How to Stabilize a Gravel Driveway
Gravel driveways are less expensive to build than most other types of drive, but they require more care than more secure pavement types. Almost any gravel drive will develop ruts over time, and simply filling the ruts with fresh gravel each year will not cause the problems go away. Your gravel drive will be secure only if it stays on a stable basis.
Suitable Compaction and Installation
The layers of the driveway beneath the topmost layer of gravel supply most of the drive’s firmness and support, therefore structure of a secure driveway begins with a properly prepared bed for the gravel. The very best long-term solution for drive stabilization involves digging down 8 to 12 inches below the surface of the driveway, removing all roots and Stump Removal material, and thoroughly compacting the soil using a plate compactor or roller. On top of this compacted sub-grade layer, put down a 4-inch layer of coarse gravel. Compact this layer as well. The top layer of gravel should go down just following the sub-grade and sub-base levels are set up and completely compacted.
If proper sub-grade preparation isn’t the reason for your driveway’s deterioration, then consider taking away the gravel layers and putting down a layer of geotextile driveway fabric in addition to the sub-grade layer, then replacing the gravel. This type of fabric will keep the sub-base and surface gravel layers separate in the sub-grade level and reduce the formation of ruts and potholes. The fabric allows water to drain from the surface into the sub-grade soil.
Plastic stabilizer panels supply the layer-separation ability of drive fabrics, but they also help maintain the surface layer of gravel in place and prevent washout in the drive. The panels typically consist of a rigid honeycomblike structure made from polypropylene and backed with a geotextile fabric. The panels sit on top of the sub-base, along with the surface layer of gravel goes over the top of the panel; the gravel fills the honeycomb and is locked in place. Besides holding the gravel, the honeycomb bears some of the load of vehicles on the drive, which helps to further reduce rutting.
A barrier along the border of the drive will help to keep gravel where it’s supposed to be. Although you wo not wish a high-profile curb or border along the sides of the drive, a slightly concave or humped concrete curb will lessen migration of gravel out of the drive. Edging the driveway using natural stone or brick pavers may also help keep the gravel from moving, as long as you integrate them as opposed to seat them at the top.