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Karee 2018-04-03 03:12 PM

Whether to compact the driveway
Hello everyone,

first off this is a great discussion forum. Learned a lot about houses and the buying process.

I will be taking over the possession of a newly built home in October of 2018. I don't think the driveway will be paved with asphalt until spring/summer of 2019.

I have 2 questions and looking forward to your opinions / expertise:

1. Would it be a good/bad idea to rent a plate compactor in spring 2019 and do a proper compacting before the builder lays asphalt (here the assumption is that the builder will not do a proper compacting job).

2. While there's no asphalt would it be a good idea to lay some interlocks in front of the garage and by the lawn (decorative purposes)? I'd probably cover it with plastic when it's paved to avoid damage. The purpose is to save time/effort from re-digging and removal of the finished driveway.

Ideas/opinions appreciated.

GregS 2018-04-03 05:16 PM

Way back when my driveway actually sunk about 1'. I distinctly remember shoveling the sand/rock around to build 'ramps' up to my garage floor so I could get my car in.

It's going to sink. It's going to take a while before it settles.
A compactor can help this along.

BartBandy 2018-04-03 05:24 PM

Your main problem is the subbase. It probably sucks.

The better idea, I think, is give it a year or two of settling and freeze-thaw. Remember that near your home, it's all disturbed soil (backfill). Once the builder is long gone, tear it up, remove the subbase material and some of the native subgrade, install new subbase, compacting in 3-4" lifts, and place sand and interlock or whatever you want.

We've been in for 7 years, and our driveway still moves quite a lot - at least 1" and clise to 2" at one spot. The stone builders use can be full of compressible materials, and there really isn't that much of it. You need quite a good depth to achieve the sort of binding of stones to make a solid subbase. Depends on the area, but I've seen anywhere from 4" to 8" of subbase material used for driveways. You probably have less than 4" now. When I do my driveway, I may dig down 12" depending on where I find the subgrade and how compressible it is.

Rottn 2018-04-03 07:34 PM

A walk behind plate compactor will not do much. To use one of those you need to compact every few inches of base as you go.

They will add base and roll/ pack with a large machine before paving. If its not getting paved for a year and is going through a winter most of the major settling should be done. Its the recently disturbed driveways paved 5 months after the foundation is dug that tend to sink.

I would not do any interlock before paving. There is no way the asphalt contractor will pave with them in place. They will require that they grade and pack themselves before paving, and will likely refuse to pave a driveway graded by others. Your best bet is to either ask for a credit and pave yourself, which the builder may say no, or see if you can ask the builder or one of the site contractors to compact it once before they come and pack and pave.

BrianT 2018-04-03 09:56 PM

I would do it. It's about $90 + taxes (April 2017 pricing) to rent one for the day from Home Depot. You can ask some of your neighbours to see if they would be interested. If you can get five houses, it works out to $18 each. If your driveway does sink in a few years, you can at least say you tried and spending $18 is peanuts.

BartBandy 2018-04-04 10:17 AM

Plate tampers only work for small lifts (layers) of backfill, and are commonly used for final sand layer for interlock and then bedding the newly placed interlock in the sand evenly. The will do nothing for a gravel driveway.

If you want to try to compact the material you have, you'll need a roller. The kind that arrive on a flat bed. I just don't think it's even worth compacting a bad subbase.

Karee 2018-04-09 11:34 AM

Thanks everyone for the ideas.

Halton Home Inspector 2018-04-15 01:16 PM

Not sure about the pavers BUT renting a tamper for the weekend and tamping the days away while levelling the gravel with a garden rake can't hurt. Spraying water on the driveway while you tamp is also helpful.

Level - tamp - level - tamp - level - spray - tamp ,,,, you get the point.

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