Sep 08, 2019
What is the proper way to grade a driveway?

Every home is as unique as the people that live inside of it – down to the seemingly most unnoticeable things.  While many eyes may be drawn to the front yard, entryway, siding, or architecture at Burnaby Blacktop the attention of our experts is always on the driveway.  Vancouver is full of interesting driveways, with no two homes alike.  From asphalt and concrete to gravel driveways there are many possibilities when it comes to the access point of your home.  At Burnaby Blacktop we’ve seen it all and see the value in each different surface option.  Each lot and homeowner will have a preference on which driveway surface is best for them, and every one comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.  While perhaps “old fashioned” upfront, gravel driveways can actually be the perfect option for many homeowners.   The professionals at Burnaby Blacktop are well versed in the pros of choosing gravel over concrete or asphalt and very familiar with the challenges associated with gravel driveway maintenance, grading, and excavation.  What is the proper way to install and grade a driveway you ask?  Continue reading to find out!

Properly installing a gravel driveway can be broken into three basic steps: excavation, grading, and compaction.  When it comes to excavation, the experts at Burnaby will clear the area of any debris or obstacles in the area to be graveled.  We will dig out large boulders, break up root systems and, as we dig, work to create a level and deep base to pour gravel.  Once excavated, we will lay down special fabric to prevent vegetation from growing up through your driveway and then lay the gravel.  Now for the fun part: grading!

When grading your gravel driveway our professionals will make sure to avoid making the surface completely flat.  If totally level, water can pool and compromise the integrity of the surface.  While some contractors will “crown” a driveway, sloping it off to either side, we have recognized over our years in the industry that this isn’t the best practice and can cause more harm than good to both vehicles and the surface itself.   Instead, we will work to slightly drop your driveway away from your home to promote water drainage away from anywhere it could cause larger issues from potential flooding.  As we work through the grading process, we will also ensure that the depth of gravel is equivalent throughout and properly fill any weak or low spots with additional substrate instead of spreading other areas thin.  Once gravel has been laid and graded, we will move on to step three: compaction.

A gravel driveway is only truly complete when compaction is finished.  Granted, it will be getting compacted throughout its life by vehicle and pedestrian usage but initially our team at Burnaby Blacktop will use special equipment to compact the gravel efficiently and effectively.  This helps solidify all layers of gravel and will help settle the entire surface before it starts being used.  Proper compaction translates to less maintenance in the long run.   Once compacted, final detail work will be put in raking and spreading gravel – leaving you with a functional, beautiful, and affordable final product.

While many homeowners skew toward asphalt or concrete driveways, they are by no means the best or only option. Gravel driveways are the perfect choice for many homes and homeowners, and the experts at Burnaby Blacktop know how to do them right.  If you are debating between surface types for your driveway or are ready to pull the trigger and get a project started give us a call.  Our passionate staff is always eager to help!

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