The Top 5 Mistakes Homeowners Make When Building A Gravel Driveway
If your gravel driveway is looking tired or damaged then you probably already know that it’s time to replace it. But where do you start?
If you’re like many homeowners, you may have your heart set on a gravel driveway. It’s a cost effective option, and if done right, can be aesthetically pleasing too.
But most people assume a gravel driveway is a simple and cheap solution that doesn’t take a whole lot of planning.
They’re wrong. They DO require careful planning.
Read on and we’ll walk you through the five biggest mistakes homeowners make when building a gravel driveway so you can avoid making the same costly mistakes.
Mistake #1 – Failing To Plan Your Gravel Driveway Build
The first mistake many homeowners make is when they’re planning out their gravel driveway. Many people assume that laying a gravel driveway is as simple as clearing a section of garden and spreading out a bunch of gravel.
But there is much more to it than that. You need to ask yourself:
- How long is it going to be?
- How wide is it going to be?
- Is it a simple square driveway or will it have curves?
- How many square feet of stone will I need?
- How much underlay will I need?
You won’t just need gravel to build your driveway. Depending on the type and quality of your base soil you may need to remove a layer of soil and replace it with builders sand in order to make sure you get adequate stability from compaction.
You will also need to have a base layer of crushed stone to add support to your driveway and help promote adequate drainage, before you finish the surface with a layer of gravel.
If you are building a square driveway then your calculations will most likely be fairly simple. However if it’s going to be a more complex design, speaking to an expert is a better move to you make sure you get the right amount of materials to finish the job.
Mistake #2 – Buying Gravel From Inexperienced Suppliers
Once you’ve worked out how much material you are going to need, it’s time to find a reputable supplier.
While going to your local Home Depot or Lowes may seem like the easy option, it will inevitably end up costing you more. They are good for small patch jobs, but if you want solid advice and great materials, nothing beats going straight to the source.
Try to find a local sand and stone supplier. Even better, find suppliers that operate their own quarries.
They’ll help you avoid inflated prices and are experts in the materials they supply. If you tell them what you are doing and what you need, they’ll be able to steer you in the right direction and make recommendations based on your local conditions and requirements.
Mistake #3 – Fail To Excavate And Prepare Your Gravel Driveway Surface Properly
Laying any kind of driveway needs proper preparation of the surface before pouring a single stone. A poorly prepared surface leads to problems which will impact both the appearance and the life of your driveway, such as:
- Softspots from poor compaction which lead to potholes over time
- Roots from trees breaking through the gravel layer
- Weeds sprouting all through the surface
Digging up and disposing of anything that can affect the driveway will make pouring and compacting the stone later much easier.
It will also increase its lifespan. Adding an underlayer can help to prevent weeds from breaking through and reduce the amount of maintenance needed.
Mistake #4 – Not Compacting Your Gravel Layer The Right Way
When it’s time to pour the gravel many homeowners go ahead and try to save money by doing it themselves. The problem is if you don’t pour the stone right it will lead to major issues later on.
For example, if you don’t raise the middle of the driveway ever so slightly, you could have drainage issues when it rains.
Water pooling in great big puddles in the middle and sides will loosen the rock underneath, making the problem worse overtime. Eventually you’ll need to either patch the driveway (which never looks great) or rip up and redo it entirely (which is extremely expensive).
After the pour, make sure you compact the gravel itself. If you don’t, loose gravel and dust will fly everywhere anytime a bit of wind kicks up or you drive your car across the surface.
This not only makes a mess, with dust settling on the windows of your home or other vehicles nearby, but also increasing the risk of a cracked windshield if another car is following you up the driveway.
Even worse, you could injure someone if they happen to be walking nearby as you drive past and flick a stone into their face.
There is also a risk of your driveway simply washing away if you it’s not compacted adequately – so please do yourself a favor and make sure you compact the final layer properly the first time.
Mistake #5 – Not Working With A Gravel Driveway Specialist
Doing this kind of work without an expert can lead to a host of problems, taking up a ton of your time and still leaving you with a poor end result.
An expert with experience in gravel driveways can help you:
- Clear the surface quickly and easily
- Compact the surface to building code standards
- Pour the Gravel for you, saving you time and hassle
- Compact the final gravel pour so your gravel doesn’t just wash away.
- Provide a guarantee on their work
Why take the risk and do the work yourself and spend weeks on your new driveway, when you can get an expert to build it for you in a matter of days?
Contact The Experts
Here at Texas Bobcat Services we provide professional earth-moving services that specialize in preparing and laying gravel driveways that will last for many years.
Contact us now for a free no obligation consultation and find out how we can help you build your perfect driveway.