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View Full Version : Pavers - Compacting gravel base when wet/damp


Akshue
04-19-2009, 01:45 PM
OK, here is my little dilemma....

I was planning on compacting my gravel base on Wed for pavers - We are supposed to have light rain until Tuesday, and get about 1/2 in today

Our soil is clay, any my excavated hole is easily the lowest part in the lawn, which means that I now have a some standing water. It won't be bone dry by Wed.

I am using a geotex between the clay/existing slab and the traffic bond... Do I have to wait until things are nice and dry before compacting? Or, is it OK to start compacting when things are still a bit squishy (or is it better, as the soil will compact that much more)

lblmike
04-19-2009, 01:55 PM
Do you have the geotextile between the clay and gravel?

This is where it should be so that the clay does not migrate into the gravel. As far as compacting with standing water you will probably making soup. Is it possible do drain or pump some of the water out?

Akshue
04-19-2009, 02:10 PM
Yes, the geotex will be between clay and gravel. I don't think I will have standing water by then, but it will likley still be pretty wet.

Akshue
04-19-2009, 03:49 PM
Just checked it now.... Even though it is still raining, and there is 1-2" of water in some spots, the clay is not soupy at all - pretty firm, actually.

Hopefully it will dry up in time, but Im still curious if a little give will be OK.

lblmike
04-19-2009, 04:21 PM
How thick of a gravel base are you planning to put?
Here some contractors excavate down to frost line 4' then fill with gravel and no geotex fabric. this is a pretty safe way of accomplishing a good base but very expensive manufacturers here recommend 2' of gravel as a base

lblmike
04-19-2009, 04:22 PM
using geotex of course

Akshue
04-19-2009, 04:34 PM
I am doing at least 6" of gravel - closer to 7 in most places though (depending on how level I got my dirt in that particular area)

Mid-Ohio Scaper
04-19-2009, 05:57 PM
You know, if you were to use a clean crushed 3/4" gravel for base with geo under it you wouldn't have to worry about rainy or wet conditions at all.

LB1234
04-19-2009, 09:57 PM
We work with clay soil all the time. If the clay is like a sponge we just wait until it dries out...which can take a few days to a few weeks depending on site conditions.

If the site is good and you start compacting we always try to remember to have a few bags of portland cement on hand. If the QP/base starts to get oversaturated we just mix in some portland cement. You are not trying to make cement so obviously shouldn't do it if there are huge puddles all over the place but for small areas with too much moisture it should keep the job going.

good luck

Akshue
04-19-2009, 10:59 PM
Well, we are up to about 3" of standing water in my swimmin' hole now - its supposed to be cold and rainy until Tuesday.

Planning on going out tuesday night after the rain is done, vacuuming out as much water as I can, and setting a few fans on it overnight. We probably won't get to work on it on Wed, but mabye by thursday things will be dried out enough.

Bru75
04-19-2009, 11:40 PM
Let it dry first. If clay is wet it will turn to jelly under your compactor.

LB1234
04-20-2009, 04:24 PM
unless you are sunny and above 70 for a few consecutive days I highly doubt you will be starting by the weekend. Fan or no fan.

BOEpavers
04-20-2009, 07:09 PM
We deal with clay all the time here and trust me - if you have that much water in the hole and it "goes away" - no matter how dry it looks once you start compacting you're going to have a greasy, soupy mess. You'll need a couple days of warm and preferrably breezy weather to get your site dry after you get the water out or it drains on its own. If I were you I'd either rent a trash pump to get out the excess water if there is a lot, or purchase a small utility pump to drain most of the water out of low areas to speed up drying. We have a patio excavated as we speak and we've worked there 1 1/2 days out of the past 3 weeks due to wet clay. It rains for 2-3 days then no rain for 2-3 days and just when it starts to dry another 2-3 days of rain. Homeowner wanted to be 1st on the list for this spring and he got his wish! If this were not a sunken patio we'd probably be done as we wouldn't be dealing with standing water, etc.

JDavisLandscapes
04-20-2009, 09:40 PM
We work with clay soil all the time. If the clay is like a sponge we just wait until it dries out...which can take a few days to a few weeks depending on site conditions.

If the site is good and you start compacting we always try to remember to have a few bags of portland cement on hand. If the QP/base starts to get oversaturated we just mix in some portland cement. You are not trying to make cement so obviously shouldn't do it if there are huge puddles all over the place but for small areas with too much moisture it should keep the job going.

good luck

I love adding in a little bit of portland. It really does help. I just had a job where i had a ton of clay. I dug a good amount of it out and mixed in about 2 1/2 bags of portland with my first few lifts. It really does the trick. They told me it doesnt work at my ICPI classes, but I've been doing it for so long with the asphalt paving company I used to work for and it always seemed to do the trick. for 10 bucks a bag, how much difference in profit margin will a few bags make? if its going to make the difference b/w it settling and lasting 25 years, I'll spend that 30 bucks any day of the week.