gravel drive

15 Apr 2005
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United Kingdom
I am going to be forming a driveway with 10 or 20mm limestone chippings.

I have already excavated to 100mm below grade. The surface is hard soil, and a whacker would do very little to improve it.

Which would be better on a driveway? 10 or 20mm?

How many bulk bags will I need for an area 4.8x4.2 metres?

What barrier should I use between the soil and the gravel? The old drive had a plastic sheet (really crap to dig out and held water). Do I need to do anything to finish the gravel off? Will the weight of the car compact the gravel together? I read that the larger gravel will bind together better over time.

On a related note, will a masonry bit drill a hole in a tarmac pavement? The gates on the drive will open outwards due to the above dimensions, so need to be anchored open while I drive the car in.
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I read somewhere that a bulk bag of limestone chippings would do 20 sq m to a depth of 25mm, so how many bags will depend on how deep you are planning to go with it.

You probably want a sub-base of 100-150mm of MOT 1 and then 50mm of limestone one top of that. You’re going to have to get a wacker anyway, so no harm in wacking the soil underneath before laying the sub-base.

It’s good practice to lay a line of paving at the drive entrance to stop the gravel being dragged onto the path/road.

You can drill into tarmac with a masonry bit, but if that tarmac is on a public footpath the council might not be happy about it.
I'm laying 2 rows of 450mm slabs at the entrance to the drive. They will be bedded on an even layer of sand/ cement. Also help to Anchor the gates closed

Is a Wacker Nessecsry for this job? Near in mind this is a diy job on a tight budget hence the cheap limestone chippings.
As it's only chippings then I would rely on the weight of the car to do the compaction and maybe need to top up with a couple of bags after a time when it has all settled. I would use some barrier mat like this from Screwfix between the soil and chippings.

My preference would be for the larger chippings but down to individual preference really.

Drilling Tarmac with a masonry bit shouldn't be a problem as it's fairly soft anyway.
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Agree with the weedbarrier, but disagree with using a car to do the compaction as you’ll just end up getting two grooves where the wheels of the car will normally run over.

Medium sized wacker is on half-price offer at HSS through May, so it’s only £22 for a weekend.

Appreciate that we all have budgets to work to, but it’s not a bit expense in the big scheme of things and you’ll be must better off with a solid base for your drive.
Agree with the weedbarrier, but disagree with using a car to do the compaction as you’ll just end up getting two grooves where the wheels of the car will normally run over.

Agreed but as the chippings are loose laid it is a simple job to level them out or add another couple of bags to level up again.
Not really, because the chippings and the sub-base will be pushed sideways (as well as downwards) by the tyres, so unless you get a solid base to start with you will continually need to add more chippings.

This will be compounded by things such as different sized vehicles, heavy rainfall.

Much easier to compact it all to start with for an extra £20ish quid and a few extra hours of graft and be happy that will more likely stay put in the future.
Apologies for semi-hijacking, but Steve did ask this in his OP.

I'm aiming to do the same and I'd read that 20mm was best for drives because it wouldn't get stuck in the average tyre groove. So, I guess the answer for Steve is 20mm?
For me, though, we have two extremes of cars; a Fiat 500 with daft little thin-profile tyes, and a pickup truck with mud tyres. Will 20mm get stuck in the truck's tyres? Is there any disadvantage to going with bigger gravel?
bigger gravel needs a deeper layer to give full coverage. But it will stay cleaner than 10mm

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