lake/ice rink in driveway

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by RCraig, Sep 8, 2009.

  1. RCraig

    RCraig New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I am hoping someone might help me learn about driveways in the Northeast US. Clay soil, freezing winter etc. At present, the driveway is not paved over with anything, it is just dirt and gravel.
    The good news is I found someone who will put in a new catch basin and pipes to get rid of the possibility of water accumulation with any rain or snow that comes down.

    The issue, WE DON"T WANT ASPHALT. So what are the possibilities, and another key question that I don't understand is HOW FAR DOWN does one have to dig, to prevent the future possibility of heaving.

    Basically, I know nothing about driveway preparation and I don't want to do all the piping and then not do the right thing so that the driveway won't be a mess in the future. Thanks, Ruth
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,253
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    heaving

    The foundation has to go below the frost level, BUT freezing under the slab itself will cause it to heave regardless of the depths of any foundation around the perimeter.
  3. RCraig

    RCraig New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    driveway

    OK, if I understand correctly, one has to dig down below the frost level, not sure what that would be.

    However, the foundation - by this do you mean the rocks that would get put into the hole that you dig? - will freeze and so if a slab of some sort is on top of that the driveway would crack? Not sure I understood the gist of your message. Thanks Ruth
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Compacted DG is a good driveway. Not being in a cold climate, I don't know about the freeze issue. Someone will tell us.
  5. Fistor

    Fistor Geotechnical Engineer

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    The key to prevent frost heave (I assume you refer to this, rather than "swelling soils", which is an entirely different matter) of pavements is proper drainage.

    You mention "foundation", but I think you are simply referring to the driveway pavement section? (i.e. the base and subbase?).

    For pavements of any sort, drainage is the main consideration in prevention of frost heave, not depth of subexcavation below frost (that applies to foundations, not road bases - after all, road structures do freeze in cold climates). With a proper drainage layer, water doesn't accumulate, so when freezing sets in, minimal frost heave.

    Typically, pavement sections include the following layers, from top-bottom: surface material for durability (e.g. asphalt, concrete), base for strength ("dirty" crushed gravel), and subbase for drainage (free-draining soils, like non-silty sand), over the subgrade. For light-duty commercial lots, a typical profile (here in Vancouver, BC, where it is wet, and does freeze in winter)might be 2-3 inches of asphalt, over 6 in. of crushed gravel, then 12-18 in. of sand subbase.

    The subbase drainage layer should be built such that water drains out and away from the driveway. Sounds like you might have provision for this if you install catch basins and pipes. Just make sure the pipes connect somewhere!

    Finally, a note about your driveway surface - you indicated no asphalt (not sure why). Just be aware that asphalt is generally good, because it is considered a "flexible" pavement structure. Provided asphalt is properly prepared, it won't crack, since it can flex somewhat with the ground. Concrete is a "rigid" pavement structure, and is more prone to cracking. If you don't want asphalt, you could consider pavers, or grass-pavers, depending how long your driveway is and the usage. Otherwise, there's gravel, although without the protection of asphalt, you will develop pot holes over time.

    Hope it helps!
  6. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Here are some more details:
    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24887

    Ruth, do you still hope to connect to the nearby storm drain? If you are allowed to do that, water can be directed from your drive to a catch basin (as Fistor has described), then pipe can direct the water on out to the storm drain. But if you cannot do that, a dry well will probably be about the best you can do.

    As long as your gravel drive is re-worked below ground level to channel water away, you do not have any frost-heave concerns. I could not find a frost-line chart, but your local "permit palace" (building department) can tell you what depth will be required either for a catch basin or dry well.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,253
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    foundation

    I mentioned foundation, because that is what has to be below frost level to make a structure heave resistant. A driveway does NOT have a foundation, and even if it did, all it would do would ensure that the edges did not heave. NOTHING can prevent a slab from moving with the subsurface. If it freezes and "expands" it will heave along with anything on top of it. Keeping as much moisture out of the subsoil as possible is the only way to minimize heaving.
  8. RCraig

    RCraig New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    more questions, thanks so much for answers so far

    Ok, I think I understand a bit better. From what information I could gather, the frost line around here is such that one would have to dig down 3-4 feet! If I understand you guys correctly, I might not have to dig down that far since it is a driveway. YES, a guy came and figured out how to put in another catch basin and attach it to the storm drain!!!!!! So that part seems very great, based on your responses.

    Why no asphalt - My husband, It's NO ASPHALT, I can't go against this one. I am going to have a hard enough time getting him to ok the $$$$ for all the drainage stuff, and believe me it is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    Ok, so how far down to dig? It is clay down there, very dense. 1.5 feet? 2 feet? 3? I think the price goes up logarithmically. But if we are going to dig, we don't want to have to dig up again later to get farther down. At least that is my philosophy.

    Another question has to do with Geo-tek fabric - any thoughts?

    Someone from a Gravel place not far from here suggested 3/4 stones for the subbase, and I understand I need non-silty sand below that. The Gravel guy suggested "Driveway pack" also called "Man pack" on top (due to the no asphalt edict from my husband). Apparently it contains stone and crushed stone so it packs down well.

    Finally I also saw these things on the Internet called "Cell-tek" - it kind of compartmentalizes the gravel. Any thoughts on that.

