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Re: Gravel driveway material & labor prices?

To: Mark Andy <>,
Subject: Re: Gravel driveway material & labor prices?
From: "David C." <>
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2004 19:11:30 -0700
At 02:40 PM 7/12/2004 -0400, Mark Andy wrote:
>He's willing to do it for time & materials.  Time is $80/hour for labor &
>machinery.  He recommended Limestone as the material, at ~$12.50/ton,
>since it ended up being the cheapest (higher per ton cost, but it 'goes
>farther' than the other options of mill slag or gravel).

Around here (Pacific Northwest) $75 to $90 and hour machine and operator, 
for local independent guys, seems to be about the range.  Some of them 
charge an additional "drop off" fee, some don't.  Sometimes the fee depends 
on the size of the job.  Some charge a two or four hour minimum.

Limestone makes an OK driveway or road, although it tends to break down 
over time and in the summer it can get VERY dusty.  I prefer the crushed 
rock (I know, limestone is crushed rock) we get up here, which tends to be 
harder and more durable than crushed limestone.  Are you in Texas by any 
chance?  They use a lot of crushed limestone down there.   Whatever you 
use, make sure it's "minus", that is, that it contains the fines in 
addition to the big pieces, and not "washed", which has the fines washed 
out and will never pack down properly.  You might need several courses of 
rock in varying sizes for a proper driveway, starting out with around 2 
1/2" for the subbase, then a course of 1 1/2" - 1 5/8", then a course of 
5/8" minus for the top course.  If you can roll each course in before the 
next it will last a lot longer and be a lot easier to drive on.  DO NOT 
start with small rock, the soil will just swallow it up.

Once you determine how thick your driveway is going to be, it's easy to 
calculate the area of the rock required in cubic  feet, then divide by 27 
to get the yards, then convert that to tons.  I always used to buy rock buy 
the yard, but now the gravel pits and drivers all seem to want to bring it 
by the ton.  No matter; I have used the same driver for years, and I just 
tell him how many yards I want and let him worry about the tons.  Usually I 
just buy it by the truckload (about 12 yards) anyway.

If you ask nice your county highway engineer might be able to tell you 
about how thick your driveway should be and how thick the courses should run.

BTW, make sure the operator is licensed by the state and has insurance.

Also if the driveway isn't complicated, AND if you have a good (and 
cooperative) dump truck driver you won't need a cat or backhoe for 90% of 
it.  A good dump truck operator can open the tailgate just enough, tip the 
bed up and lay a very nice driveway just by driving down the path.  A lot 
of them won't do this, though.  They just want to dump it in a pile, 
collect the money, and run.

Dave C
Quit counting truckloads of rock a long time ago.....

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