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Old 06-17-2011, 10:26 PM   #1
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Paver Base ... pea gravel depth?

Hello from Illinois!
I am replacing a concrete sidewalk with a paver sidewalk that connects our driveway to the front door. I am currently excavating near the front door and have dug down about 2 feet and have only been removing extremely loose and wet pea gravel. Should I continue excavating until I hit solid ground is there another solution? I didn't expect to be digging down this deep and am now concerned. Also, the previous owners seemed to have had the concrete sidewalk mud-jacked up due to settling. Not sure if this is pertinent or not.

A follow-up question I need to use some sort of drainage systeem seeing as how wet and saturated this pea grave is?

Jon McLear


Last edited by jmclear; 06-20-2011 at 10:28 AM. Reason: additional information
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:27 AM   #2
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Paver Base ... pea gravel depth?

Hi again,
It's been a few days with no responses. Can anyone help? I've since realized that I'm dealing with the area known as the "overdig" for my foundation. I would really appreciate some advice.

Should I dig out all of the gravel and fresh and compacting base material or can I compact the existing gravel and put fresh base on top?



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Old 06-20-2011, 11:30 AM   #3
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Paver Base ... pea gravel depth?

Not very likely you are going to compact pea gravel. If it is river gravel it won't compact. If it is crushed stone (pea size) it will compact.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:48 AM   #4
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Paver Base ... pea gravel depth?

If you are down 2' and are still in pea gravel and muck, I would just use some good road base conpacted well to bridge the bad soil and the that will support a sidewalk. Single size aggregate does not compact if the particles are rounded and crushe, angular rock without some fines is not much better.

Since it is just a sidewalk, the loads are minimal. I would not pour concrete or anything important over it because of possible differential settlement or frost heaving/movement and tripping problems.

An interlocking concrete paving stone sidewalk would be fine for a sidewalk or even some heavier loads because it is a "flexible" surface that maintains strength since there are no new movement cracks and it depends on the compacted base for reliable support and not just a couple of inches of concrete. I have seen pavers used for 60,000# loads on 20 acres sites about 4' above sea level. What you want is a even, safe, hard surface without any surprising cracks or trip points.

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Old 07-11-2011, 05:36 PM   #5
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Paver Base ... pea gravel depth?

get rid of it all and backfill like there is no tomorrow. I would use a good agmix (sand and aggregate/rock) and compact that to about 2" below the grade you want. on top of that I use a 1/4" minus gravel and compact the heck out of that to grade. then a little bit of sand to lay the bricks on top of. the 'clean' stone won't compact. you have to use a stone with almost a sand mixture with fractured/angled stones--not round. I replaced my sidewalk and driveway here in Phoenix. We don't deal with snow/ice. if everything is graded properly you should be fine once you install a new base. the only thing you may need is a channel drain or something that crosses between near the foundation and under the walk, back into the yard so that if water gets in that small area the water can drain. good luck.
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