Driveway Grade - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

Driveway Grade

 
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:47 AM   #1
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Driveway Grade


Hi guys,

A homeowner wants me to solve the drainage/mud issue for their driveway. It's about 300 yards long, with a significant incline/decline in two areas of the driveway. In some areas the driveway is below grade of the surrounding turf, creating a downhill funneling affect when it rains, which causes gravel and sub-soil to be washed to the 2 low points in the driveway. I need to bring the grade of the driveway up enough so its grade is above the surrounding turf, which should cause the water to run OFF the sides of the driveway as opposed to straight DOWN the driveway. The homeowner believes we must first raise the grade using soil, then put gravel on top of that. I however think I can raise the grade using a base of #3 (1"-2") gravel, with a layer of crusher run on top that'll compact enough so that water will shed off. The homeowner is concerned water will just run down through the gravel and continue traveling downhill--taking gravel and soil along with it. Can anyone back up my claim with their experience--can I use gravel alone to raise the grade of the driveway, and still be ok as far as water shedding off of it?

An additional question about fabric underlayment. I know the consensus is that it's ideal to have it. My question though, won't the gravel truck tear it up by driving over it? Is there a technique to it, like having the truck dump the gravel while driving in reverse, thus preventing it from driving straight on top of the fabric? Just wondering if someone's had experience with that, and if it even matters.

Thanks guys!
Tom

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Old 08-22-2019, 10:57 AM   #2
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Re: Driveway Grade


What's cheaper in your area fill or stone?

My driveway is 1/4 mile long and I used soil to raise the elevation, 2", then 3/4" clean.
It still requires periodic maintenance to keep everything intact. Put down 80 tons of 3/4" clean last spring.

I would want that low section to be above the grassy area on the sides.

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Old 08-22-2019, 11:20 AM   #3
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Re: Driveway Grade


If I had that, I'd pack it with what we call 21A, which is a combo of crushed stone and stone dust. Then bring up to grade with gravel.

Maybe include some perforated, corrugated pipe down the center, below grade, with an outlet at the low points.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:29 AM   #4
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Re: Driveway Grade


out here we use what is referred to as "3/4-" or road base.

has fines in it and i have got 96% compaction out of it.

even at 80% the stuff is like concrete.

you may also need to add water bars to control runoff.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:45 AM   #5
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Re: Driveway Grade


Thanks MarkJames,
I believe 21A is the same as what we call "crusher run", which should be good for compaction. But you would use it as the base, then put larger gravel on top of that? I would think using the larger stuff for the base/fill (1"-2"), then topping it with the 21A so it creates a hard/compacted surface would be the way to go. I'm a novice though when it comes to this so maybe I've got it backwards?
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:46 AM   #6
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Re: Driveway Grade


The best tool to begin with is ideally a road grader. That is what they were designed for. If you can't find someone with one,a small dozer with a six way blade. A bob cat is almost useless,can't shape soil adequately.
Shape the sub soil to have a crown,lay down a geo textile and put down a bout 6" of two inch rock,compact (the compaction will pound the larger rock tight to sub soil) follow up with with 3/4 " mix with fines. Again,grade in a crown. That is why a six way blade is the tool to use if a road grader is not accessible.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:58 AM   #7
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Re: Driveway Grade


Thanks everyone for the input so far,

I think you're right about some sort of drainage pipe, or water bars, being installed to help with drainage, but the owner wants to be able to continue using his tractor grader/box blade for occasional maintenance when needed, so would be afraid anything laid underneath the surface could eventually be snagged with those implements.

I think the plan for now would just be to raise the driveway elevation enough, along with proper crowning, so the water sheds off to the sides. I'm leaning toward using gravel alone to accomplish this--unless I'm missing something about the physics of how water travels on top of gravel (the homeowner seems to think water will seep through the gravel, as opposed to shedding off it....but I'm trying to reassure him it should shed off the sides--hopefully I'm not wrong!).

FJN--everything you said sounds right, and that's probably the way it should be done for the best results. However I don't think the homeowner has the budget to bring in the amount of material required to essentially start all over (i.e., fill soil, fabric, base rock, crusher run).

Last edited by Per Hansa; 08-22-2019 at 12:07 PM. Reason: include another posting's comments
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:04 PM   #8
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Re: Driveway Grade


You are correct,CROWN THE DRIVEWAY ! Tools needed,road grader,or dozer with six way,and large roller (not dinky hand packer) This article will help. It states the sub base is comprised of 1.5 " - 2.5 " stone. Small stone just gets displaced more readily.

https://www.braenstone.com/crushed-s...avel-driveway/
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Old 08-22-2019, 12:38 PM   #9
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Re: Driveway Grade


if you use a geo-tech fabric it should be deep enough that it will not be snagged by future maintenance.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:01 PM   #10
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Re: Driveway Grade


My 2 cents, probably worth less than that, although I do perform road maintenance on the ranch roads.

The geo-textile fabric is not necessary. There are 2000 year old roads, that never had it.

Your main issue is that you don't have slope off the sides of the road. It's hard to tell from the picture, but you might not need ditches, but you certainly need to cut the edge of the road down, so water runs off of it. If it doesn't slope away, cut ditches on both sides.

Water bars work, but they're rough. If you can cut a ditch, it's a better way to go.

If done right, meaning proper stone, proper grading, and good compaction, no, the water will not run underneath and wash it out.

