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Old 05-27-2011, 09:21 PM
Acorn
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Western N.C. Mountains
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Need Advice on best base for pea gravel driveway

I'm landscaping my self-designed house in a golf community in the mountains of North Carolina and want to use pea gravel to surface the large level parking area in front of my house, which the actual driveway will pass through. (The house sits high aboved the road with an asphalt driveway up to it). I've been told by many that pea gravel, even with a good base, will shift, rut, mound, roll, etc. under car wheels. The house is in a fairly high-end locale with most houses having stamped concrete driveways.

What's the best way to construct a base under the actual driveway surface where our cars will repeatedly drive over the pea gravel?

I've been told a good compacted crushed stone and gravel base will be fine, but others have suggested a layer of asphalt, or even concrete with pea gravel aggregate exposed.

Is there a best "engineering" practice for this kind of thing? All kinds of advice gratefully accepted.

Thanks,

John
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Old 05-27-2011, 09:56 PM
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I have a pea gravel driveway. Some observations:

Pea gravel is round. It will never "knit" together on it's own. It moves around.

It moves into the landscaped beds, lawn, onto the walks, into the garage.

It moves even faster if you have children or snowplow your driveway. I'm not sure how a snowblower does on it...

If you have a sticky base, such as clay, it will pack into it a bit. If you make it really thick it's uncomfortable to walk in and your vehicles will make ruts in it.

I do like my driveway- I like the crunch sound it makes and the way it looks.

Just be aware...

Angular aggregate such as stone dust/decomposed granite or limestone packs together much better and doesn't travel off site as much.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:24 PM
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We're talking about 2 different types of pea gravel here.

Down here in Carolina, the pea gravel will compact like a rock screenings but may erode over time due to heavy rains, improper drainage, etc.. But, it's easy enough to fill in the little trouble spots when they occur.
It's not a round gravel that you can kick all over your property. We use it around our shop area in some spots and it makes a suitable parking area. We will occasionally use it for wooded walking paths since it is a very natural looking material. I would use a base of crusher run / ABC and compact it real good. I would then install the pea gravel over the top, grade it properly and compact it. There's really not much more you can do to it from my experience.
Definitely cheaper than concrete.
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Old 05-27-2011, 10:55 PM
Acorn
 
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I have to agree withe everyone elso that this type of stone is not great if you want it to stay put. You can get products such as bopaver which i won't go into due to the time to take to explane them but if you google it you will learn more. Pricey way to do it though.

The way i do it in Australia is as follows when clients have a little extra extra to spend

- Excavate the area to reduced depth of 125mm
- Find out your most useful area to dissapate the runnoff water to
- Excavate trench through middle of driveaway to 150mm and drop in a socked agline and run to useful runnoff area
- Fill with drainage gravel i.e cheap recycled concrete
- Spread 75 - 100mm roadbase over entire area and shape to fall slightly (line fall is adequate) towards middle and compact well with compactor
- Now lay the whole area with geotech filter fabric and pin down ( this allows for the gravel to stay seperated from the base and also provides some stabilization to the base to eliminate major tire tracks etc
- Spread out 75mm of pea gravel and level as required and the give a light roll with a turf roller just to concolidate the area.

And there you have it a slightly more expensive way but gives the job that extra longevity. you won't need to top it up as often, maybe just a rake to level every know and then. and most of your sub surface water will get picked up by the ag line instead of running the length of driveawy taking most of your valuable pea gravel with it.

Hope this helps
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Old 05-27-2011, 11:08 PM
Acorn
 
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Sorry i forgot to mention that the Ashphalt or concrete idea doesn't sound that bad untill you look into the drainage implications.

- all surface water travell through gravel and hit the concrete/ashphalt then play the slippery slide and take the gravell with it to where ever your fall is on the driveway slab.

If you are going to go to the extra expense of doing concrete then you should really look at that product i mentioned called bodpave. I have quoted to do this method on a job which i did not get. It is a very strong product creating a near no maintenance gravel driveway but as mentioned at the extra cost.

You are basically paving the whole driveway with these sqaures and then introducing the gravel.

You may just want to check with the manufacturer to weather pea gravel will be compatable with it.
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Old 05-28-2011, 09:51 PM
Acorn
 
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More Info, Opinions Requested and Thanks! (Long post -sorry!)

I chose pea gravel for 3 reasons; It's colors are identical to the stones I used on the front elevation of my house; I will have a natural wildscaped lot with broomsedge and wildflowers surrounded by existing 15-20' high rhodies, mountain laurel and mature forest on all sides; the level part of my driveway will pass through a large level space that I want to cover with pea gravel anyway, including paths into the yard and woods and 3-5' wide on both side of the driveway. I wish I could post a pic!

The area is level and already graded to drain to the top of the rip-rap and river-rock covered drainage ditches running down the sides of the asphalt driveway. The only kids will be my five chandchildren who will visit frequently, it doesn't snow much and I'll never have to plow it because I still couldn't get down the long twisting steep driveway, and if I did, I couldn't get anywhere else - and don't need to; I retired last 4th of July; Independence Day!

