Driveway pavers are a stylish and versatile addition to your home. They are simple to install, and can improve your home’s property value as well as its curb appeal. To ensure your driveway pavers and other surrounding hardscape look their best for years to come, it’s important that you use the right compact bedding underneath.
Not only does this help ensure the foundation is stable and firm, but it also helps prevent erosion over time from rain. Your choice in compact bedding will depend on a few factors including your budget, your location and climate, as well as what type of support you need.
When it comes to the compact bedding under your driveway pavers, you will be able to choose a different material for three levels, or different compacted levels of the same material. This includes your base, sub base, and subgrade levels.
Different Layers and Their Placement
There are three layers of bedding under your driveway pavers, normally. This includes the deepest level called the subgrade. This is usually heavily compacted soil with no extra additions to it.
On top of the subgrade is your sub base level. This is a support level that helps prevent shifting of your pavers, even during changes in seasons and temperatures throughout the year. It can be a wide range of different materials, though sand or gravel is common.
The topmost layer is called your base, and it is the one that is mostly responsible for preventing erosion and helping to ensure your pavers remain aligned and straight. Having a poor base layer will make your pavers become crooked over time as they are driven on and subjected to different pressures.
Problems With Using the Wrong Bedding
When deciding on the bedding for your underlayers, it’s important that you use the right bedding for your budget, climate, and one that can withstand years of use. Additionally, keep in mind water drainage and potential erosion issues.
Using the wrong bedding, such as a sand base when you need a hard packed soil or clay base, can lead to erosion issues within the first year. You will also need to ensure the bedding is the right thickness.
When using a sand bed, for example, a 1 inch thickness is usually adequate. Too thick and the sand will not provide the right stability under pressure. Too thin and the pavers may shift or become misaligned after the first winter freeze and thaw cycle.
There are a variety of reasons to use a compacted bedding under your driveway pavers including erosion prevention, stability, and proper water drainage. When deciding on a bedding, consider different materials such as sand, gravel, and soil mixes to ensure you get the right thickness to withstand years of use.
The most common compact bedding is a 1 inch thick bed of sand as it is affordable and highly effective for proper water drainage, however crushed stone and concrete aggregate can also provide the same benefits at a similar price point. In some areas, stone may be much easier to obtain in larger quantities than sand or aggregate.