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Old 07-04-2012, 10:34 PM   #1
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Compacting wet/muddy soil for paver/wall base


What are the pros and cons of using a plate compactor on wet/muddy soil when laying the gravel base for a paver patio with an accent wall/steps?


I am in the middle of a paver patio that also has a few steps at one end and a seating wall. The size is aprx 18x48

The natural grade of the land slopes away from my house so when I excavated to allow for the gravel base I kept this grade.

I was all ready to start putting the gravel base down but it decided to rain heavy for one straight hour plus last night.

In the morning, there were considerable puddles at the far end of the excavated area. I had to shop vac the water out and it was at least 200 gallons that I dumped.

This left 25% of the area very muddy. While it did dry some during the day I could still make pretty deep foot prints in this area.

I was under the impression that using a plate compactor on too dry or too wet soil was less than ideal.

I of course can wait until it thoroughly dries but who knows when that will be and there is likely to be more rain days in the future so I'll be back to the shop vac ritual.

I tried to do some searching on this and most info I have seen was just waiting until it dries. One reply said that plate compacting on too wet soil would make it like concrete which I am not totally against since I will have a 4 inch drain pipe and the gravel base to deal with things.

If it matters I am using a geotextile sheet (heavy landscaping fabric like a tarp) to be a barrier between the gravel base and the subsoil.

I am in western PA and the soil is clay like but it is not thick clay like I have in other areas.

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