Concrete is the best material for many structures, including driveways. Usually, the material mixed and poured is a block of new concrete, but did you know that concrete can be reused to make driveway material too?
This is known as crushed concrete or recycled concrete aggregate (RCA). It’s a cost-effective alternative to gravel, but does it have the same benefits as concrete slabs?
What Is Crushed Concrete?
Crushed concrete is known as recycled concrete because it comes from older blocks and slabs that are no longer in use. Large blocks of concrete or asphalt go through a crusher that mills them into crushed concrete. The final product is concrete stones roughly 3/4″ in size, similar to gravel. It also includes stone dust to fill the space between the rocks and ensure that the pieces interlock. This allows crushed concrete to compact into a more solid layer.
Much RCA comes from old structures. After a renovation or demolition, companies collect the material and put it through a crushing plant to create a new product. This form of reusing material makes crushed concrete very eco-friendly! But does it work for driveways?
Crushed Concrete For Driveways: Pros And Cons
Because it’s recycled, one of the benefits of crushed concrete is the price. The material is much less expensive than other driveway materials, including gravel. This is because the entire recycling process implies very low collection, transportation and processing fees. It’s also easy to install, though excavation work and base material are still required.
Other than price and ease of installation, though, crushed concrete doesn’t have the same benefits as whole concrete. While potholes and ruts in a crushed concrete driveway are easy to fix, they are also easy to develop. This is especially true if heavy vehicles stay parked in the same spot. Crushed concrete might form a solid surface, but it will never be uneven.
Another issue presented by crushed concrete is drainage. RCA is not a permeable material, meaning that water will not pass through it and drain away. Instead, rainwater will form pools all over your driveway and in the ruts that develop over time. You will need to install channels for drainage but this requires a more comprehensive plan. It also presents a difficulty in cleaning up another form of precipitation: snow. The uneven surface of crushed concrete is difficult to clear with a shovel or snowblower.
If you are a homeowner interested in using green construction practices, recycled crushed concrete is one of the most basic materials for your driveway. It’s also ideal for country homes with large, long driveways. But when it comes to stability, drainage, and snow clearing, a new whole concrete surface is better for most Canadian driveways.