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Driveways & Resin Surfacing

SOLVED: Best Material For Dirt Driveway Renovations

Best Material For Dirt Driveway Renovations

When considering a driveway that is both natural and inexpensive, you may want to add a dirt driveway to your list of possibilities. This option is the least costly of all driveway types, but could be difficult to maintain in the long term.

There are many dirt driveways that can be a useful addition to your home, but they must be built with care and the right material used. So what exactly is a dirt driveway, and what material is best to ensure it stays usable and mud free? It’s time to find out…

What Is A Dirt Driveway?

When you think of a dirt driveway, you might think of the dirt roads that you see in the countryside. These are often difficult to drive on, are full of potholes and ruts, and can become impassable in very wet weather, due to mud. You don’t want your dirt driveway to be like this.

A dirt driveway uses the natural earth and grass of the surrounding area to build up a driveway that is naturally beautiful and practical. But the dirt must be supplemented by various materials, to ensure it stays entirely useful and usable.

The look can be a compacted dirt, or it can include grass growth as well. All things considered, it makes for an excellent driveway choice if you live in a rural area. It can complement a country home, and look very elegant.

A dirt driveway requires plenty of maintenance however, and must be repaired as soon as potholes and ruts are seen. This may mean a twice yearly effort to re-balance the surface, to prevent any issues with harsh weather that may make it impassable.

Dirt Driveways: 4 Key Considerations For Construction

● Like any driveway, a dirt driveway needs to have an excellent foundation that is porous enough for rainwater to pass through, without pooling on the surface.
● The construction needs to include a “crown” in the centre of built up earth that will force water off the driveway.
● The use of additional materials can add structural stability, and prevent the dirt turning to mud too readily.
● You should limit the speed that you and your visitors drive on a dirt driveway to around 20 miles per hour. Fast speeds, spinning tyres, and sharp stops will all cause the surface to deteriorate faster than necessary.

Best Material For Dirt Driveway Renovations

This process of scraping and re-compacting the surface should be carried out periodically to move and redistribute the top layer of dirt to even out holes and cracks

How Do I Build A Dirt Driveway?

Building a dirt driveway is probably more complicated than you might think. It requires more work, and for an effective surface, you will need to go through a few stages. If you are starting from scratch, you will need to dig out the area to a depth of around 200mm, and then think about drainage.

Where the water will go is the question you should always ask yourself – nothing causes a dirt driveway to turn to mud quicker than standing water.

The key to this is a layer of aggregate that sits under the surface of the compacted top layer of dirt. The best type of material for this aggregate is what is called MOT Type 1 aggregate. This consists of different sized pieces of stone, that compact together to create a strong and sturdy base.

It can be driven over without disintegrating and is perfect for redirecting the flow of water and filtering it as it enters the earth below. This stone should be compacted to ensure that it stays put and is level.

You may also wish to add a weed membrane at this stage. This is your choice, as some people like the rustic feel of a dirt driveway that has grass and wild weeds growing through it.

In some cases, this foliage can actually add to the stability of the dirt layer – so it is entirely up to you and the aesthetic you are trying to achieve.

Over the compacted stones, you will add the dirt layer. The point of this is to use the natural dirt from the surrounding area – in fact, the dirt that you dug out when you were first creating the driveway.

This may, however, not be suitable, due to its consistency. You may opt for a mix of porous sand and local dirt. In any case, this mixture needs to be compacted into the stones beneath to ensure a strong and durable surface is achieved.

For long rural driveways you will probably need a tractor or front loader to help you to move material around during the construction phase of your dirt driveway. It is useful if this tractor can pull a “box scraper”.

This piece of equipment essentially smooths out the dirt surface, and allows you to create the shape of the driveway. You can then grade the dirt towards the centre of the driveway to allow for run-off. This job is best done when the dirt has been wet after rainfall.

This process of scraping and re-compacting the surface should be carried out periodically to move and redistribute the top layer of dirt to even out holes and cracks.

On smaller driveways, you can complete this task by hand. But the fact is that the dirt will inevitably move and shift around, and must be regraded regularly to ensure the surface stays usable.

Best Material For Dirt Driveway Renovations

Don’t’ forget to grade the stone to ensure there is a crown in the middle to allow the flow of water off the centre of the driveway

What Other Materials Should I Use?

It is entirely your choice, and will depend on how well your dirt driveway holds up, but some people will add gravel to the dirt layer for more stability. It adds traction for when the surface becomes slippery, and mean less subsequent maintenance as well.

It does, however, turn your attractive dirt driveway into a gravel driveway that is much less attractive. If you choose to add gravel, a mix of smaller and larger stones will work well.

The larger stones will sink into the dirt layer, making it more durable, while the smaller stones will add a top layer that covers over the dirt. Add the stone in layers with the larger stone first, and the smaller stones will settle into the crevices left.

Best Material For Dirt Driveway Renovations

Resin bound driveways are a modern choice, but they can offer an aesthetically pleasing look to even a rural home depending on the choice of aggregate. By choosing a stone that is natural and in-keeping with the natural environment, your new resin bound driveway can still fit in perfectly, and look the part as well!

Resin Bound Surfacing: A Distinctive Alternative To Dirt Driveways

While a dirt driveway does have charm, it is back breaking work to achieve, and will require year round maintenance to ensure it stays looking good, rather than turning into a muddy mess.

Although you may be happy with this in the short term, due to the reduced costs of building this driveway type, you may eventually wish to go for a driveway you can lay and forget. A resin bound driveway offers exactly that-and a whole lot more besides.

Resin bound driveways take the aggregate composition of your choice (in the colour that you want), and mix it with resin, before laying it on a prepared surface of concrete or tarmac. The resin is pressed into the driveway surface and dries hard.

It is extremely durable, and will last upwards of 20 years before it starts to need upgrading or additional repairs.

Best of all, your driveway will need nothing more than the occasional jet wash to ensure it stays in pristine condition. This really is the reason why it outshines most other driveways and the reason you might choose it over a traditional dirt driveway.

Seeking out a resilient surfacing solution that offers a plethora of perks? Resin bound material is marvellously multi-purpose-and surprisingly low-maintenance to boot. Take the first step to upgrading your existing driveway today, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!