What Are the Best Tips for DIY Driveways?

Alex Newth

It is possible to take on a driveway as a do-it-yourself (DIY) project, but there are a few things that should be kept in mind during the process. Builders should consider different materials before settling on one for their DIY driveways, because each has its own pros and cons. While many people believe they can dig up their own property and make a driveway without any problems, most areas have building codes and permitting processes that should be followed. When digging, people may find soft dirt or sort areas, and these can ruin the project if special care is not taken. After the foundation is in place, especially if working with concrete, builders should make sure it has few or no imperfections.

Used for driveways and walking paths, gravel prevents soil from eroding and provides a stable surface.
Used for driveways and walking paths, gravel prevents soil from eroding and provides a stable surface.

DIY driveways can be made from a variety of materials, and each presents a different aesthetic and has different construction needs. The two most common materials for driveways are loose gravel and concrete. Loose gravel is made up of stones that can be spread and flattened with a rake or by foot; this is usually cheaper and easier to set, but the stones tend to move when cars drive over them and wear down with time. Concrete is normally harder to use and lay, but it is often more durable.

Most people believe they can make DIY driveways without consulting or following building codes. This may be so in some areas, but many areas have codes that should be followed if the builders want to avoid being fined. Some of these building codes are practical, such as making sure intended driveways are secure and strong enough; other building codes concern aesthetics, such as making driveways similar to others in the immediate area.

Before placing materials for DIY driveways, the ground typically has to be dug up. While doing this, people may find some small areas of soft dirt, which may not cause immediate concern. If these areas are not dug up properly, however, the gravel or cement may sink, causing imperfections. These areas should be dug up until the soft dirt is gone and only hard dirt is left; the materials will then fill this hole when put in place.

When the foundations are made for DIY driveways, builders have to make sure they are flat and perfect. While some small grooves may be acceptable, failing to smooth out large bubbles and gaps can cause massive problems. These can become large holes, which can damage cars when they drive over them or injure people who might trip while walking over the holes.

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