    Hope I am not bringing up too many more questions at once. Thanks so much again, Ruth
  9. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    I believe the bottom of your catch basin will have to be below the frost line to keep it from possibly being "heaved" by the earth underneath it when it freezes. And if you do not want water freezing in the catch basin and outlet pipe(s), the outlet of the catch basin will also have to be below the frost line. Everything on the inlet side of your catch basin can be higher, however, since even sleet, I believe, will make it into the catch basin before freezing (unless the ground is already frozen and no drainage is possible anyway).

    Hopefully someone else will offer answers for your other questions ...
  10. delta d

    delta d New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    nashville
    where I live there's a lot of drive ways with heaters installed in them. houses on hills especially.
  11. RCraig

    RCraig New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    bought book on Concrete foundations has chapter on driveways

    Hopefully I can get information from this book, it sounds very complicated and the guy lives in the south.

    First you have to dig way down, unless your soil is evenly compacted underneath. Then you put dirt back in 6 inches at a time (6 inch lifts) and compact it down. This is to get the soil underneath evenly compacted so that it won't differentially settle later.
    Then it seems possibly the GeoTek
    Then you put in a lot of stones, I think it was a foot or so. All different sizes of clean stones, as the different sizes help it to compact down. I believe you put a layer and compact, then put down more stones and compact.
    On top of the stones, can't remember exactly maybe it was sand. But anyway, then there is a lot more about grading, expansion joints, yikes I wish the guy who wrote the book lived up here. The final driveway was gorgeous! Of course, it headed gently uphill while my driveway has a slope of 0.00, which is part of the problem.

    Anyway, now I understand about the catch basins, the drainage guy told me he is going to dig them down deep. The drainage guy really knows what he is doing, but his specialty is drainage whereas it seems that driveways and probably especially in the NE are a category unto them selves.

    Still thinking about stabilized DG, one of the suggestions above which I found out what the DG is (decomposed granite).
    Also talked to a guy around here who does pavers. Concrete pavers would maybe be good. However, apparently concrete is more than asphalt and concrete pavers are more than concrete. Also, this guys pavers are very very fancy, like for the drive up to your mansion, whereas I live in just a 35 year old tract home.

    Let me know if you have more thoughts, all very much appreciated. Ruth
  12. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    If he is good at drainage, he will keep your drive from puddling or pooling. In my own drive, which is also stone and has matching elevations at the street and house, I simply placed a deep rock-filled trench underneath it in front of the garage and on out under the side yard to drain water away. However, and rather than being flat like mine, it sounds like your drive has a low area out by the street. I do not believe bringing in more of your neighbor's rock and leveling your drive would make water run back to your house, yet I do understand your concern there. So if I were you, I would put a rock-filled trench down the center under the first 1/3 (or maybe 1/2) of the length of your drive at its street end, then drain that sub-surface "trench" into a catch basin leading on out to the storm drain ... then nicely level and smooth your drive.

    Expensive to purchase and costly to install, then grass eventually begins growing between them ... and you would still need the sub-surface system to drain water away. Virtually any kind of rock will let water pass on through and drain away as long as the water has some place to go.
  13. RCraig

    RCraig New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    "...So if I were you, I would put a rock-filled trench down the center under the first 1/3 (or maybe 1/2) of the length of your drive at its street end, then drain that sub-surface "trench" into a catch basin leading on out to the storm drain ... then nicely level and smooth your drive.



    Expensive to purchase and costly to install, then grass eventually begins growing between them ... and you would still need the sub-surface system to drain water away. Virtually any kind of rock will let water pass on through and drain away as long as the water has some place to go."


    The trench etc part sounds good to me, I also agree with the expensive part about the pavers. A question that both of you may have ideas about --- once all the drainage is taken care of, level and smooth driveway, but what to put on the very top of the driveway, as it can't be asphalt. Someone above suggested stabilized DG? Hard-pack or driveway pack? The issue is, with hard pack, when you shovel out in winter (which happens a lot here in NH), stones from the gravel or hardpack driveway get shoveled onto your yard along with the snow. Then in spring, you have all these stones in your lawn. Then you have to rake them all out of there before the grass grows up too much, otherwise, well, not great in terms of your 14-yr-old mowing the lawn when it has stones all over the place.

    Thats where I was thinking pavers would be good if they weren't so expensive, as then there wouldn't be a stones-in-lawn problem in the spring. So one thing I don't know is how stable is stabilized DG? Does it stick to itself or would it inevitably have bits coming up as one shovels the snow off the driveway in winter. Thanks again for all your help! Ruth
  14. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    Yep, I have that dilemma here, and I do not know anything about "stabilized DG". But, I do have grandchildren to throw the rocks back into the drive!
  15. RCraig

    RCraig New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I ended up paying my son and his friend, I forget what it came out to be for raking up the stones this past spring. Also, quite a bit of complaining on the part of my husband about the stones every spring. So if I could figure out something besides asphalt that would kind of stick together and resist being caught up in shovels, I would go for it! Thanks again, Ruth
  16. Rughead

    Rughead New Member

    Messages:
    48
    Location:
    Scarsdale, NY
    Ruth's driveway

    Hi Ruth. Been there, done that. In NY. There's new asphalt that drains and breathes. Perhaps your hubby'd agree to that? The rest of your plan is spot on. Gotta have drainage that really drains, away from the house to the storm drain. Et voila, you're good to go. Cheers, Rug.
  17. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Messages:
    874
    Location:
    Marin Co. Ca.
    start off right

    Hire a Geo Tech. Eng. How about snow plow damage? I like pavers.

    Soils Engs. will get it right for You,long term. Worth the $$

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