Steep Driveways: Which Surface Material is Best?

Steep driveways, for those of us that have them, can be the bane of our lives. Not only are they difficult to reverse up and down, but they are susceptible to slippage. That means you or your car could go sliding down the driveway in icy or snowy conditions.

So what problems have you experienced because of your steep driveway? I’m willing to bet that you’ve had at least one of these issues:

Makes reversing difficult

Steep driveways are challenging to reverse up or down. Even without inclement weather, a steep slope is not the best to manoeuvre on.

Sub-base instability

The sub-base is the foundation of the driveway, and lots of people forget about this until they have problems. In steep driveways, the soil sub-base will erode and shift more quickly than on a level driveway, and it costs a lot of money to fix this problem.

When it rains, the excessive amount of rainfall on a steeper driveway means that cracks will appear on the surface over time.

Problems with drainage

Of course, a steep driveway will keep rainwater away from your home. But it might end up collecting at the bottom of the driveway and onto the road, which can cause problems for you and other road users. You can install a French drain, which is a trench with a perforated pipe to allow water to drain, at the end of the driveway.

So steep driveways can prove a challenge, but if you’ve got one, you have to make the best out of it. So what’s the best material to use? We’ll go through some of the materials and whether you should consider or avoid.

The best and worst materials for steep driveways


steep driveways gravel
Gravel is not ideal for steep driveways

Concrete is a great smooth surface for driving a car onto, but on a steep incline it can prove a problem in the winter. Expect it to get icy and very slippery in the colder months, making it extremely difficult (and dangerous) to walk on as well as drive on.
Verdict: avoid


Tarmac is an inexpensive option for a driveway, but for steep driveways it’s more challenging. A driveway professional will probably charge more to lay a tarmac driveway as it’s more tricky to lay on inclines.
Verdict: consider


This one should be common sense. While gravel is a good option for your driveway if you want to ensure that you can hear who is approaching your home, it’s far from perfect for steep driveways. The gravel will continue to roll down the slope, eventually leaving you with an uneven and unsightly surface.
Verdict: avoid


Resin bound driveways are permeable, which means that water drains away well. Resin bound driveways often look like gravel, except the gravel won’t roll away! There are also options to make it non-slip, making it perfect for steep driveways.
Verdict: consider

So there are a couple of options to consider for your steep driveway. The best thing to do is to get some quotes from driveway companies who can offer you some advice on which material suits your driveway the most.

Not got a steep driveway? Take a look at our article on materials for normal driveways and see which one suits you best.

Emily Rivers

Emily Rivers is the Customer Experience Manager at Quotatis. She informs customers of the latest developments in a range of products so they can make the best choice for their homes and ensures they get the best out of our service.