I'm in Griz's area, so I use either 3/4 base rock, or my new favorite, 1 1/2" RCA, (Recycled Base). Both will get in the 95+% compaction area.

So, build it up, grade it with a slight crown, and cut the edges down.

Then compact the everlasting SonOfABeJeebers out of it. Get a big roller, like in the 60" or above range, not one of those little 1.5 ton deals.
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:06 PM   #11
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Re: Driveway Grade


can you get recycled asphalt in eureka?
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:18 PM   #12
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Re: Driveway Grade


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Originally Posted by griz View Post
can you get recycled asphalt in eureka?
Arcata.

Alves is doing RCA for 11/ton, and Kernan, out in Blue Lake, has it for the same price I think.

I got about 20 tons for a project a couple weeks ago. I was real happy with it, if you don't mind the occasional piece of tile.
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:03 PM   #13
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Re: Driveway Grade


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My 2 cents, probably worth less than that, although I do perform road maintenance on the ranch roads.

The geo-textile fabric is not necessary. There are 2000 year old roads, that never had it.

Your main issue is that you don't have slope off the sides of the road. It's hard to tell from the picture, but you might not need ditches, but you certainly need to cut the edge of the road down, so water runs off of it. If it doesn't slope away, cut ditches on both sides.

Water bars work, but they're rough. If you can cut a ditch, it's a better way to go.

If done right, meaning proper stone, proper grading, and good compaction, no, the water will not run underneath and wash it out.

I'm in Griz's area, so I use either 3/4 base rock, or my new favorite, 1 1/2" RCA, (Recycled Base). Both will get in the 95+% compaction area.

So, build it up, grade it with a slight crown, and cut the edges down.

Then compact the everlasting SonOfABeJeebers out of it. Get a big roller, like in the 60" or above range, not one of those little 1.5 ton deals.
In his area, the topsoil is deep. I don't know exactly where he is, but the area has deep topsoil.

This may be different from your area.
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Old 08-22-2019, 04:08 PM   #14
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Re: Driveway Grade


I've seen the fabric get torn. The reason is the homeowner refused to pay for an adequate amount of gravel.

Your terms are different than what I know, but I think the mix will be similar. I like the fabric. If feel it creates a barrier so the rock won't get pushed into the soil. I like large rock for a base. Then I run a thick layer of CA-6 for the top coat. The CA-6 has a mixture of fines that will bind the rocks together. The crown will work, if you do the CA-6. It will get hard as a rock. If you don't have those fines, the water will wick right through.
He can still grade the CA-6. After some driving and rains, it will be hard again.

You can use recycled concrete, ground for a CA-6 mix. But....WATCH OUT FOR THE STEEL. They say the get it out, but they don't. You and probably he, will get flat tires. Other than that, it packs great.
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:36 PM   #15
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Re: Driveway Grade


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In his area, the topsoil is deep. I don't know exactly where he is, but the area has deep topsoil.

This may be different from your area.
So do you guys end up excavating it all out, and replacing with engineered fill, or is that where the fabric comes in, just laid over the topsoil, and a thick bed of rock put down?
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:10 PM   #16
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Re: Driveway Grade


Quote:
Originally Posted by TimNJ View Post
What's cheaper in your area fill or stone?

My driveway is 1/4 mile long and I used soil to raise the elevation, 2", then 3/4" clean.
It still requires periodic maintenance to keep everything intact. Put down 80 tons of 3/4" clean last spring.

I would want that low section to be above the grassy area on the sides.
Clarify:
I used soil to raise the elevation of the driveway so it was higher than the adjoining ground. Then spread 2" stone, then 3/4 clean.

As was said by others, the 2" stone will get packed into the soil and firm it up. The 3/4 on top will fill in the voids and also have a nice clean look to it. Just have to reach the happy medium of not too much 3/4" or it will be like trying to drive on marbles going up hill and not enough and the 2" will poke through.
Most around me will use 3/8 clean if the driveway is flat. Looks really nice. I'm on a good grade and 3/8 would wash out in some of the downpours we get here.
The faster you can get the water off the driveway, the better IMO.
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Old 08-22-2019, 08:01 PM   #17
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Re: Driveway Grade


If you can get recycled concrete that makes a great base. Once it's packed in it's almost like concrete again. It's about as cheap as you can get, at least around here it is. Some even meets DOT specs.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:59 PM   #18
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Re: Driveway Grade


Clean stone and the "significant incline/decline" do not work together very well.

I would stick with the crusher run only and not top dress those areas. Without the benefit of the fines, the stone will never set and will cause traction issues, washboards and dips. That is, the stone that stays on the slope and does not end up at the bottom from the repeated trips up and down.

However, if you have a spendy client, look into geocell. That may just be the cats ass for the inclines.


If you don't already have a somewhat solid base as a starting point, the fabric will get displaced by a loaded dump truck backing over it. Even while tailgating the stone. But, if you already have a good driveway as a starting point without any soft spots, you could probably forgo the fabric.

Last edited by acro; 08-23-2019 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 08-24-2019, 05:00 AM   #19
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Re: Driveway Grade


Quote:
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So do you guys end up excavating it all out, and replacing with engineered fill, or is that where the fabric comes in, just laid over the topsoil, and a thick bed of rock put down?
Have to core out the topsoil, down to clay. Usually it is 1 to 2' deep. I was talking to a trucker. He hauled rock. He said there was a highway in Illinois that had topsoil 6' deep.

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