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Discussion Starter #1
I am putting in a very long driveway on my property; approximately 770' long. The driveway will be used to bring in a manufactured (not modular) home so it needs to handle the weight of the semi's and the crane.


My question is How deep do I need to excavate the topsoil before putting in crushed concrete or 1x3? The reason I ask is that in some areas I am seeing the top soil go down over 18" deep. The land is very, very fertile (used to be a partial wetland and is wooded) and I'm not seeing any clay until I get that deep. In some areas, the ground is very wet as well.


I know I need to get to the "base" layer and then lay geofabric before laying down the stone.. but the deeper I go, the more I have to bring in and the cost just keeps creeping up. Any info or past experiences would be great!
 

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retired painter
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It depends on a lot of things, your soil type and the lay of the land being just two. Often 6"-8" is plenty.
 

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Without getting it actually tested; I would say its very dark top soil.. little to no clay or rocks/gravel/sand.


the other end of my property (where the house will be going) is off of a gravel pit so that soil is very dry and all sand/gravel so I'm not worried about that end of the driveway. Its just the first 400' goes through this area of almost wetland/heavy woods.
 

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Is the crane a RT crane.?

We would go in and remove any and all visible wet areas and put in stone then fabric and 2-4" more stone.

Later those areas would have to be removed for the drive.

If the installed drive won't handle semis and cranes it's best to install the drive after the house is set.

Having a dozer ready comes in handy.
 

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Neither of our driveways - one with standard paved with asphalt and the other that was just long settled/packed down dirt with maybe some gravel thrown on it - handled dump trucks with gravel/top soil at all. Heck half the roads up here can't handle a full dump truck...

If it's possible to get the trucks in without getting bogged in the swampy area, I'd do the driveway /after/ they're done cause it'd probably get damaged and need patching up after.
 
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Going back 30 yeaRs or so, Ineeded a 600’ regular old gravel driveway put in through some farm/wetlands that had been given over to woods years back. Driveway guy, who did Driveway for my neighbor about a 75 yards away and parallel to my plan said $500, clear the stumps, scrape off topsoil, few loads of “good Lopes gravel”, no worries. So at about 300 feet in his REALLY big backhoe gets stuck.....so he has to bring in his bigger dozer to pull the thing out...and the Lopes trucks started coming. Four grand later, driveway done....although I still have to add to that “oops”spot every few years. Long story short, get yourself quotes from SEVERAL companies.....who actually take the time to look at the job and not just figure “same as next door” Ron
 

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RON45> Not sure on the crane.. I did talk to the GC who handles the manufactured home installation, he did a site visit and he said take the top soil out and bring in 1x3 for the base (or bigger depending on how deep I have to clear out). He said you have to clear out the top soil or everything will just sink. He did say based on the ground that it might be a LOT of topsoil in some areas.


Compact every 4-6" of fill before adding next layer. He said leave the top as 1x3 as a "construction driveway".. knowing that the crane and semi and cement trucks will cause damage...


then when its all said and done.. bring in another layer of gravel to level things out as the finish driveway.


RONT02769 > Good idea.. I've already had a few scary moments with my JD410 backhoe.. had to use the hoe to pull myself free. Problem is, the more I dig out.. the more I create a ditch for the water to gravitate to :(


I have a dozer and backhoe.. so I'm trying to save as much cost by DIY
 

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retired framer
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RON45> Not sure on the crane.. I did talk to the GC who handles the manufactured home installation, he did a site visit and he said take the top soil out and bring in 1x3 for the base (or bigger depending on how deep I have to clear out). He said you have to clear out the top soil or everything will just sink. He did say based on the ground that it might be a LOT of topsoil in some areas.


Compact every 4-6" of fill before adding next layer. He said leave the top as 1x3 as a "construction driveway".. knowing that the crane and semi and cement trucks will cause damage...


then when its all said and done.. bring in another layer of gravel to level things out as the finish driveway.


RONT02769 > Good idea.. I've already had a few scary moments with my JD410 backhoe.. had to use the hoe to pull myself free. Problem is, the more I dig out.. the more I create a ditch for the water to gravitate to :(


I have a dozer and backhoe.. so I'm trying to save as much cost by DIY
Are you piling up the top soil, it might worth as much as the stone.

Your CG is right, Nothing worse than dumping a load of concrete before it gets hard in the drum, while you wait for the huge tow truck.:devil3:
 

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Back in my younger days 18
We used to set 15 houses a week.
Had crane, 2 backhoes, and a dozer stuck in one lot.
Took 3 weeks to get the equipment out but we set that sucker.
 

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Similar story, 300' drive through some soft soil. Started with 6" of gravel which failed with the first truck. Dug and dug and ran a huge compactor over and over it. Ended up with about 3' of gravel down to ledge. The gravel, dozer, and compactor sure weren't part of the budget. Live and learn.

Bud
 

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I had about a foot of topsoil and I removed it. Then I put in #2 crusher run, followed by #1 crusher run, compacted every few inches. Then I spread clean #1 crushed stone on top so it doesn’t pond or track. I have had very heavy trucks on it without leaving tracks. If you leave topsoil it will probably get squishy.
 

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OLD THOMAS > how did you know when you reached the bottom of the topsoil? Did you hit clay or other substrate?
 

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Maybe you can do some kind of ghetto cone penetrometer test. Real ones aren't cheap, but maybe you could rig up your own. It wouldn't need to be calibrated—you just find a spot where you've removed the topsoil and are down to good subgrade, then run your test to get a baseline reading. Then you keep testing elsewhere along your driveway. That should tell you about how deep you may need to remove soil.
 

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RON45> Not sure on the crane.. I did talk to the GC who handles the manufactured home installation, he did a site visit and he said take the top soil out and bring in 1x3 for the base (or bigger depending on how deep I have to clear out). He said you have to clear out the top soil or everything will just sink. He did say based on the ground that it might be a LOT of topsoil in some areas.


Compact every 4-6" of fill before adding next layer. He said leave the top as 1x3 as a "construction driveway".. knowing that the crane and semi and cement trucks will cause damage...


then when its all said and done.. bring in another layer of gravel to level things out as the finish driveway.


RONT02769 > Good idea.. I've already had a few scary moments with my JD410 backhoe.. had to use the hoe to pull myself free. Problem is, the more I dig out.. the more I create a ditch for the water to gravitate to :(


I have a dozer and backhoe.. so I'm trying to save as much cost by DIY
Ayuh,...... Yer GC is headed in the right direction,.....

The only thing I'd add is to put down geo-textile over the muddy stretch, before you start fillin' it in with stone,.....
The geo-textile will keep the mud from pumping up through the stone, so in effect, yer building a stone bridge over the soft soils,.....
 

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But you need to be within shooting distance of good soil, or the soft stuff will just squish out the sides.
 
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