Gravel is one of the most common and cheap driveway construction materials. t is a highly cost-effective method of building driveways and is also valued for its ability to let the water runoff its surface. Building gravel driveways, however, is a tedious task although not rocket science. You can even do it yourself with a little guidance and help. Below we will present the easiest steps for laying down a cheap gravel driveway.
How to lay Gravel Driveways?
- Removal of the existing layer/base
- Creation of a sub-base
- Laying down weed membrane for weed growth prevention
- Choosing your gravel
- Calculating the required amount of gravel.
- Laying your gravel
Removal of the existing layer/base
Whenever carrying out any construction project, the first thing to do is prepare the ground for construction. This will include clearing any other unnecessary structures and digging followed by more digging. Why do we say that? that’s because digging is probably going to be the toughest as well as the most time-consuming step in the whole process of driveway construction. You have to Remove the current base to reveal a firm ground below. Make sure that you do not damage any utilities such as gas pipes, electric connections, drainage, etc. If your driveway size is too large, you may want to hire a proper construction team with the right machines.
Creating a sub-base
Gravel driveways usually consist of three layers. The gravel, weed membrane, and sub-base. The sub-base will be supporting all the weight of the gravel driveway and therefore is of utmost significance. Laying the sub-base properly will also ensure that you have a uniform surface without any bumps. The best way to build a sub-base is by using various sizes of aggregates compacted together. These can be easily procured from the market and are often called MOT Type 1. The important thing is to get the thickness/amount of the base right. Typically, a 50 mm deep layer is considered sufficient for a durable and uniform gravel driveway. To get the right amount of MOT Type 1, simply calculate the surface area of your driveway. The usual consumption is one bulk bag for every 10 square meters if you are laying a 50 mm deep layer. Another important thing to remember is slope creation. You do not want water or mud puddles standing for long in your driveway. If you do not know how to create a slope, you should get expert help.
Gravel can also be layered on top of the firm soil without using anything else. Gravel driveways go a long way and are highly durable. But one problem which is common to both gravel and block paved driveways is weed growth. However, if you get the right membrane and lay it appropriately, you can say goodbye to weed problems. The membrane is sandwiched between the sub-base and the gravel layer. The entire surface area should be covered and pegged into position. The most suitable membrane for driveways is polypropylene and you can easily get them from the market. The insertion of the membrane will not make a considerable difference to your gravel driveway cost.
Choosing your gravel
You will find a large variety of gravel for driveway construction. We recommend a decorative variety that should be angular and hard-wearing. The recommended size ranges from 14mm to 20mm which would be sufficient for creating the perfect driveway surface. The 14mm size will give your driveway a smooth appearance while the 20 mm size will give it a textured look. It is not recommended to use pebbles because they tend to move around every time a car is driven over them. Shingle is much better than pebbles. You can also choose hard-wearing stones such as quartz, Basalt, or Granite. Do not go for the cheapest gravel for driveways, instead, choose one that serves the purpose and is long-lasting.
Calculate the required amount of gravel
Measure the entire driveway area as precisely as you can. Measure the length and the width. Multiple them with each other to calculate the driveway. For instance, if the length of your driveway is 3 metres and the width is 5 metres, then the required area to be covered is 15m². As a generally accepted rule, one bulk bag of gravel will cover 10m² if the depth is 50mm. Gravel calculators are also available online on numerous websites which can help you calculate the required amount. A problem may arise in measurement if your driveway is oddly shaped. In that case, you will have to use a little bit of Geometry. Break down your entire surface area into sections with the same shape, calculate their area and add them up for calculating the total surface area of your driveway.
How to build driveways with gravel?
Flat driveways will hardly experience a high movement of gravel. However, if your driveway is situated on a sloping surface you might experience a relatively higher movement of gravel every time a car drives over it. This issue can be resolved by using gravel grids. These grids provide a base system for laying down gravel and prevent the shifting of gravel. If however, you chose not to use gravel grids then simply toss all your gravel on the base layer. Rake it into place and ensure a 50 mm deep layer. Rinse the gravel to reveal its true colours if you have chosen a decorative variety. Enjoy your new gravel driveway.
Grave driveway benefits
- Highly affordable and cost-effective especially for large areas.
- Low to no maintenance is required.
- They provide highly effective drainage and save your driveway from puddles.
- Gravel driveways require little expertise to build.
- Gravel makes a distinct noise when someone walks over it and will keep you alert towards troublemakers.
- Once in a while carry out raking of your gravel driveway to ensure that there is no compacted gravel. Remove unwanted leaves, debris, and garbage to keep your driveway in the best of shapes.
- Spray weed killers in all areas which are prone to weed growth, although the weed membrane should be sufficient to prevent this sometimes the wind can carry seeds and weeds can grow anywhere.
- Top up the gravel driveway with fresh gravel if you feel that the quantity of gravel has reduced/shifted over time. Keep an extra gravel bag in your store.
What is the ideal quantity of Gravel for a driveway?
Calculate the surface area of the driveway by multiplying its length by its width. General practice is to lay down a layer with a depth of 50mm and one bulk bag of gravel will be sufficient to cover an area of 10m².
What is the ideal depth for a gravel driveway?
If you are using gravel size of 20 mm the recommended depth is 50 mm. For the sub-layer using MOT Type-1, the recommended depth is 150mm.
Is Gravel available in different colours and shapes?
Yes, gravel is easily available in numerous designs, shapes, and colours at highly affordable prices. Even the cheapest gravel for driveways comes in different colours.
Is it costly building a gravel driveway?
Gravel driveways are highly common around the world, primarily because of their high affordability. The total cost of your gravel driveway will depend on the size of your driveway, type of gravel, and transport charges.