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Things to Consider in Crushed Asphalt Driveway

Discover the best technique to utilize asphalt for your driveway and various factors to consider. Read on to learn more the affordability of installing one.

The house's large yard with a broad asphalt driveway leading to the garage.

Owning a home is hard work, and there is lots of maintenance involved for both the interior and exterior. So when it comes to making choices in the landscape around the home, choosing an easy-to-maintain driveway that also looks great is an easy choice. 

Driveways are one of the most demanding working areas in our homes. They must withstand the wear and tear from cars and trucks and harsh environmental conditions. It doesn’t take long for a standard cement-paved driveway to look patchy and rough. So what is another option? Have you considered a crushed asphalt driveway?

Crushed asphalt is the best choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly, durable driveway with excellent curb appeal. Keep reading to have your crushed asphalt questions answered right here in our ultimate guide to crushed asphalt ideas for your home!

What is Asphalt?

An asphalt driveway is settling
A freshly laid asphalt driveway is settling.

Asphalt is a sticky, black liquid material derived from petroleum, a substance that occurs in nature. Petroleum-based asphalt cement has characteristics similar to those of tar. The asphalt cement is a binding agent for a mixture of aggregates, such as gravel, sand, and crushed stone, to create the asphalt surface for our roads and parking lots. This traditional kind of asphalt’s primary application is paving roads and driveways.

In fact, asphalt pavement may be found in over 94% of all U.S. parking lots, roadways, and airport runways, as reported by the National Asphalt Pavement Association. Asphalt pavement is used for many purposes—from driveways to streets to walking paths—because it has many desirable qualities.

What is crushed asphalt?

Shattered pieces of asphalt stones
Shattered pieces of asphalt road stones.

Don’t be confused! Asphalt and Crushed asphalt are two different products. Asphalt is a fresh, newly made material, while Crushed asphalt is a secondary product of the original asphalt. Crushed asphalt is basically recycled asphalt. Old asphalt roads are taken up and ground down into crushed asphalt products that can be recycled and used in new paving projects.

Pavement milling, asphalt milling, and recycled asphalt pavement refer to crushed asphalt. Traditional virgin asphalt requires more work and more oil to turn into pavement. Crushed asphalt requires less of both.

First, asphalt is pulverized and turned into gravel. Then this gravel material can be used as a crushed asphalt driveway. A few popular ways you can use crushed asphalt for your next project are:

  • driveway materials
  • sidewalks
  • airport runways
  • landscape retaining walls
  • paved roads and gravel roads
  • basketball courts and playgrounds
  • base layer for patios

Recycled Asphalt

Driveway was covered with recycled asphalt
The house’s driveway was covered with recycled asphalt.

Recycled asphalt is crushed asphalt that consists primarily of recycled gravel from asphalt roads and former asphalt projects. Recycled asphalt, also known as milled Asphalt, or crushed Asphalt, is a very eco-friendly material. One of the best things about crushed asphalt is that you can recycle it.

When you think of all the paved roads in the United States, it is comforting to know that we can use asphalt material again. Nearly 100 million tons of Recycled Asphalt Pavement are reused annually in the United States, making it the most significant recycled material in the country!

Moreover, asphalt pavement is recycled countless times after being crushed into smaller pieces. The final product, known as R.A.P. (recycled asphalt product), can be offered as a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective substitute for driveway gravel. It can also be repurposed into new hot mix asphalt paving material.

Cement chemically changes when mixed with water; in contrast, there is no chemical change with asphalt. This characteristic allows it to be recycled and reused. Crushed asphalt pavement can be removed from the road, reprocessed, heated, and turned back into new asphalt pavement.

When applied to a driveway or road surface, milled asphalt can be a base for future paving with hot mix asphalt. The recycled or milled asphalt provides a surface nearly as durable as paving with a hot asphalt mix.

Recycled asphalt pavement

The machine removes old asphalt for milling
The machine removes old asphalt in preparation for milling.

Crushed Asphalt or milled Asphalt consists of recycled asphalt crushed into gravel. Old Asphalt is recycled in a process called asphalt milling. Asphalt milling crushes the asphalt back down to small bits about the size of gravel.

Typically, a milling machine, also known as an asphalt milling machine, is used directly at the road site. First, the existing asphalt is taken up from the roadways. Next, it goes through the asphalt milling machine, which is ground into gravel-like consistency with similar-sized pieces less than 1 1/2″ or smaller.

After being crushed to the desired coarseness, a large vacuum removes the leftover dust and debris. The milled asphalt is then ready to have the crushed pieces coated with asphalt cement and turned into a high-grade, quality driveway or pavement option.

The benefits of recycled asphalt are its durability, low cost, and low environmental impact. Crushed asphalt’s low cost and durability make it an excellent choice for driveways and parking lots. Recycled asphalt is a durable material. It also stands up to intense weather conditions. It is inexpensive, making it an excellent choice for paving driveways and parking lots.

Recycled asphalt driveway

The driveway was made of reused asphalt pavement
The driveway of the house was made of reused asphalt pavement.

