When your property has a lengthy gravel road or driveway, you should be sure that you keep it clean, leveled and properly cared for. After all, threats like heavy rain and increased traffic can lead to wear, washouts and ruts. The best way to fix problems like these is by grading the driveway. Sure, you could fill the ruts in by hand, but without grading the surface, that fix won't last. When you grade the surface, it shifts everything into a solid, stable shape for lasting repair. Here's a look at what you need to know about grading your driveway.
The Grading Process
You'll need to start by obtaining a grading machine. You'll have to have a truck or other vehicle that you can tow it behind as well. Once you have that established, it's time to start working.
Dig as deeply as you can along the area to loosen the gravel. You can use a power grader that will loosen the gravel for you, and you can even set the depth to do so. Make sure that you dig as deep as the deepest ruts and potholes, because that is the only way to create a lasting repair.
Drive back and forth across your driveway from one side toward the other. Repeat the process until all of the gravel is broken free. Once everything is loose and free, look over the entire area for any washouts or ruts.
Finally, do one or two final passes with the grader to make sure that everything is level.
The Maintenance Process
In most situations, you'll only need to grade the road or driveway twice a year. Doing it in the spring gives you the chance to clean up any damage from winter's storms, while tackling it again in the fall allows you to try to minimize the winter weather effects.
If you do see potholes between gradings, fill them in as best as possible with loose gravel. Then, rake the top with a heavy-duty rake. It breaks up some of the compacted gravel around the pothole, blending everything together. This is a good temporary fix until your next grading process.
Maintain the crown between gradings as well. The crown is the high point found at the center of the driveway. This will help your driveway drain well, which is a key factor in preventing ruts and washouts.
With the tips here and a grading machine rental, you can keep your driveway or road looking great all year. If you aren't comfortable doing it on your own, one of the local grading contractors can help.