Base preparation for paver driveway ?

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Old 07-23-15, 01:21 PM
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Base preparation for paver driveway ?

Does anyone know about how deep each layer of the base (crushed stone and sand) for a paver driveway would need to be in Southern California (West L.A.)?

I'm trying to get an estimate in my head for what kind of budget to expect for replacing an old concrete slab and at the moment all I know is the rough square footage. I know the cost of the stones will vary depending on what shape and layout pattern I choose, but the base should be pretty consistent no matter what's on top.
 
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Old 07-23-15, 01:35 PM
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Sand layer is generally just an inch so you can bed the pavers evenly. I would think at least 4" for the compacted base below that but never been involved in a driveway paver project.
 
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Old 07-23-15, 03:01 PM
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8 inches (compacted thickness) is minimum for a driveway that won't see truck traffic, but 12 inches is better. Place and compact in 4 inch lifts max, and wet each lift down before compacting. It also depends on what the soil is like. You don't want any humus or organic matter under the base and may have to go deeper to remove it if you do. You should use geotextile fabric under the base to keep it from gradually sinking into the subsoil. Heavy and hard work. Good luck!
 
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Old 07-24-15, 10:11 AM
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I also think 8" would be minimal for a driveway that you park a vehicle on. But are you sure you want to go with pavers for that use? Several driveways in my neighborhood have used them and they look good. But they were done professionally. Not cheap! They also need yearly up keep. Consider stamp concrete for a similar look. But again the deeper the crushed stone base the better. And compactness is very important. If you can, lay the base and wait a year before laying the pavers or concrete. Park the vehicles as you will when pavers are installed. That way you'll know where the depression will likely be and more stone and compactness will b e needed.
 
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Old 07-24-15, 11:30 AM
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Thanks for the input.

The soil underneath gets to be heavy clay about 4-6" below the surface, judging by the front yard, (according to the inspector, the area used to be a river bed a few hundred years ago) the only stability issue underneath is the seismic issues in L.A. Pretty sure I'm going to have to get the area dug out by a professional crew for a decent and somewhat even bottom over that much area, but would like to lay everything myself. Pretty sure I can find somewhere in the area to rent a power tamper, and I can definitely get some day-labor for hauling all that crushed stone around. Probably the heaviest vehicle this driveway would ever see would be a local mover's box truck, would 9-10" of stone set on hard clay be sufficient for that kind of loading?

I'm not sure I can legally take out the sidewalk and the "ramp" in the curb to the street, so leaving the pavers out for a year for the base to settle isn't an option for me, the gap to the concrete I can't remove would be too dangerous to deal with, even with off-road tires on my truck (and would tear the exhaust off of my sports car).

The reason I want to go with pavers is because of the shifting and cracking which concrete slabs (stamped or otherwise) are subjected to in "earthquake country". Also, I'm not sure if it's the house settling into the ground or seismic issues, but the current slab is now sloped in toward the house foundation with no other drainage in the area. I'd expect pavers filled in with a bit of sand will be more resilient to earthquake damage (and easier to repair) and will at least have a bit better drainage than solid poured concrete.
 
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Old 07-24-15, 02:05 PM
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9-10" should be OK. You mention clay. One thing you have to watch for is expansive soil, and some types of clay fall into this category. Expansive soil can swell and shift a lot when it gets wet and would not be a good sub-soil for pavers. I know soil can be evaluated for this, but am not sure how you go about having that done. Aside from ruling that out, the best thing you can do to minimize later maintenance is to compact the $#@$ out of the base. A small pavement roller (still called steam rollers around here) would be ideal, but a plate compactor will do the job; it will just take a lot longer.

I think pavers can make a nice driveway. Sure there is maintenance, but there is with any surface. You may want to look at permeable pavers that let water through. They are practical in CA where freeze/thaw isn't a big issue. Make sure the pavers you choose are rated for driveway use...a lot of the big box pavers are only suitable for patios.
 
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