Recycled asphalt pavement is a popular material for paving parking lots, roads, or driveways. A recycled asphalt driveway resembles both an asphalt driveway and a gravel driveway in appearance. Asphalt is known as one of the most recycled materials in the world. Another plus is that asphalt can be recycled many times, keeping it out of landfills.

Putting in an asphalt driveway at your house will cost much less if you use recycled asphalt instead of new asphalt. Recycled asphalt driveways perform just as well as asphalt from new materials, but they cost significantly less.

When old asphalt is recycled and you install asphalt millings correctly, your driveway will have excellent quality and durability. Remember that an existing driveway must be removed before a crushed asphalt driveway is installed.

Pros and Cons of Recycled asphalt

Crushed asphalt driveway installation
Crushed asphalt installation on the driveway.

Most homeowners want a low-maintenance, cost-effective driveway that looks great and has curb appeal. Check out our list of the pros and cons of a crushed asphalt driveway and see if this is the right driveway for you!

Pros of recycled asphalt

A golf course with a recycled asphalt driveway
A golf course site with a recycled asphalt driveway.

A recycled asphalt driveway made from properly crushed milled asphalt is an excellent driveway for most homeowners. It’s easy to care for, weather resistant, and wins in the “best looks” category. A crushed asphalt driveway is also environmentally friendly! The pros outweigh the cons on our list. We have broken down all reasons why we like it and what to watch out for when it comes to a crushed asphalt driveway.

Low Maintenance

An asphalt driveway is a very low-maintenance option. If a crushed asphalt driveway is correctly cared for, it can last as long as new or virgin asphalt. Maintaining an asphalt driveway requires regular cleaning and resealing every 2-3 years.

Weather Resistant

Asphalt milling is very good at standing up to extreme weather conditions like rain and snow. Because it has tar mixed in, it has excellent bonding qualities. In addition to making less dust and mud, asphalt milling makes the snow melt faster than gravel milling. Most importantly, an asphalt driveway gets stronger over time. Crushed asphalt becomes much more resistant to the weather after the recycling process instead of getting weaker. Have you ever uncovered a cracked driveway after the winter snow melted? If so, you know how big of a deal it is for a driveway to be weather-resistant.


When new asphalt mixes with asphalt milling to make recycled pavement, the resulting product is even more durable than the original. With proper care, crushed asphalt can last just as long as new asphalt.


Crushed asphalt driveways use asphalt milling for raw materials. Since they don’t require new materials, recycled asphalt driveways are less than half the price of other driveways, like concrete. This budget-friendly price makes milled asphalt an excellent driveway material for homeowners who want an economical choice.

Environmentally friendly

New Asphalt paving projects, like roads, are not exactly environmentally friendly. In fact, they are notoriously bad for the environment. However, pavement milling and using crushed asphalt for a driveway makes crushed asphalt an eco-friendly solution. For homeowners looking to add more eco-friendly design elements to their homes, recycled asphalt is an excellent choice for the next paving project! Crushed asphalt saves you money and is good for the environment, so it’s hard to go wrong when choosing this driveway style.

Good looks

Asphalt driveways are a popular type of driveway surface in the United States. Most homeowners like crushed asphalt’s distinctive but appealing appearance because it resembles a nice gravel texture and a genuine asphalt surface. The dark, smooth surface looks great and blends seamlessly with the landscape and home designs.

Cons of recycled asphalt

Milled asphalt installation
Milled asphalt installation with an unfinished edge.

Unfinished Edges

While the driveway surface looks professional with its smooth, black color, the edges remain unfinished. The asphalt milling is poured onto the driveway like traditional gravel and compressed into the driveway. Then the asphalt layer is compressed.

Changes color

Asphalt rarely retains its original color. The asphalt millings are discolored because of their exposure to the hot sun and weather. So, if you want an asphalt driveway because of its intense black color, be prepared for a different look with recycled asphalt. Crushed asphalt’s finished product will be lighter than brand-new, non-recycled asphalt. If color is a concern, then choose fresh, non-recycled asphalt instead.

Tarry Surface

A crushed asphalt driveway’s surface layer can soften and get sticky in warm temperatures. Sometimes this sticky tar can come off the asphalt and get tracked through the house or yard. Properly seal your crushed asphalt driveway to help with this issue.

Cracking and potholes

While crushed asphalt is extremely durable when used as driveway material, it is still susceptible to cracks and holes. Most of the time, this happens with improper installation when building the driveway. But, the good news is that there are usually easy fixes like patches or resurfacing.


The lifespan of recycled asphalt driveways is between 10-15 years. Other materials, like a concrete driveway, can last up to twenty. Resurfacing the recycled asphalt driveway is an option to extend its life and renew its appearance.

 Which Is Better: Gravel or Asphalt?

Front of the garage with asphalt driveway
Front of the garage with wide asphalt driveway.

A new driveway can be paved in several ways, each with advantages and disadvantages. Driveways in rural areas typically use either gravel or asphalt. It is difficult to say whether asphalt is superior to gravel or vice versa. The best product for you depends on many factors. Consider your specific requirements, your budget, and the layout of your property. Pavers use asphalt to construct driveways and roads, while stone gravel is frequently used for sidewalks and patios. Despite their differences, both materials are excellent for driveways.

