How to properly install a gravel driveway

micahjoFebruary 3, 2007

Hi, we're building a house in Oklahoma on 10 acres. We haven't yet gotten to the landscaping stage, but we do need advice on our driveway.

The driveway is approximately 600 ft long and 12 ft wide. There's no way we can afford to pave it or go with the more expensive options. I'm just wondering what we need to do to make sure the gravel/base is properly installed.

Do we need some kind of base? (other than 2" or larger gravel) So far I've been told by the gravel guys that we just need to dump about 120 tons of 2 1/2" or 3" gravel on it, spread it with a tractor, let the concrete trucks and others roll over that and then later put on a couple of truck loads of 1 1/2" gravel or crushed asphalt.

Will this last? I've been told by others that with a gravel drive, you just need to budget for continually dumping more gravel on to it as the old sinks into the earth. Is that true? Is there a way to (relatively cheaply) prepare the base so that doesn't happen?

Another fellow (who mostly does parking lot paving) suggested CKD dust to stabilize the base, but he wasn't sure what would happen to the base if it wasn't then paved eventually (thus sealing the base from water in the future).

Folks on this forum seem to have a little more expertise, so any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks! -- Micah

p.s. - currently the driveway is just very sandy/muddy soil from all the trees being excavated approx a month ago.

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water .... Water ....WATER!

Rule #1, drummed into my head by my father before I turned 15, for every project built on, or a part of, terra firma:

The first thing to consider in design, and the first thing to do in construction, is to take positive control of the water.

Get the water away from your drive. Do not let it set in a road ditch or soak into the ground along your drive. More roads fail from a wet subgrade than from all other causes combined.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2007 at 7:43PM
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dogridge(7b nc)

I am not sure if this is the correct way to do it, but we had our drive done with Crusher run or road base. I believe this is a mix of stone dust and larger gravel. The stone dust helps compact the gravel. trucks etc drove on it for 6 months. Then we then added about 1 inch of 1/4 inch gravel. We had to put another load of gravel on after 2 years. We have had some issues with erosion, so I totally agree with pls8xx in that you need to make sure water isn't running down your drive or across it.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 7:18PM
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tibs(5/6 OH)

Drainage is a big problem. You just can't dump gravel down and expect a good drive. Do find out where the waer flows and if any springs. The drive should be sloped, have a crown and ditches. Check with your county engineer's office or your township trustees (or what ever local government in your state is responsibile for the road on which your drive meets) to see what they advise and regulations they have. Talk to your neighbors.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 6:18AM
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Thanks for all the advice!

Hmmm, water. The water doesn't seem to flow at all. And there definitely aren't any springs (it's pretty darn dry when it doesn't rain). The entire property is on top of a hill. The majority of the driveway is pretty level, sloping toward the road a tiny bit if anything. The ground is so soft and sandy, the water just seems to sink down into it rather than flowing anywhere.

Good to keep drainage in mind though. Near the house, the driveway will curve and slope more steeply up to the garage. Might need to do something there up direct drainage (maybe a tinhorn under the drive so the water doesn't flow across it?)

Any other thoughts or advice? Should we put down any ground/weed killer before the gravel to keep the tree and other roots from sprouting up through it?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 12:30PM
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