Packing down gravel driveway?


Old 08-10-19, 03:34 PM
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Packing down gravel driveway?

I have a gravel driveway/parking area, not very long, roughly 35x50. I think whoever installed it used the wrong gravel - looks like cleaned 3/4 crushed granite with no sand or dust or anything to hold it together. It's probably about 6" deep in a lot of areas. The problem is it's like soft sand - everything sinks into it and leaves big tracks. I can smooth it back out again but it won't last. It's almost impossible to back up a car without slinging some gravel.

What should I do to fix this? I'm thinking if I used some kind of plate compactor it wouldn't help, because there is just nothing to hold the gravel together. Can I sprinkle a mix of sand/cement over it? Or should I skip trying to use cement and do something else?
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Old 08-10-19, 10:52 PM
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looks like cleaned 3/4 crushed granite
The crushed granite sounds good, but from your description the base of the drive is soft causing the material to move/sink.

Adding cement of sand probably isn't going to do much but add to the mess, sounds like you need to dig it up and get a thicker base of crushed stone!
Old 08-11-19, 02:26 AM
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I'm afraid Marq is right. 6" is awfully thick for small gravel, when the base is soft or needs to be built up like that you need to start with larger rock.
Old 08-11-19, 04:55 AM
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You really need to know what is under that gravel. I have tried to compact gravel on top of poor soil and clay and it just keeps sinking especially during the rain season. At some point you may need to salvage what gravel you can and then remove a substantial amount of that poor soil, think several feet. Then compact the new fill in 6" layers to the desired depth.

Your soil may not be that bad and that is why you need to do some digging to find out. Sometimes just a post hole digger will do that job.

Old 08-11-19, 02:57 PM
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It has nothing to do with the soil. Nothing is sinking into the dirt. It is a heavy layer of washed/screened stone. There is nothing to hold it together. It's like a layer of soft snow.
Old 08-11-19, 03:08 PM
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Sorry if I offended you by trying to give complete advice. You are there and we are a thousand miles away. Extract what fits and discard the rest.

Stone dust might help but might also get lost trying to fill all of the voids.

Old 08-11-19, 03:27 PM
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Since it's such a thick layer it will be difficult to incorporate fines to help lock everything together. I would get some stone dust and hand sling it in a thin layer over the area. Let it get some use and rain to wash it in. Then re-apply more.

Unfortunately I don't know a way to use machinery to spread the stone dust in a thin and even enough manner with a front end loader. It always comes out too thick which causes it to bridge over the gravel without settling down into it.
Old 08-11-19, 03:42 PM
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I think the best equipment to use would be a skid loader, spreading backward with the bucket after you dump a small pile. And since its all currently clean gravel, (should have been 3/4 minus, which means down to zero) spreading fines on top isn't going to magically produce a solid surface immediately. I'd get a load of 1/4 minus and put it in a pile. Just spread a thin layer on top. Driving on it will shift the base around and the fines will tend to disappear. Then add another thin layer when you feel it needs to be graded again. Each time it will get a little more firm, until you get those fines worked down into the base.

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