I am replacing 50-years old asphalt driveway with pavers. Talked to
several contractors in my area. Some are insisting on excavating down
8 to 10 inches and then backfilling with crashed stone or "QP" and
compressing it with a roller. Some are saying that excavating down 4
inches and compressing it with a "jumping jack" is enough since
driveway has been in place for so many years and that excavating and
backfilling will only make it worst by disturbing existing very solid
base. While I don't want to pay more money than I have to, I want to
make sure that I am not going to end up with uneven settling pavers
all over the driveway. Please help, any advice is appreciated.
Depending on the traffic 4-6 inches should do the trick. If you have an 2
ton truck or motor home better go deeper. You may never be able to back an
cement or dump truck on the driveway. I would not use an jumping jack, I
would use a plate vibrator. Jumping jacks are used for trenches, at least
Trick to the installation will be the grading of the sub-soil and new
compacted material. You surely want it to slope so that there is no standing
water on it. Check with some folks locally about weather and wear before
jumping off into the project.
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It depends on the stiffness of the existing base soils, and expected
moisture content. You can get a soils test relatively cheap considering the
peace of mind it provides. Ask a soils test lab to do a modified Proctor
test. Pavingstones make a fantastic surface that should last 100 years if
installed on a solid base, a crappy surface if they spread and collapse on a
In the clay soils of our area (Northern Virginia) 10" to 12" of compacted
aggregate base is standard for driveways. On old gravel drives that have
been driven over for many years we can go with 6" of base. Costs do add up
fast when you have to excavate, haul and dispose of more than a foot of
As the other poster pointed out, jumping jack or rammer type comactors work
best in confined areas like trenches or next to a footing. For a driveway
with more than a 500 s.f. or so we find it more efficient to drive a
vibratory roller, 10 tons of centrifugal force on the base. Most hand
pushed plate compactors can't compress more than a couple of inches of base
aggregate so make it very slow to do the job in layers. The 10T roller
compresses 6" or so and goes much faster.
Check www.icpi.org for more info.
If you can pick that asphalt off somewhat surgically the base under it should
be fairely well compacted. I think a little manicuring and hitting it with a
plate compactor should do.
I suppose it all depends on your local dirt and what they did for the original
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