Compaction question

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Rick ND, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. Rick ND

    Rick ND LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9

    Hey folks,

    I'm a homeowner installing a brick patio/walkway.

    My question is ... is there a test to tell if you've compacted the base enough?

    I'm using a rented plate compactor ... the base is about 4 inches of class 5 compaction gravel.

    Thanx!! in advance for any/all replies

  2. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy LawnSite Senior Member
    from nj
    Posts: 601


    1st - 4 inches seems kinda light on base. I'd go min. 6 inches. As far as your compaction goes it should be challenging to drive a spike into your compacted base, don't forget fabric under the base and also don't forget to compact your sub base (soil) well also before anything else. Without knowing more about your area and project it's kinda tough to give better advice........You should also not skimp on the width of the base so that when you install your edge restaint you will be able to drive your spikes into something solid and not be on the very outer edge where they will not hold well if at all.
  3. Rick ND

    Rick ND LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9


    Thanx!! for the info.

    One more question for ya

    Are there any major drawbacks to leaving the compacted base gravel to settle over the winter?

    I'm just not going to have time to install the bricks before snow/winter gets here.

    Thanx!! again for any/all replies


    SOUTHERNGREENSCAPES LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 763

    i don't know about things in your area, but why live with a construction zone. Hold off on the entire project until weather permits.
  5. Rick ND

    Rick ND LawnSite Member
    Posts: 9


    Thanx!! for the input.

    Thing is I'm already committed/installing the compaction gravel.

    I was just curious if I'd need to do much more than re-compact/recheck slope when I'm ready to go in the spring/summer?

    Thanx again for any/all replies

  6. jonmcmeen

    jonmcmeen LawnSite Member
    Posts: 25

    It NEVER hurts to run that compactor again over the base after it settles over the winter! (I.e. cheap insurance)
  7. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    The base way to test the compaction is by using an edging spike and hammering it into the base. If you can do it with 1 hand it is not compacted enough. Also, the heal test: Press your heel into the base and see if you're able to leave an impression in the surface. A human should not be able to leave any impressions in a properly compacted base.
  8. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,045

    Well I disagree some with it, not leaving a mark doesn't meat the base is properly compact it.
    You can have the upper 2 inches compacted well enough for you not to leave a mark but the whole remaining base is not.
    There's a nuclear test but the cost is somewhat expensive for the size of your project.
  9. mrusk

    mrusk LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,260

    Ofcourse run the compactor over the base in the spring. THats the way to go. Listen to jonmcmeen.
  10. Team-Green L&L

    Team-Green L&L LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,776

    Okay, to appease the masses, I'll tell you to get e proctor-density test ran on the site for about $300.00 (because lord knows no one has brought up 1-2" lifts for compaction yet) and if you compact more than 2" at a time with a rental compactor you will never achieve proper compaction. Sorry, I thought that was a "gimme"?

    Honestly, the heel test is effective as long as you're smart enough to compact in 1-2" lifts with low psi compactors. As a matter of factly, the heel-test is in your ICPI training manual. Not to bring that up again, but "hey" is.

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