Maininting Your Gravel Driveway

Posted: May 27, 2019 by Stephanie Schade

Many homes in Bucks County have gravel driveways. Gravel is a great choice in many cases, especially for long, winding or sloped drives. Maintaining your gravel driveway can keep it looking good and will save wear and tear on your car.

1.    Get the stats –This table is a great help in maintaining your gravel drive.


How to Calculate the Amount of Gravel in Cubic Yards

Ideal thickness = 3”-8”

1. Length x width x desired thickness

2. Divide the resulting number by 27 to obtain the cubic yards

3. Add 4% to the number of cubic yards to compensate for compaction.

 How to Calculate the Percentage of Grade

Ideal  = 2% - 5%

Divide the elevation by the horizontal length, then multiply by 100


2.    When buying gravel for fill – The best gravel for your driveway will be about as big as a pea, c. ¼”, and have sharp edges. Large or flat gravel pieces or smooth, roundish rocks cause problems such as pits. The pea-sized gravel tends to clump when pressed down by a tire, which is helpful.


3.    The “quick fix” approach to gravel driveway maintenance – Over time, your gravel drive will inevitably develop potholes. You can get a pick and shovel and even out the gravel, then tap it down, but this solution leaves a weak area that will only produce another pothole in the same place. And it won’t take long for it to reappear, either (hence the term “quick fix”).


4.    Long-term solutions to gravel driveway maintenance – Long-term repair solutions all have to do with big tools and heavy machinery. If you fix it yourself, these approaches require buying, renting, or borrowing machinery that can spread and compact gravel to form a smooth surface and reduce loose layers of rock. You can hire this project out, and spare yourself the trouble of collecting a tractor, chain harrow, grader blade, box scraper, etc.


5.    The proper care and feeding of a pothole –Potholes can be a pretty serious problem. Your best bet is to widen the pothole by taking out the entire section, then fill in the hole with layers of gravel, compacting each as you go.


6.    Water woes – Water can wreak havoc anywhere, especially with gravel driveways. If you’re seeing consistent problems with ruts, washouts, and birm, your driveway probably has drainage issues. The solution is either to add enough gravel to make your drive higher than the areas surrounding it, or to install a culvert or ditch to pull the water away from the place where it flows over the gravel and compromises it.


7.    Snow plow damage – If you use a snow plow you can expect your gravel driveway to be unrecognizable the next time the sun comes out. Make sure you take steps to move the gravel that has been pulled outward by the snow plow, back toward the middle section of your drive.

Consider excavation – An extremely rutted gravel drive with weeds and a sub-grade that’s unstable should be redone completely. Trying to fix it at this point would simply be a waste of time.

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