water away from the driveway. It makes all the difference and might be a little bit more work upfront but will save you a lot of work (and money) later.
- This is a lot of work… It might not be for everyone.
- There is no need for a weed barrier under the material.
- Crushed concrete packs but doesn’t turn back into solid concrete even in the rain. If you live in a dry area it might get dusty. Consider spreading a layer of crushed asphalt over it.
So you see, there is a more affordable way to build a driveway… If you are willing to put some work into it. At the end of the day, you’ll have to decide if the extra work on your part is worth the savings. I hope this gives you an idea of the possibilities. This experience made me so curious about recycled and alternative building methods that I kept going and researched what other options we had for an alternative home building.
My ex-husband and I ended up separating in 2018. I still own the farm and the house that we purchased in 2016. The house is just across the road from the farm. My plans have changed a little bit but I still want to pave that long driveway all the way to the back of the property. I’ll have to do my homework again and check to see if it’s still worth it to use crushed concrete.
More Homesteading Projects…
- DIY Concrete Pavers Garden Walkway
- DIY Bamboo Screen
- DIY Top Bar Hive From a Barrel
- Homemade AC Unit For Under $25
- Installing Thin Brick
Hi! I’m Lady Lee. I help homesteaders simplify their homesteading journey while still producing a ton of food! I am a single mother of four, I was born in Israel and raised in an agricultural commune called a Kibbutz. Now I homestead in central NC.