What Is A Driveway Base?
The driveway base is the most important part of the entire structure. The base acts to support the upper levels of the driveway. When pressure is applied to the asphalt for example, the pressure is transferred through it and onto the base layer.
Generally speaking, the base layer is the first layer of material to actually go into the excavated land. This layer should be place upon soil that has already been compacted with either a soil compactor or a tamper.
What is Driveway Base Made Of?
The best base material that you can use is crushed gravel. But why?
- It is super cheap – Crushed gravel is probably one of the cheapest materials out there that you can purchase and still act as a solid material in your driveway.
- It allows for filtration – The natural jaggedness of the gravel allows for small micro gaps to form in the base layer. This means that any water that does seep into it is filtered through.
Another awesome material that I recommend is Con-Bit. This is basically recycled concrete and asphalt mixed together for the sole purpose of becoming a base layer on your driveway.
How Do I Make My Base Layer?
It’s actually pretty straightforward. The base layer should be about half the size of the actually driveway. This means the base layer you set down should reach up to about half the excavated land in the driveway. However, if this is still a bit confusing, a solid 4-8 inches of base layer is usually sufficient.
After laying it down, you want to go over it with a soil compactor. The best thing to do is lay the base layer in stages. Once the first stage is complete, go over it with the soil compacted.
I advise running over the surface about 8 times. This insures that all the gaps are closed up and the base is as sturdy as possible. Remember, the base layer of your driveway is going to have to be sturdy enough to support the rest of the material let alone other vehicles.
Once you finish the first instalment, lay down another coat and repeat the compaction process. This makes the base layer as sturdy as it can possibly be.
If you need want to get the whole run down on how to build a driveway, check this out.
The most common issues I find with driveway base layers are the following:
- Wrong Gravel – A lot of the time people will use a material that is simply to thick to act as a proper base. If the rocks are to big , there will be gaps and when there are gaps, there is movement. When the base layer moves around, this can cause the asphalt or concrete on the surface to break up and crumble.
- Poor Compaction – When the base layer is not compacted enough, it becomes very vulnerable to erosion. When a lot of water creeps in through the surrounding land of soil, over time it will erode base layer. This can sometimes take up to three years depending on how much rain you get, but believe me, it will happen over time.