I really just need to convince the community Design Review Board that it will work and won't rut and look bad - even though nobody but me and my visitors will ever see it. They made required one neighbor to put down asphalt and then a tacky asphalt surface that the holds the pea gravel so it doesn't move - but it looks pretty tacky, - pea gravel imbedded in black tar that shows through.

So I'm thinking of going with the compacted crush and run, the heavy fabric so the layers don't move and mix and then the pea gravel. One thing I haven't solved - how do I keep the pea gravel from starting to roll down the driveway with car tires? I'm thinking of something like a cattle crossing grate, where the gravel would fall through the slots and I clean it out occasionally. Please post your opinions of my plans so that I can show them to the august group - in June ; ) Thanks All! John
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:14 PM
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Wise Old Oak
 
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I have to admit my mistake on my previous post. I was in the middle of some other paperwork and thought you were talking about PIT gravel, not Pea gravel. Little difference there.
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Old 05-29-2011, 06:37 AM
Acorn
 
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Location: Will county IL.
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Just order concrete with pea gravel as the aggregate, pour it out spray retarder on the surface finish it as normal....... Come back and preassure spray the surface after a few hours. Whamo-------exposed aggrigate. You have the looks of a stone drive but with the advantages of a hard surface.
Thats a pretty popular finish at the gas stations where I'm from.
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Old 05-29-2011, 07:58 AM
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I don't know...the pea gravel will slide down the hill with any kind of movement on it. You'll be digging the pit out often.

It also sticks in tire treads and shoes. We have to regrade ours once a year and our driveway is a flat circle. It moves to the outside of the curve and edges of the straight away.

The concrete with expose aggregate is a good idea for the hill part of your driveway- it would keep the gravel from moving out to the road as well.
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:16 AM
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Another vote against the pea gravel for a driveway. Especially if you're on a slope. We have some neighbors who have a pea gravel drive, that's set on the slightest of inclines. If it were any other surface I'd basically call it flat. Everytime it rains he's out there with a snow shovel scooping the washed out gravel off the sidewalk and back into the drive, rakes it out, and then all over again the next storm.

Major hassle. And it doesn't take much rain at all to start rutting out.

When I do stone driveways, I usually go with a 3/4" drain gravel, something with a little bit of a rough finish so it will bind together. If color is a concern, check with a few different suppliers in the area. It seems like a lot of the suppliers have their own source for basic drain rock from different quarries, and I've seen colors ranging from almost black to chalky white to beiges to grays. The transition to the pea gravel paths whouldn't be a big deal, and I think you'll be quite glad you don't have to spend your new retirement continuously fixing your driveway.
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Old 05-30-2011, 04:18 PM
Acorn
 
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Location: Western N.C. Mountains
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OK, Guys. Thanks!

I'm gonna get some quotes for concrete with exposed pea gravel aggregate for the actual driveway through the parking area, and then just use pea gravel for the other 50% of the area. More expensive but I think it will work best and look almost as good as all pea gravel.

Thanks for all your advice -you changed my mind and that's hard to do! ; )

I love all these specialized sites; I get the best advice for the best price!

John
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Old 06-02-2011, 05:35 PM
Acorn
 
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I'm Baaack ; ( ....; )

OK, so the local concrete driveway contractors around here don't like to lay concrete with pea gravel exposed because they have had problems with complaints that the pea gravel aggregate separates from the surface eventually. Obviously it is the "cream" that holds the "raisins" in place, and whn you wash away some of the "cream" the "raisins" can more easily get loose.

Soo, as I was simultaneously researching epoxy resins for another project, I ran into an article about how Fed and State Departments of Transportation are reducing accidents by creating "high-friction surfaces" that are sharp aggregates bonded to the surface of concrete by "patented epoxy binders".

So my concept is now to lay asphalt (cheaper than concrete" and then get some of the epoxy binder and "glue" the pea gravel to the surface.

I'd appreciate any thoughts you guys may have on this concept.

Thanks,

John
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:34 PM
Acorn
 
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Location: Will county IL.
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They must be some really piss pour advisors and contractors doing this work........ IL. has some of the most harsh weather, freeze thaw cycles, and use's the most harsh ice controll chemicals through out the country. I have'nt encounterd any problems, or seen any problems.... Maybe its just the particular ag that there useing.
Spray it with siloxane afterwords and I'll guarentee you shouldnt have any problems. Anything beats the hell out of rakeing stone dailey, like taking care of a sand trap at the golf coarse,,,,,,,never ending and a pain in the a$$.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:54 PM
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Wise Old Oak
 
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I've seen quite a few pool decks textured with the aggregate and they all seem to be holding up fine. The gravel was broadcast across the surface at just the right time in the curing process and trowel into the curing concrete, I believe. Looks awesome, a litte more price involved but I can't see how any of the aggregate would come loose.
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:18 AM
Acorn
 
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OK, I'll keep calling other contractors...

and also look into the epoxy binders

John
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