Author Topic: Putting down a gravel driveway question  (Read 708 times)

Healthie

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Putting down a gravel driveway question
« on: March 12, 2021, 09:10:08 AM »
Hey team,

I'm putting down a gravel driveway; approximately 20'x20' area. I figure the steps are:
1. Dig out top soil.
2. put down landscaping fabric
3. add crush - the guy I'm getting to do this has said it doesn't need to be layered; which is what google searching has suggested. input?
4. compact.
*5. optional - seal it. My buddy told me about this yesterday and said it seals really firmly; like cement. Any thoughts on this one?

BDWW

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Re: Putting down a gravel driveway question
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2021, 09:37:05 AM »
Layering and sealing would depend on the base.  If you're going to dig down 2+ feet and build a good base, both would be fine.

If your only digging down a foot, then you don't need to layer, and sealing first thing would probably be a mistake. The ground will continue to settle and compact as you drive on it. Plan for a followup touch-up gravel delivery after a while, then seal.

Much depends on the ground/area you're in.

Poor Rod

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Re: Putting down a gravel driveway question
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2021, 10:43:37 PM »
Mark the corners of the area you plan to excavate with white paint. Call 811 and request utility locates. Takes a couple of days. Don't want to dig something up accidentally.

If this is just for parking cars, about 4 to 6 inches of base course covered with a couple of inches of gravel should work fine, and minimizes the amount of excavation needed. But before laying down the base course, compact the sub-base (the existing soil) well. Then place the base course and compact it. Then landscape fabric followed by gravel. Good compaction of the sub-base and base course is what you want.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Putting down a gravel driveway question
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2021, 07:57:49 AM »
Mark the corners of the area you plan to excavate with white paint. Call 811 and request utility locates. Takes a couple of days. Don't want to dig something up accidentally.

If this is just for parking cars, about 4 to 6 inches of base course covered with a couple of inches of gravel should work fine, and minimizes the amount of excavation needed. But before laying down the base course, compact the sub-base (the existing soil) well. Then place the base course and compact it. Then landscape fabric followed by gravel. Good compaction of the sub-base and base course is what you want.

Good point about parking.  My gravel driveway mostly had cars, but every so often it had to bear the load of a very large heavy truck (propane delivery).  Plus of course moving vans.  So think about potential heaviest load.

Your municipality should have guidelines.  If this is a new driveway you may need a municipal permit for it, worth checking.

soily

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Re: Putting down a gravel driveway question
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2021, 08:40:12 AM »
Mark the corners of the area you plan to excavate with white paint. Call 811 and request utility locates. Takes a couple of days. Don't want to dig something up accidentally.

If this is just for parking cars, about 4 to 6 inches of base course covered with a couple of inches of gravel should work fine, and minimizes the amount of excavation needed. But before laying down the base course, compact the sub-base (the existing soil) well. Then place the base course and compact it. Then landscape fabric followed by gravel. Good compaction of the sub-base and base course is what you want.

+1

This person sounds like he/she has engineering experience.

RumBurgundy

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Re: Putting down a gravel driveway question
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2021, 09:57:54 AM »
Layering and sealing would depend on the base.  If you're going to dig down 2+ feet and build a good base, both would be fine.

If your only digging down a foot, then you don't need to layer, and sealing first thing would probably be a mistake. The ground will continue to settle and compact as you drive on it. Plan for a followup touch-up gravel delivery after a while, then seal.

Much depends on the ground/area you're in.

What about using those plastic grid pieces, which I presume helps keep the gravel in place? I've seen a lot of that used here in the southeast in projects to make driveways more permeable.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Putting down a gravel driveway question
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2021, 03:00:46 PM »
You don't say where you are, but if you have to clear snow much from your driveway your gravel will travel.  Be prepared to find pieces in the lawn, and expect to top up every so often.

joe189man

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Re: Putting down a gravel driveway question
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2021, 04:00:00 PM »
Layering and sealing would depend on the base.  If you're going to dig down 2+ feet and build a good base, both would be fine.

If your only digging down a foot, then you don't need to layer, and sealing first thing would probably be a mistake. The ground will continue to settle and compact as you drive on it. Plan for a followup touch-up gravel delivery after a while, then seal.

Much depends on the ground/area you're in.

What about using those plastic grid pieces, which I presume helps keep the gravel in place? I've seen a lot of that used here in the southeast in projects to make driveways more permeable.

yea thats what i was thinking, geocell is what i think they are called, just google the term.

back in college summers i worked in hardscapes, building paver patios and retaining walls, any driveway had 4-6 inches of road base then sand then pavers, we never used geotextiles

for this i think 6 inches of road base is plenty, then the geocells then the 2 inch depth of ~1" gravel.  Poor Rod is right about compaction. geotextiles are probably overkill, but if you want one get woven as non-woven is only for material separation, woven will provide some "strength"

make sure you have appropriate drainage or slope to the driveway to prevent ponding of water


Cadman

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Re: Putting down a gravel driveway question
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2021, 04:19:39 PM »
Our driveway is 1 km in length and I can vouch that the woven fabric works wonders; no need to excavate in our case. Of course it's too spendy for the entire length but works great on softer areas.

For the final gravel, what you want is 1" roadstone with fines. This will firm up like cement after a season and the fines will lock it all in place.

Regardless of how well this is executed, if you live in an area that sees legitimate winters with muddy springs, it will all go south fast if you drive/park on it when the ground is still frozen but you have 2' of snow melt soaking into the rock like a sponge. For about 2 weeks a year, we walk. For something your size, asphalt in year 2 or 3 might be cheaper than ongoing maintenance costs.