Tarmac does not solve the problem of weeds, and it comes with its own
raft of problems. Cheap tarmac jobs last about five minutes.
We were banned from using tarmac or block by our ever-wonderful local
planning office. Fortunately at the time we were permitted to demolish
what had been an outside toilet block. We used the brick as hardcore and
I spend many a happy day like an old road mender smashing up the brick
with a sledge hammer and tamping it down to form the foundations for the
drive. It has formed a free draining roadway that has resisted having a
couple of giant 4x4s pounding over it for a decade. Weed growth hasn't
been a problem. A dressing of shingle - the larger stuff helps to keep
it looking suitable clean and tidy. The PITA is that it is overhung with
trees and getting fallen leaves off it takes serious work. It's also not
possible to use a blower or vacuum to remove the leaves.
To avoid weeds, a decent foundation is essential, be prepared to dig
deep and to ruthlessly remove any roots that you encounter. Then fill it
up with clean rubble. I think harry is talking carp again about the
depth needed. We are on clay and gravel (valley floor) and the
foundation for the drive was about six inches deep.
Yes, that may be an option, thanks. It would certainly solve the weed
problem.The tamping-down is just about within the scope of a one-man DIY-er
too (eliminates the hiring of a compacter or roller, as needed with
aggregate). I reckon my existing driveway (old compacted clay and limestone
chippings) is probably solid enough as a base to concrete directly onto,
once the humps have been skimmed off with a small bulldoser.
When you say patterned, how was the pattern applied?
I also remember hearing about another method of making conrete look
attractive. I think it involved washing the surface away to expose bare
stones or somethng. I think perhaps special decorative stone was added for
this purpose, possibly after the readymix had been spread and tamped. Can
anyone point me to any instructions on this method?
Pattern Imprinted concrete
A concrete slab is aid, an dye/hardener is applied to the surface, then
a pattern applied using a mould to imprint the top of the concrete.
We have it here (done by a previous owner) on the drive (done to look
like setts) and one the patio (to look like stone slabs)
Actually, it isn't bad - certainly a lot better than plain slab, and
whilst if you look you can see that it isn't 'real' it;s ok. SWMBO
didn't realise the patio wasn't real stone at first.
I don't think it is realistically a DIY technique.
As you say, either tamped into the top or mixed in and then the washing
away the top surface.
As ever, Cormaic's Paving Expert site as the gen:
Ours has weathered quite nicely. It certainly does not look like stone, but
it doesn't shriek concrete either. It was old when we bought the house, and
we've been here 13 years. The dye surface has long since worn away, but it's
dirtied up nicely over the years and blended in. A chap wanted to come round
and steam clean it for us, but that's the last thing I'd do to it.
If you had a 25m drive to practise on, you'd be quite good by the end. I
don't know whether you can hire the moulds. Buying one might be prohibitive.
The real problem is if it rains whilst the concrete is still setting. I
guess you might have to drill it all up again.
One possibility not mentioned here, that we use extensively at work, is
Geoweb. This isn't a membrane, it's a cellular rubber structure that you
peg down into the area to be turned into a road. Then you fill up the
honeycomb strusture with crushed stone or whatever else is around. It's
used widely in military engineering to build a road quaickly and in
civil engineering to stabilise steep banks.
Invasive weeds are held at bay because their roots can't penetrate the
rubber walls, but weeds seeding onto the surface can still get
established. Spraying with Pathclear helps.
%email@example.com (Steve Firth) wrote in
Thanks; I watched the video, and can see that suff may have uses in
reducing erosion of slopes, but am struggling to see how it would be useful
in creating a level driveway. (My driveway is almost exactly level, so
there is little chance of any aggregate drifting out of place.
It's used for enormous lengths of level road. The cells prevent the
movement of aggregate and stop ruts from forming and also stop your vehicle
tracking shingle all over the place. I take it you've not had an
aggregate/gravel drive before?
I know that loose gravel spreads around freely, but graded aggregate
compacts down into an immovable crust (assuming the substrated is solid).
I suppose that if one only had the option of loose gravel then the Geoweb
stuff would help to keep it in place. But would that be a better bet that
compacted graded crushed rock aggregate? What is the advantage of the
The highways dept can be funny about gravel at driveway entrances.
It prevents rapid accelaration into traffic.
My latest driveway into a busy highway, I was specifically required to have
a hard surface for that reason.
They have other rules about gates, splay geometry, visibity, field of view
I have paviour blocks which I DIYed. Not easy to do a good job. Lots of
cracks for the weeds to grow in.
The ants have swifty taken up residence and are undermining, little heaps of
The advantages are they can be taken up & relaid if they sink and for
replacement of services.
Also, lots of different colours and patterns and shapes.
All forms of aggregate surface are hard work to maintain and look like crap
after a few years.
With my previous road I had to get in 40 0r 50 tons of aggregate in every
year. I put in nearly 3000 tons of sub base in too.
For sub base, the cheapest form of aggregate you can get is rubble from the
recycle centre, topped off with crushed recycled rubble. The trouble with
it is that it is full of bits of crap. Metal, wood, plastic etc. You need
to pick it out by hand, esp. the metal as it can get in tyres. It needs to
be topped off with new stuff.
There is also industrial waste in some areas such as blast furnace slag, now
being "mined" for aggregate.
Aslo burned "red shale" waste from coal minng areas.
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