Driveways play a surprisingly large part in the lives of our homes. They are used not only day-to-day by the household, but also by family and friends. Beyond cars, driveways are centers for yard work, rally points for parties, and for a place for child with chalk anything they want to. Your driveway is a big part of your home’s beauty and curb appeal. Just as a cracked and worn driveway speaks of neglect, a new driveway can add significant curb appeal and become an asset all its own.
If you’re looking for a way to make your driveway stand out, instead of a concrete or asphalt driveway, think about installing a paver or brick driveway instead. Not only are these much more eye-catching than normal driveways, their semi-permeable nature means that they drain much better than a normal driveway, making them more environmentally friendly. However, driveways are a much larger than a path or patio, and requires a lot of excavation and leveling to having something that will hold up to the weather and heavy automobiles. This project is going to require some heavy machinery, especially with the removal of the old driveway. Below we’ll outline the process for pavers. Bricks follow a similar process.
You’ll need three major types of materials for the project: the base flayer, the bedding layer, and the pavers themselves. In addition, edgers will probably be required to hold the pavers in place. Sharp-edged crushed stone, such as washed crushed stone ASTM No. 2, will be the base layer, while a fine aggregate like No. 8 for the top. We go into more detail about base materials in another blog. For pavers it’s all about what color and style you want, and if you want to go with brick or concrete. It’s important to note that concrete can be colored and patterned, so it’s worth a second look.
Just like with a house, a driveway needs a good foundation. Without it, the driveway is much more likely to be damages with soil erosion, and the pavers will sink into the ground with a car resting on them. You need a nice solid layer of fill underneath, and depending on soil testing, will have to dig at least a foot deep, deeper if your soil drains poorly.
The Base Layer
Washed crushed stone such as ASTM No. 2 is similar in appearance to gravel, but the harder edges and larger variety in size (2 1/2″ – 3/4″) allows it to lock together, with a little help from a plate compactor. This will fill most of the depth of the driveway, at least half a foot. Over this, at least an inch deep, a finer layer, such as ASTM No. 57 is used (57 is about 3/4″) for a more regular finish.
The Bedding Layer
Over this is the fine aggregate such as No. 8. Much like you might use sand to finish off a patio, this layer is placed over the rougher base layer, and then planed smooth. No. 8 is about a quarter of an inch at maximum, but has more stability than stand.
Pavers should be laid starting at the lowest corner, working out. There’s a good chance that when taking measurements for the driveway, that additional pieces will need to be cut to make the dimensions fit. The whole pavers are placed first, and then the partials.
Final Fill and Tamp
Pavers naturally leave gaps for drainage. As the last two steps, more aggregate is swept to fill in these gaps. After they are filled, the plate compactor makes another appearance. Both sweeping and compacting should be done diagonally as to not upset any of the set pavers.
That’s the basic rundown on a paver installation for a driveway. Interested in learning more? Take a look at our driveways page. If it’s a driveway, landscaping, grading, demolition, excavation, foundation, or any other heavy duty project, contact New England Enterprises for a full consultation, including all the options and a plan.