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  1. #1
    Gold Member
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    Mar 2003
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    Western, NY
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    Kubota B3200

    Default Building a Gravel Driveway

    We are planning on building a house that will require a 1000ft driveway. I would like to explore building the driveway myself. Could someone tell me some good sources that has information regarding driveway installation? My thought was to excavate down 8" and lay 4" of rip raft and 4" of 3/4" gravel. The lot is somewhat level and drains fair. I want the driveway to be bullet proof and solid. A local excavating company says they would charge ~$15000 for the driveway ($3000 per 200ft). I feel I can do this much cheaper. But I have NO experience building driveways.

  2. #2
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
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    Jun 2000
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    6,235
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    SW Michigan
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    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Building a Gravel Driveway

    I'd say you're on the right track, depending on your subsoil.

    For DIY your biggest expense will be the material hauling. What do you have for removal of the topsoil. That is a job well beyond a CUT unless you have scads of time available. Do you have a dozer or can you rent one?

    [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2003
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    17
    Location
    Eastern Shore Maryland

    Default Re: Building a Gravel Driveway

    I dont think you would benefit from grading down 8 inches. It will save you money not to grade and had the same idea to grade down on a 3/4 mile farm road then lay stone but it turned into a disaster on dead flat land in reguards to drainage. I would recommend the large stones of those found on a construction site. They will give you a rough ride at first however will smooth out and get pressed down over time. If you have seen how a construction site just lays the large stones for dump trucks and equipment trucks thats all i would do and keep it elevated above the rest of the land. Smaller 3/4" stone would help to smooth it out if layed on top.

  4. #4
    Gold Member
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    Mar 2003
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    Western, NY
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    Kubota B3200

    Default Re: Building a Gravel Driveway

    Rob,

    My plan was to rent a dozer. I would stock pile the soil on the lot until all the grading was done. My plan was to build the house "up" a little and take the existing soil and grade around the house. I mentioned the drainage was fair and that's the reason for building the house "up". This way there isn't any issue with water after the house was built. Don't get me wrong, the drainage isn't that bad but during the spring and fall the lot is wet. Not under water just a little more wet then I would like. Nothing a little excavating couldn't fix.

  5. #5
    Super Member RobS's Avatar
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    Jun 2000
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    SW Michigan
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    John Deere 790

    Default Re: Building a Gravel Driveway

    That's kind of what we did. Our drive is 750 feet. They scraped the topsoil to the sides, maybe 4 inches worth. Filled with fist sized stones which we drove on for a while to pack in. Topped with 3/4 inch to fines. Ours is all crushed concrete. Packs well but doesn't look quite as nice as crushed limestone. The topsoil was then graded on each side of the drive. It would have been another big job to relocate it somewhere else on the lot.

    Our house is built up out of the ground quite a bit. We did this for drainage as well as the desire to have the porch raised. The obvious result was having to bring in mountains of soil to properly fill/grade around the house. The amount taken out for the driveway would not have made a dent in what we eventually needed!

    BTW, our soil is very sandy and our property is flat.

    Glad we did it, it's been worth it. Now if only I could scrounge the money to pave that drive [img]/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

  6. #6
    Super Star Member
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    Aug 2001
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    Upper Midwest USA
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    JD 4300, JD X485 JD 4x2 Gator, JD 425, JD455

    Default Re: Building a Gravel Driveway

    "bullet proof and solid" may be the key here, as you likely want the 8" gravel drive sitting on something that isn't going to move around, such as frost heaving where there is water in the subsoil below the gravel.
    When you say"somewhat level and drains fair", those are descriptions that would be warnings for a drive that may not be "bullet proof and solid" in the future.
    If you dig a trough 8" deep in poorly drained clay soil (maybe an extreme for your situation) and fill it with 8" of stone, rock, or whatever, you likely will not have good luck in the future. Frost heaving can tear up about anything. Your local roads will give you fair warning of what you can expect.
    My drive sits on glacial till (terminal morraine of the glacier that left here a few years back and dropped lots of rock and debris with not much clay) and doesn't move between freezing and thawing spells. But drives on clay will move a lot.
    In short, it is going to be difficult to give you a prescription that will fit your situation. Local soil conditions will dictate what you need to do. Possibly find someone who knows how to build a driveway that will work on time and materials would be my recommendation.
    When I was going to put in my drive 35 years ago, I had this idea of where it would go, but hired someone to do it. I couldn't believe what he was doing and where he was going. Ripping out trees that I wanted to leave, and going back on a slope 30' from where the drive was to be. All in all, and in the end, it is a good thing he knew what he was doing (because I sure didn't) and put in a drive that has been great for all this time. The right slope, banking, ditching to keep water away, and base to make a great drive (even better now that I had asphalt laid down a month ago).
    Wish you luck and a great drive. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

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