Installing a new paved driveway on your property will increase the value of your home and also provide a paved area for you and for your vehicles to drive and park. When installing a paving area, it is important to build its foundation and structure in a manner that will give it the durability, drainage properties, and long life you need. Here are some tips to help you install a solid foundation for your asphalt-paved and gravel-paved driveway surfaces.
Asphalt Foundation Installation
Before you can begin to pour any asphalt onto your driveway's site, you will need to excavate topsoil with a Bobcat or skid steer from the area to provide space to lay the appropriate thickness of gravel. Depending on the type of soil you have in the area, you may need to excavate a greater depth of topsoil to increase the depth of gravel base for your driveway to help water runoff and drainage to occur below the surface of your driveway.
You have an option to hire a soil testing engineer professional to check the drainage in the soil on your driveway's site. This is recommended when you are installing a long driveway or a driveway that will span a large area on your property. If you are installing a small driveway and will be able to check the soil for yourself, as you can check various sections of soil over the site to make sure the soil's quality does not vary.
To complete a soil check yourself, moisten the soil in an area with your garden hose, so it is just wet but not muddy. Take a handful of soil in your fist, squeezing it into a clump, then release the clump of soil. If the clump crumbles apart in your hand, your soil contains sandy and has better drainage quality. If the soil stays clumped together, your soil contains more clay and is a lower drainage quality.
To increase the drainage of clay-containing soil, it is recommended to install an eight-inch layer of crushed gravel onto the site. Excavate the soil to provide this depth, and compact the base of the soil to create a level foundation. For well-draining, sandy soil, you will only need to install four inches of crushed gravel over the well-compacted foundation. It is important to use crushed gravel, which has angular sides and will help the gravel grip one another and create a durable layer when you compact it with a compacting machine or roller. Now you are ready to have the asphalt poured on your driveway.
Gravel Foundation Installation
Gravel is an affordable material you can use to build a well-draining driveway on your property. The layers of gravel you install from the foundation of the site will help give your driveway many years of use.
First, you will need to excavate 12 inches of soil from the site to provide space to install the gravel layers. Level and compact the base foundation soil. If you are using a skid steer or a Bobcat, leveling the site should be easy.
The first layer of gravel should be approximately four inches thick and consists of the largest size on the gravel driveway with each chunk approximately the size of your fist or a grapefruit. This gravel needs to have angular edges, which will help the chunks of rock grip at one another to create the strong foundation you need. The second layer of gravel is also four inches thick and is built up of a layer of golf ball-sized gravel. Compact this onto the bottom layer of gravel, then, you can install the top four-inch layer of 3/4-inch sized gravel. This gravel does not need to be angular, as it will provide aesthetics to your gravel driveway's surface.
Use these tips to help you prepare and install a well-draining foundation for your asphalt or gravel driveway.