With proper care and maintenance, a gravel driveway can last up to 100 years. That’s because there’s just so little that can go wrong with gravel. Unlike a solid asphalt or concrete driveway, it’s not going to crack or sink. While materials like concrete and asphalt are known for being tough, durable, and long-lasting, you may be surprised to learn that, with proper care and maintenance, a residential gravel driveway can actually survive for nearly a century.
The Construction of a Gravel Driveway
The first step to installing a gravel driveway is to determine how much stone material you’ll actually require. In addition to the gravel, you’ll need a base layer of crushed stone in order to add support and promote healthy drainage.
For a rectangular driveway, you’ll need to multiply the length x the width x the depth of the project area to learn how many cubic yards of crushed stone and gravel you’ll require. Typically, you’ll want 3 different layers that are a total of 3-4″ deep. A gravel driveway is built from large crushed stone, slightly smaller crushed stone and very small gravel. All three of these stone materials are essential to the strength, integrity, and longevity of the driveway. The larger stones sit at the base and create a solid foundation. A layer of slightly smaller crushed stone is added to reinforce the base stones and keep them in place. Finally the stone you see is the small stone so that the driveway is safe and comfortable to drive or walk upon. Before any of these stones can be poured into the driveway, the area must be compacted and cleared of debris. It is important to make sure the bottom and edges of the excavated driveway trench are compacted to help prevent shifting, sinking, and settling throughout the years. After the trench is compacted, a layer of landscaping fabric should be applied to the trench prior to adding the first crushed stone to the driveway.
Drainage is Another Aspect to Consider
Moisture is a common problem for driveway surfacing materials, such as asphalt or concrete. However, the fill materials of a gravel driveway can allow water to naturally filter gradually through the porous surface, preventing any possible issues. If, for any reason, you see pooling of water on a gravel driveway you may need to install a drainage system.
Maintenance of a Gravel Driveway
One of the easiest ways to help your driveway look and function throughout the years is to set up a schedule for regularly raking your gravel. You will want to get rid of sticks, leaves, grass, and other debris so the quality and consistency of your driveway’s surface will not be compromised. Raking will also help even the distribution of gravel which will improve drainage function. If you see small or large potholes after a lot of traffic on your driveway, it is wise to keep a fresh supply of gravel on hand to fill in low spots and apply a new 1″ layer of gravel to the surface each year.
Water can wreak havoc anywhere, especially with gravel driveways. If you’re seeing consistent problems with ruts, washouts, and birm, your driveway probably has drainage issues. The solution is either to add enough gravel to make your drive higher than the areas surrounding it, or to install a culvert or ditch to pull the water away from the place where it flows over the gravel and compromises it. All that pretty snow on your driveway is not good. If you use a snow plow, though, you can expect your gravel driveway to be unrecognizable the next time the sun comes out. Make sure you take steps to move the gravel that has been pulled outward by the snow plow, back toward the middle section of your drive. Using rock salt and other ice melting materials can help to reduce the buildup of snow and ice on top of your driveway so that you don’t have to remove as much. From here, it’s important to shovel with care or adjust your snow blower blade settings to half an inch above the surface of your gravel in order to prevent problems.
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About Bray Topsoil & Gravel
Topsoil and gravel delivered to you by Bray Trucking, a specialized aggregate hauler servicing the Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana region.