What is a Crush Run Driveway?


Crush run sounds like a crime, but don’t let the name fool you, it’s actually one of the best things that can happen to your driveway. This gravel and granite dust mixture is ideal for holding the weight of vehicles while still offering good drainage. In fact, crush and run is so effective that you can also use it under retaining walls and patios. What is a crush run driveway? We’ll explain everything you need to know about the materials and usefulness to decide whether this style is right for your home.

What is a Crush Run Driveway Made From

Crush and run, or crusher run gravel is an aggregate. In construction, this merely means differing sizes of material mixed together, such as larger gravel and sand. Aggregates are the most mined material on Earth, which should come as no surprise since the crust of our plant is not made of uniform sheets of the same stone laid out in magically neat rows. In the case of crush and run, most of the aggregate blend is typically limestone and granite, unlike crushed asphalt, which is an oil product. Luckily, the stone is natural, and there are no bad smells or tar involved in crush run. There are natural stone ‘fines’ or powdered rock mixed in. The blend makes for a solid yet permeable aggregate that allows air and water to pass through it. Limestone powder, in particular, is useful when it gets damp since it holds together like dough or clay.

What Is The Difference Between Gravel And Crusher Run

Gravel is more uniform than an aggregate like crush and run. The most significant difference is that all the fines and too-small pieces and particles are removed from gravel. While this certainly makes it look nice, the result leaves larger gaps between the individual elements, which change the compaction and drainage properties. A ‘nicer’ looking non-aggregate gravel is less effective than the mixed-size crusher run. According to Gravel Shop, “Unlike clean gravels, crusher run gravel will also contain a mix of fines like screenings (stone dust) or dirt that blends together with the angular crushed stone giving crusher run its desirable compaction and drainage properties. The product can typically range in sizes from 1/2″ to 4″ stones with fines.”

What Does Crusher Run Stone Look Like

Crush run aggregate is usually a pale grey. It will look like dust, small gravel, large gravel, and broken chunks of stone. The combination makes for outstanding support for heavy loads, whether on wheels or more stationery. The mixed-media composition with various sizes helps the crush run hold together under pressure. Crusher run stone looks like a slopier version of gravel, but it’s highly effective.

How Do You Install a Crush Run Driveway

You’re going to need plenty of material to install a crush and run driveway. You’ll need enough to lay down four to eight inches worth of aggregate. Before you can put in anything, it’s necessary to decide whether to use a three-quarter inch or an inch and a half crush run. The larger size offers better drainage, and it’s more cost-effective. However, it depends on the environment where you live. If you aren’t sure which size to select, you may need to consult with a specialist to avoid wasting resources or having to redo the job a few months or years down the road. Once you’ve chosen the right size, the shape you lay your crush run in will also matter. It should have a crown at the center so that water runs off the sides and gets channeled away.

Does Crush and Run Need To Be Compacted

Crush run does need to be compacted. Packing your aggregate together tightly is essential to the process of creating a functional crush run driveway. The 3/4 inch size is self-compacting, but only when you use it under a concrete slab such as you would below a porch. Using this aggregate style as an open roadbed needs to be packed in tightly. According to DIY Stack Exchange, “If you are compacting road crush with a vibratory plate, you will get about 10 to 15% compaction. (This is based on you having a stable compacted base first. If you are putting the road crush on top of topsoil, you will lose more to compaction.) If you use a jumping jack, about 20% would be accurate.”

Pros and Cons of A Crush Run Driveway

Although a crush run driveway is one of the most cost-effective and efficient driveways you can have and is easy to repair, it’s not for every situation. You’ll need to check your local ordinances and discuss your plans with a landscape architect or similar professional to ensure it’s the best option. We’ve collected a quick list of pros and cons to consider when you’re thinking about your next driveway.


A crush run driveway doesn’t necessarily require a professional to do the installation. You may be able to spread, shape and compact your own drive if you prefer. The drainage is superb on a well-packed and properly formed aggregate driveway. There’s no risk of a crush run driveway developing cracks that need to be sealed because it’s not a solid piece. Limestone sticks together when wet and helps prevent erosion.


You will need to spray weed killer to keep plants from sprouting between the stones. Unlike a cement or asphalt drive, crush run aggregate doesn’t seal, so it leaves gaps for seed roots to grow down and leaves to spread upward. Loose, uncovered stone and fines will wash away over time and require regular maintenance. That said, a good crush run drive can last years or even decades when you treat it appropriately.

Final Thoughts

Crush run driveways are great for rain environments. The strong aggregate with its limestone and granite holds together when wet and can take the pressure of heavy vehicles for years when properly maintained. Better still, this gravel-like driveway is less expensive than pouring concrete and more natural than using asphalt with its nasty smelling tar. Plus, you can lay, shape, and compact crush run on your own if you enjoy DIY home renovation projects.

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