Frozen ground compaction question

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Rick ND, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. Rick ND

    Rick ND LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Hey Folks,

    I'm a homeowner installing compaction gravel for a brick patio/walkway.

    My question is ... is there a temperature rule of thumb for when it's to cold to compact gravel?

    It's been dipping just below freezing here at night then rising into the low to high 40's during the day.

    Thanx!! in-advance for any/all replies.

  2. crazymike

    crazymike LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 452

    you should always compact with water.

    You want to wet your limestone as you pack it. Not drench it and make a mess, but have enough water so there are no white/dry spots as you pack. But unless it's already below freezing it won't be a problem.

    However, if there is already a frost in the ground you must wait until the spring. Unless you dig deeper than the frost and refill with good dry, unfrozen material you won't achieve proper compaction ever.

    When filling with new material fill 4"-6" at time then pack and add another lift. Also don't forget to pack your base before applying your granular material.
  3. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,929

    Please do not listen to "Crazy" Mike. Unless you rented a 6K# compactor 4-6" is too much of a lift. Most likely you have a 3K# vibratory plate, so 2" lifts would be the max to achieve proper compaction. Make sure your compactor is jumping around like its on concrete before you stop.

  4. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,454

    Most homeowners will use a vibratory plate compactor, so 2" lifts of material would be proper. If freeze is a threat and you are mid project, you can cover your work area with concrete blankets before winter and weather set in.......Ground has not frosted or froze here yet, so we are still good to go. If you are thinking of doing this project during winter is SDakota, I think it would be more cost effective to wait till spring.......I hear you guys get a little chilly up there.
  5. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    This time of year the frost shouldn't cause the ground to freeze. Generally by 10 AM sometimes noon the ground temperature is above freezing. It generally takes a week of constant temperatures below freezing to cause the ground to freeze "solid." In South Dakota depends on the season but averages around Thanksgiving time.

    North Dakota might be a week or two sooner.

    Once the ground is frozen might as well wait until spring.
  6. PlatinumLandCon

    PlatinumLandCon LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,315

    If you can get the job done within a week I wouldn't be concerned with freezing. The day temps will thaw any minimal freezing that would take place overnight.

    CG and rockset are correct, no more than 2" lifts. A home depot compactor is pretty light duty (assuming thats what you're using).

    Good luck!
  7. Rick ND

    Rick ND LawnSite Member
    Messages: 9

    Thanx!! for the all replies.

    My plan was to get the gravel compacted and close to the correct slope then wait till spring/summer to complete the project.

    cgland ... The ... "Make sure your compactor is jumping around like it's on concrete before you stop" is a great piece of descriptive advice.
    I understand what you mean now that I've had a couple days to use the machine.

    Thanx!! again for your help

    Rick in North Dakota ... it's a dry cold :)

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