Gravel is less expensive but not as attractive as asphalt and will wash out over time. Asphalt is a beautiful and durable material, but it costs more and needs more maintenance. It is challenging to say whether gravel is superior to asphalt or vice versa because they are both excellent and widely used driveway materials.

Here are 7 questions to help you choose an asphalt or gravel driveway:

A driveway using gravel to the garage
A driveway using gravel leading to the garage.
  1. Are you on a budget? If you are budget-conscious, gravel will be the better option because it is more cost-effective to install than asphalt driveways.
  2. Do you live in a flood zone? A gravel driveway will wash out if it floods. An asphalt driveway does not risk washing away during heavy storms or flooding.
  3. Do you live in a climate with snowfall? If you have snowy winters, choose an asphalt driveway. Snow removal is harder to do on gravel and can be challenging.
  4. Will you use your driveway for heavy equipment? If you have heavy equipment and machinery, choose asphalt. Gravel cannot sustain heavy weight, and it can easily be displaced.
  5. Do you want a smooth ride? If you don’t mind a bumpy ride, choose gravel. Because gravel is just loose rocks, it will not offer a smooth surface to drive on like asphalt driveways. Gravel driveways are also known to get potholes that are hard to fix.
  6. Do you care about your driveway’s appearance? Asphalt driveways are the best surface for driveway materials if you are concerned with appearance.
  7. Do you mind a little dust and dirt? If you don’t mind dirt and dust, choose gravel. When you drive over gravel, dirt, and dust, kick up and land on anything nearby. If your driveway is close to your home and you are concerned about dirt and dust, an asphalt driveway will be the better option.

How do you maintain a crushed asphalt driveway?

Over time, asphalt millings can start to fade, and it’s typical for all asphalt driveways to deteriorate and crack eventually. Your driveway will stay dark, clean, and free of flaws if you periodically reseal it. For the typical homeowner, driveway sealing is a doable project you can do in as little as an afternoon.

Recycled asphalt driveways are more prone to potholes and cracks than a regular asphalt driveway. Before sealing the surface of your driveway, you should first fix any potholes. While it’s possible to make repairing and selling your driveway a D.I.Y. project, many companies specialize in asphalt driveways. They will ensure you have an extremely durable surface and a driveway that looks great for years.

How much does a crushed asphalt driveway cost?

The price to install a crushed asphalt driveway ranges from $5 to $7 per square foot. Asphalt typically costs $2 per square foot, while installation costs $5 per square foot on average. For a driveway with a square footage of around 600 ft., the national average is about $4,000; costs can differ depending on the location, size, grading, labor, and type of asphalt. Flat land and less prep work will save money and offer a severely diminished cost per square foot.

The least expensive choice for paving your driveway is asphalt. For instance, a slab of ordinary gray concrete costs roughly $15 per square foot. Concrete that has been colored, given a unique polish, or has other decorative accents typically costs more than $20 per square foot.

How many tons of asphalt millings will you need for a driveway?

The cost of one ton of asphalt milling can range from $7 to $60. One factor in cost is how much of the mixture is recycled asphalt pavement. A few inches thick, a ton of this material should cover around 80 feet. Check out this asphalt calculator to quickly work out the math to figure out how much you need.

How to harden asphalt millings?

A “hot mix” of asphalt is laid using specialized machinery when using traditional asphalt for paving. Asphalt millings, on the other hand, are laid without the use of heat. This “cold mix” asphalt is applied and allowed to cure outside at the current temperature. Once laid, proper compaction is required to finish the job. The surface will harden over time once it is properly compacted.

Use a steamroller to compact asphalt millings to harden them, making sure to leave a 45-degree angle at the margins for good drainage. Ensure the roller’s steel drum is moist to prevent the asphalt millings from adhering to it. After allowing the pavement to dry for at least 24 hours, you can seal it. 

Are crushed asphalt and crushed concrete the same thing?

Crushing of concrete for road improvement
Crushing of concrete for road improvement.

Crushed concrete is an excellent choice for driveway paving material for many homes. Crushed concrete is similar to crushed asphalt because they are both recycled from existing materials like hot asphalt or cement. Like crushed asphalt, crushed concrete can be an environmentally friendly driveway material!

Crushed concrete is composed of tiny particles of concrete that have been pulverized and crushed to produce a paving-grade material similar to gravel. Unlike crushed concrete, crushed asphalt is mixed with hot asphalt and compacted to make a solid surface. Crushed concrete remains in loose pieces of crushed rock, like gravel. Plastic grids can be installed with crushed concrete to contain the crushed rock inside and improve the overall performance. 

When old cement is demolished, it can be recycled and turned into crushed concrete for a driveway or other paving project. Recycling is a much better option than discarding it in a landfill! Old cement surfaces are delivered to a recycling facility where they are crushed, have the impure materials removed, and are made acceptable into a crushed concrete product.