Potholes can get bigger and deeper over the winter if you don’t address the problem now.
If you have a dirt or gravel driveway, you know that potholes can be a jarring experience. Before winter sets in, follow these simple driveway maintenance steps to fix existing potholes and keep new ones from forming.
Potholes are caused by water pooling on your driveway. Once they form, puddled water can cause them to get bigger and deeper. Almost nothing causes more wear and tear on your vehicles.
If you notice a pothole form on your driveway it’s always a good idea to keep it drained until you have time to do comprehensive maintenance. Simply digging a very shallow channel from the pothole to the edge of your driveway will allow water to drain away and keep the problem from getting worse.
Filling potholes by hand can be difficult and time-consuming but the upside is you’ll be able to do a really effective job on the pothole. Loose fill will wash away in future rain events, so it’s important to address the extreme compaction of the pothole surface. The key is to loosen up the pothole to a depth of a few inches before filling it.
• Use a pick or a mattock to bust up the surface of the pothole.
• Add gravel slowly, compacting the new material as you go. Tamping with a post or a 5 gallon bucket works, or you can roll over it with your vehicle.
• Add water to increase compaction of the new fill.
• Add a little bit of height above the surface of your driveway and rake it out smooth.
Filling potholes is a good intermediate fix, but it won’t solve the root cause of pothole formation and it won’t ensure that your pothole stays gone. For that you need a little mechanical advantage.
The key to a properly drained driveway—that won’t develop washboard and potholes—is a well-crowned one. A properly crowned driveway will have 1″ of rise for every four feet of driveway width.
You can hire a tractor with a scraper blade to do the job. Or you can do it yourself with an ATV or garden tractor if you have a DR® Power Grader. Sixteen carbide-tipped scarifying teeth dig deep into your gravel drive, loosening packed material and redestributing it for a smooth and even surface. You can even control the grading depth with a remote controlled power actuator — right from your tow vehicle. It’s the easiest, most effective way to maintain your gravel or dirt driveway!
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