01 Sep How Do You Put Down Road Base Properly?
Knowing how to put down a road base properly is an essential skill in the construction business. The following includes helpful information and step-by-step processes when it comes to laying down road base. The better you incorporate these steps and do your research ahead of time, the more likely you will fulfill the job properly and produce a final product that will be both functional and durable.
What is Road Base?
Underneath the paved layer of every road is a road base. Road base acts as the foundational layer of the road. In most cases, road base is created by mixing gravel and other fine materials, like stone dust, in order to create a hard, base-level surface for your paved surface layer to sit upon.
Compared to drain rock, road base rock encompasses greater amounts of fine material to facilitate drainage and help the road hold its shape. Therefore, given the foundational nature of road base, you will want to install it correctly the first time to keep the road stable and durable.
An aggregate base is one in which different sizes of rock are combined, ranging from rocks the size of 3/4 of an inch to fine dust particles. Aggregate bases can include:
- Various types of mixed or recycled base rocks.
- Crushed rocks of various sizes.
- Small stones like pea gravel.
Depending on its intended use, there are different classifications of aggregates bases. When putting down a base for a road, a class II aggregate base is typically used because of its ability to sustain heavier loads, provide increased stability, and enable successful water drainage.
What are the Different Types of Aggregate Base?
Virgin Base Rock
Virgin class II aggregate base rock is exactly what it sounds like it is: stone that has not been used for any other purposes and, therefore, is “virgin” rock. This type of base rock includes mined rocks taken straight from the mountain and into your hands. Since they are brand new materials, they tend to be a less cost-effective option and harsher on the environment given the time and natural resources it takes to mine, process, and create a virgin base rock material.
Recycled Base Rock
Recycled class II aggregate base rock is a great option for those who are looking to build a road on a budget. In most cases, recycled materials tend to be more cost-effective compared to virgin materials, and they are better for the environment. Many people are concerned that recycled class II aggregate base rock isn’t as durable compared to the virgin type—in reality, they are about the same. Nevertheless, make sure to research which aggregate base materials are best for your intended project.
How Does One Lay Down Road Base Properly?
Now that you have an idea of what a road base is, why it is important, and what the different types of aggregate bases are, it is now time to learn how to properly install it. Here are step-by-step instructions:
- Measure the length, width, and intended depth of the area where you will be installing the road.
This step should supersede the purchasing of your aggregate base rock. After you have come up with the amount of base you will need for your project, purchase the right tools and sufficient class II aggregate base rock materials.
- Ensure that the area you are working with is level using a laser level.
If it isn’t, level out any elevated areas to create a flat plane.
- Lay down a sub-grade material, if applicable.
If the soil conditions where you are building are not ideal, you may want to lay down a subgrade base material underneath your class II road base. A sub-base is a layer of compacted stone soil in the form of crushed rock. This will ensure that your foundational layer of road base has its own foundation to work off of.
- Lay down your road base.
To most successfully lay down your road base in a way that will ensure an equal distribution of material, it is recommended that you make ten or more passes over each area of your base, leveling and compacting it with a compacter. Make any necessary alternations until you create a level, equally-distributed layer of base rock.
Once you are finished following these steps, you will be prepared to put down the binder and surface layers, finalizing your road.
If you are new to road construction and road base, don’t be afraid to talk to a trained professional or experienced worker for help. As mentioned before, it is essential that, when laying down road base, you do it correctly the first time. If not, you may end up with an unstable road that can’t perform its intended purpose—and, worst comes to worst, it may end up causing danger to others. Therefore, be sure to get help and do everything you can to learn about road bases and how to install them before starting your project.