Gravel Driveway Maintenance

Posted on: 19 August 2015

A gravel driveway requires regular maintenance, otherwise potholes and ruts can develop. Not only does this make your driveway unpleasant to drive upon, it can also makes it unattractive and unsafe. Fortunately, most of the standard maintenance practices only need to be performed periodically or they only take a few minutes to complete. This guide can help you make sure you maintain the drive properly.

Keep It Clean

This is your only seasonal chore with a gravel driveway. Leaves, sticks, and other debris will eventually build up on the drive, ruining both it's appearance and damaging the drive. The damage is caused when the organic debris hold moisture, which softens the driveway bed and makes it more prone to potholes. All you need to clean up the drive is a gravel rake. These rakes have wide-set tines and a flat head, so they collect debris and level the gravel without raking the rocks into a pile. Rake up the debris in autumn, after the leaves fall, and then again in the spring to remove winter detritus.

Fill In the Blanks

It's a good idea to keep an extra pile of gravel on hand at all times. This way, you can quickly fill in any thin spots or potholes that appear. Shovel some fresh gravel into the hole or rut, and then rake it until it is level with the rest of the drive. Not only does this prevent the hole from collecting water and becoming larger, by using fresh gravel you don't create any additional thin spots from trying to rake up enough gravel from the road surface to fill the hole.

Manage Run-Off

Gravel driveways are graded so that water doesn't collect on their surface or run off of the driveway toward buildings like garages. Poor grading can cause washouts, flooding, and potholes on the drive. A properly graded driveway is higher in the center and slopes gently to the sides, so water drains into the lawn on either side of the drive. It also slopes gently away from the garage, usually to toward the road. If the slope. The bottom of this slope may have a grate installed so the water doesn't wash onto the road if there are no storm drains present.

Your driveway needs grading infrequently. Signs that it needs grading include water collecting in the center of the road or pooling after rainfall, increased potholes and ruts, and generally poor run-off. You can do it yourself with a lawn tractor and box grader, or you can hire a professional grading company if you want to ensure that the slope is correct for best drainage.

Freshen It Up

Finally, add fresh gravel to your driveway every few years. A 2- to 4-inch depth of gravel is usually sufficient, since this is deep enough to full cover the drive without being so deep that your car's tires get bogged down in it. You can usually request that the delivery driver dumps the gravel at intervals along the drive, which makes it less effort to then rake it into place. Use a handheld gravel rake to evenly disperse the gravel on a short drive, or pot for a rake designed to pull behind a lawn tractor for longer drives.

To learn more, contact a grading contractor