Choosing Gravel Colors: Helping Your Customers Find The Best Color And Heat-Retention Combo

Gravel has many, many uses in construction, from filler to surface material in plant beds and yards in drought-prone areas. Because that gravel may end up in a very visible spot, it needs to look nice -- and it also needs to not make the yard uncomfortable to be in. The color of the gravel can affect heat retention and how much glare there is in the yard. Choose the wrong one, and the property becomes less than optimal. If you're completing some construction on a property and your customer wants to add gravel to certain areas, you need to guide them toward the choices that will work best with how the property is set up.

Darker Colors Absorb and Retain, Lighter Colors Reflect

Darker gravel colors will absorb heat and retain it, becoming hotter in hot weather. Lighter gravel will reflect sunlight, and while light gravel can become hot, it won't be nearly as hot as darker gravel just because it won't absorb the same amount of heat. Some design fads call for very dark colors -- think those dark brown muddy-colored exteriors on some newer apartment complexes -- so you may have a property owner who wants dark gravel around the house, for example. You can explain to the owner what effects that may have in terms of heat. Note that in many cases darker gravel will work wonderfully; you just want to be sure your customer knows what they're getting into.

Lighter Colors Can Be Very Bright in Light

At the same time, lighter gravel, especially gravel colored white, can be very bright and reflective in bright sunlight. Even if temperature isn't a concern, the glare could be. A shade that's more beige might be more appropriate in many cases. For example, your customer wants a gravel path along one side of the house and wants lighter gravel to help control heat during summer. However, they also want bright white gravel in a spot where there's no shade whatsoever. You can show them additional light colors that reduce the glare while still not retaining that much heat.

Shade and House Side Are Key

Most areas of the country have big temperature swings between winter and summer, so you're never really going to have a property where the ground is always cool or always hot. (Coastal areas may have a few, but go just a couple of miles inland, and you'll get those swings again.) However, properties often have microclimates, which are small areas where the physical characteristics combine to create another type of climate. Imagine the east wall of a house in Phoenix, with trees shading the wall and soil all day long and poorly draining soil creating extra humidity; that's going to be a much cooler, wetter microclimate than at a patch of unshaded ground on the west side of the house. Your customers may not understand microclimates if they don't have experience with gardening or a related subject, and it's up to you to let them know how a microclimate may affect their range of options.

Gravel is an essential material in construction, from basic structures to the finishing touches. Help your customers understand how gravel color can affect their final plans. Find a construction material supplier near you to get started.