Gravel driveways are a common sight throughout NJ and its neighboring states. Homeowners love working with gravel because it’s extremely affordable and easy to work with while also providing users with numerous options in terms of style and layout.
On top of everything else, a driveway that’s properly installed and maintained will last for a long time, offering homeowners a fantastic return on their initial investment. Even so, certain problems may arise after regular usage and the passage of time. The good news is that gravel driveway repair is really no big deal – so long as you know what you’re doing. That’s where we come in.
As experts in the gravel business, the professionals at Braen Stone have seen it all, and we’re willing to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Take advantage of our experience by checking out our tips for gravel driveway repair and best practices for avoiding issues in the first place.
3 Steps to Gravel Driveway Repair
Tackling a damaged driveway may seem like an overwhelming task, but the truth is that the following 3 simple steps address the most common gravel driveway issues.
Step 1 – Know the Signs of Damage
First things first! Before you can actually set about the process of making repairs to your gravel driveway, you first need to know how to recognize the signs of damage and when such repairs are actually necessary.
Fortunately, when problems arise with a gravel driveway, they’re generally pretty obvious. The two biggest issues you’ll need to be aware of are potholes and problems with water. No matter how large or small a pothole is, it should never fly under your radar.
The sooner you catch a low spot, the better your chances are of restoring your driveway to vitality. Left ignored, your problems will only grow, leading to major holes and ruts. Next, be on the lookout for trouble with water. Whether it’s washing away your gravel, causing the land next to your driveway to erode or pooling on top of the drive, you need to be prepared to make corrections quickly.
Step 2 – Fill In Potholes
When you first notice a pothole, your initial instinct may be to simply scoop up some gravel from another part of your driveway and use it to fill in the problem area. While this might offer you a little temporary relief, though, it’s not a long-term solution and could cause your problems to increase exponentially.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, the best thing you can do is actually widen out the area around the pothole before pouring completely fresh, new gravel into the hole. This will create a firm bed for the driveway that will contribute to its overall strength and integrity.
Step 3 – Improve Drainage
When water is your issue, there are a few things you can do to remedy the situation. First, it’s important that you keep an eye on the level of your gravel driveway when compared with the property surrounding it.
You want the gravel to be higher than the rest of your property so that the water runs off and away from it. It’s also a good idea to rake the center of your driveway to a peak so that water can run down the sides.
Since you don’t want your yard to flood, you might consider digging trenches that flow away from your property or using drain pipes to divert water away from your land.
Gravel Driveway Maintenance: Avoiding the Need for Repair
There’s no need for you to wait until disaster strikes in order to take action. Being proactive with regular maintenance will prevent the need for gravel driveway repair down the line. Here are a few tips for keeping your driveway in shape:
- Inspect Regularly – The key to avoiding gravel driveway repair is to inspect your driveway at regular intervals so that you can correct small issues before they get out of hand. By taking a few moments every week to eyeball your driveway for any signs of weakness, low points or water damage, you can save yourself a lot of time, hassle and money in the long run.
- Rake Weekly – It’s a good idea to rake over the surface of your gravel driveway on a weekly basis. This will work to remove any leaves, sticks, grass and other debris that might otherwise accumulate on the drive and detract from its beauty. This will also provide you with an opportunity to rake the gravel to a peak to ensure adequate drainage.
- Install Edging – You might want to consider installing a border or edge surrounding your gravel driveway. Not only will this create a more visually appealing landscape and boost property value, but it will also help to prevent gravel from becoming scattered throughout your yard and gardens.
- Add Fresh Gravel – No matter how hard you work to maintain your gravel driveway, chances are that you’ll end up losing some gravel over time. In addition to being moved and shifted around, gravel also starts to settle after being exposed to ongoing vehicular traffic. In order to keep the driveway looking and functioning perfectly, we recommend that you apply a fresh 1″ layer of gravel to the surface of your driveway each year.
- Winter Care – Wintertime can be a bit stressful for homeowners with gravel driveways, but it doesn’t have to be. Those who know how to properly care for their gravel during the colder months will find that it’s really not that big of a deal. When shoveling, simply be sure to avoid scraping against the stone with the blade, leaving about a quarter of an inch of snow atop the surface of the driveway. Plows can also be used, provided that the blade settings are adjusted to the proper height in order to avoid scattering gravel every which way. Be sure to view manufacturer specifications prior to using any type of rock salt or ice melt on your gravel driveway.
Know When a Total Overhaul is Needed
Although following the above tips for maintenance and gravel driveway repair will work in the majority of cases, there are times when driveway damage is so extensive that it needs to be excavated and redone. If your driveway is extremely rutted or overtaken by weeds, this is probably the case.
This is also the best course of action for driveways that have been installed on unstable ground that was not properly prepared to endure the weight of vehicles.
You’ll know that this is a problem if your driveway has issues with settling and features an uneven surface. In situations like these, we suggest that you reach out to a professional for his or her expert opinion prior to proceeding with repairs.
Interested in learning more about gravel driveway repair? Feel free to give us a call or visit one of our convenient NJ locations. As the leading manufacturer and supplier of gravel in NJ, Braen Stone can set you up with all of the materials required for repairing your driveway at a price you can afford.