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Hi there! I am installing a used hot tub with a plastic base (no wood to rot)and created a pad for it out of pea gravel. This was unfortunately the material that was recommended to me by the landscaping supply company. Now I have a 4" thick bed of shifting pea gravel that will not compact and don't know the best way to fix it. I will need something stable enough to withstand rolling the hot tub onto it with pvc pipes. Otherwise I will need to find 10+ guys to help us lift it and set it in place - not likely to happen. Some ideas, which all have pros/cons:


1. plastic grid tiles. I like this idea but they are quite an expensive solution to fix this $32 load of gravel
2. Remove pea gravel and start over. I'd likely just go for concrete after this fiasco. Sounds like a lot of work and I have no place to dump the pea gravel.
3. Add another substrate like sand, dry cement (not concrete), stone dust. I am not sure any of those will work well enough.
4. add a PT 2x4 grid to set into the pad. In theory this could work like the plastic grid tiles. Cheaper but would not last as long. Not sure how close together the wood would have to be to keep stone from shifting during placement.


Any thoughts/input?
 

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You may want to check with your local ready mix company and ask if they have a Flowable Fill it will not be as hard as concrete but may work out with your Pea Gravel.
 

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They make an epoxy mix that is made to be mixed with pea gravel, to make it solid.

It is expensive per gallon though, and you will probably need several gallons of it.

You might find some rubber ( floor mats, bed liners, old conveyor belting, carpet pad, etc.), to place on the gravel, to create a walkable surface for installing the tub.

ED
 

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If if was mine I'd remove it then using my wheelbarrow and round nose shovel mix 1 part Portland cement to about 4 parts pea gravel, maybe a scoop of sand and water until I liked the look and pour it all back in the area.
 

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Well,since you have the gravel, just order some sand and portland cement, rent a concrete mixer, and proportion 1 part cement, 2 parts sand, and 3 parts gravel,mix for 3 minutes and pour, repeat until form is full.
 

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obviously landscape supply had no idea what you were trying to do otherwise they'd have never recommended that stone - or, at least, i hope they wouldn't have
 

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The only non-reinforced gravel type substrate I've been able to get to "lock down" in position is crushed red rock. I've even tried the crushed pea gravel, and it looks good, but loosens up very easily with very little walking on it. The crushed red, though, will lock pretty hard into place f you wet it down and tamp it during installation.

For your existing situation, though, I would just buy a couple bags of portland and just wash it into the gravel and smooth over the top when you can't get any more to wash in. All you need is a rigid fixative, and the portland should take care of that.
 

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The name escapes me but there's a by-product of gravel crushing that is often used for compacted surfaces like driveways, etc. It's made from the finer gravel and sand/dust and it compacts very solid but will still drain, somewhat.
 

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The point of pea gravel is that it doesn't need to be compacted. It also drains. That's probably why the supplier thought it would be a good material for you. That said, pea gravel is not great for narrow point loads because they shift and sink right in. It does however work well with wider loads like basement slabs. So in your case you could put down a wider base like a couple PT 2x12 that wouldn't shift while rolling the tub in place and that could stay there as a support for the tub.
 

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The name escapes me but there's a by-product of gravel crushing that is often used for compacted surfaces like driveways, etc. It's made from the finer gravel and sand/dust and it compacts very solid but will still drain, somewhat.
3/8 minus or 3/4 minus. The fraction denotes the inch size of the largest component and the minus means that everything else in there is smaller down to sand sized bits or "fines". That stuff compacts but compacting has to be done right (in smaller lifts) and is labor intensive. It doesn't really drain that well either. It also tracks lots of small sharp bits inside the house when you walk over it so expect to get those in your tub too.
 

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Neal's idea to use the 2X10's is a great idea. The easiest and least messy for sure.

BTW, I have pea gravel as the base for my hotub (it was left over from another project). I hired a guy with a skid steer with forks to take mine off a trailer and set it in place for $100. I had to put 2X4's under it so the forks would come out and then got them out after.

Good luck
 

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The name escapes me but there's a by-product of gravel crushing that is often used for compacted surfaces like driveways, etc. It's made from the finer gravel and sand/dust and it compacts very solid but will still drain, somewhat.
In some locals it's commonly referred to a - crusher run -.
 

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In some locals it's commonly referred to a - crusher run -.
Ayuh,..... 'round here, Crusher Run as the material comes outa the crusher,....
4" minus,......

Gets graded down from there,....

As noted, 3/4" minus compacts like concrete, 'n is easy under a rake,......

As for tightenin' up washed pea stone,....
Addin' an equal amount of stone dust would tighten it up,...

Still wouldn't be as good as 3/4" minus crusher run, but serviceable solid fill,....
 
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