Deciding what driveway surface to choose for your driveway? Here's a few ideas to get you going in the right direction.
There are different types of gravel, but for simplicity we'll break it down into two main categories:
Gravel with fine particles, and gravel without.
We generally call the rock with the finer particles 'road base gravel' because it is used to strengthen and pack the base of a road. It is also referred to as 'flex base gravel', or 'base rock'. Gravel without finer particles is sometimes called 'washed' rock, and is can also be referred to as 'wash rock', 'landscape rock', 'topcoat rock', 'driveway top coat' or 'decorator rock'.
Flex Base Gravel (with fines): This rock has fine particles included so that it packs tighter. It is best for driveway, road, and parking areas where strength is needed.
Washed rock (without fines): This rock is best for drainage uses, decorative areas, or as a thin top layer of a road or driveway.
Some larger rock types are good to put down over dirt, or in muddy areas, but generally, washed rock is used for decorative purposes - especially if it is of a smaller size.
We see a lot of DIY'ers getting washed rock when flex base gravel should be used. If the road is in good shape, decorative rock may be the right solution, but if there are issues with the road, chances are flex base is what is needed.
Understanding the uses of various rock types:
First off, here in Texas, we have a lot of underlying soil conditions as well as drainage problems and a lot of trucks :) This means that just laying down any sort of loose gravel over dirt or grass isn't going to be very effective overall here in Texas.
Loose gravel pushes when twisted on and could leave low or bare spots. For this reason, we build a road with sturdy larger rock at the bottom, flex base next, and then a decorative rock if desired for the top coat. The top coat could also be left as flex base, or could be paved with hot mix asphalt or recycled asphalt.
The good news is that you don't have to know exactly what rock to use if you know us. We'll tell you if you are doing the work yourself, or we will quote the job if you're in the area. Hope this helps!
Rural drives and private roads are our passion. We post recent jobs, paving techniques, and tips and tricks here. Enjoy!