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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
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    • CommentAuthorbar
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    Hi I have a ~25m uphill gravel [hardcore] drive to my house and with the recent freezing cold weather I have a problem with driving up it so have to leave car down at bottom on main road. I know at present there is no land drainage installed around my house and this is making my situation worse as surface water around my house flows down the drive and this water freezes over to cause a dangerous surface etc.

    I now want to look at putting in a driveway with main focus on safety in icy/snow conditions along with surfacing around the rest of my house.

    Besides installing suitable land drainage at top of drive/down the drive and bottom of driveway what is the best options for driveway sufacing in this situation which will offer good traction going up/down the drive as proper drawinage alone will not be sufficient on a smooth surface eg. concrete/tarmac etc?
    I have ruled out Tarmacadam for oil delivery truck etc ripping up on turning at top, block paving is expensive and potentially dangerous on sloped driveway? I am looking at concrete with exposed agregate surface but am finding very few contractors who know anything about this surface finish in Ireland?

    I would appreciate comments /recommendations on sloped driveway surface for improving winter traction/safety.

    • CommentAuthorRobinB
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    We're planning to use recycled plastic grid system which can be planted with grass or filled with gravel. e.g. http://www.hebden40.co.uk/ which is made in UK. I'm hoping it will be very free draining, none slip and look nice. (I have no connection with the company) .
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    Snow chains and crampons are the only things that will work --
    • CommentAuthorbar
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    Hebden40 seems more suitable to a level parking bay as opposed to sloped drive?

    I have ordered winter tyres for future changeover next season but would snow chains damage driveway surface if used?
    Was thinking of winter tyres + proper driveway drainage + decorative exposed agregate concrete surface for added grip [if i could get a contractor that does it?]

    Is exposed agregate concrete finish a specialised process or could a general concrete contractor do it easily?
    Other possibility is resin bonded stone on top of a concrete base but this i beileve would not be durable?

    What is the easiest way for me to determine my driveway slope angle i.e 15degrees or 30degrees?
    Posted By: barI have ordered winter tyres for future changeover next season but would snow chains damage driveway surface if used?
    If you have proper winter tyres you won't need snowchains. Here in snowy Quebec snowchains are not allowed as they destroy the road surface. I live on a fairly steep street (about 1:10) and have no problem driving up it even when it's snow-covered.

    Paul in Montreal.
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    My neighbour has a sloping drive finished with concrete but left "tamped" ( this is where a board is lifted and dropped across the concrete but resting on the shuttering to leave a level but rough surface of ridges) Normally the surface would then be trowelled flat but dont do this part. If the concrete is delivered a little dry it is less likely flow into a flat finish.
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    Posted By: barWhat is the easiest way for me to determine my driveway slope angle

    There's probably a "proper" technique but a long stick and a short stick will do it. Lay the long stick on the drive. Lift up the lower end until its level. Use the short stick as a vertical support. Measure the horizontal and vertical lengths of stick and there's your gradient.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    What Joe90 said about tamped concrete is probably the best option. You can make it look slightly neater by troweling a two inch boarder around the edges.

    To be honest once the surface is covered with 1/2" of compacted snow it doesn't really matter what it is, ice is ice. Our sloping driveway is half tarmac and half gravel, in that last spell we had 4" of snow and I couldn't easily tell where the gravel ended and the tarmac began. The gravel part stays safe longer but the whole thing quickly became a smooth sheet once we had a lot of compacted snow/ice.

    Salting it is the only answer. We tried table salt (all we had) but that doesn't work as well as the salt from the councils bin. If we get any more I plan to try dishwasher salt.
    • CommentAuthorRobinB
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010 edited
    I recently found out that council salt is mixed with molasses to make it stick to the road a bit better....

    To find my gradient I used a long transparent plastic tube filled with water with food colouring to make a giant level and filled it to the height of the highest point, then measured the height of the water going up the tube from the lowest point. Not a great description, hope it's clear enough.
    • CommentAuthorbar
    • CommentTimeFeb 1st 2010
    thanks guys for the good info..
    djh/ robinB I will check my gradient at weekend (when get daylight ) as interested to know what gradient I am dealing with!
    only concern with tamped concrete finish is the cosmetic appearance [kerb appeal :-)] but guess I'm not in a position to be choosy :wink:
    winter tyres and a grit box fully stocked for next winter is planned :smile:
    • CommentAuthormike7
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010 edited
    Posted By: Paul in MontrealIf you have proper winter tyres you won't need snowchains. Here in snowy Quebec snowchains are not allowed as they destroy the road surface. I live on a fairly steep street (about 1:10) and have no problem driving up it even when it's snow-covered.

    Paul in Montreal.

    Just wondering if this might be because of the very low temps you get in Quebec. It was very noticeable round here (UK) how quickly snow that had been driven over became like water ice, and I find it hard to imagine any amount of rubber tread making a difference. I suspect this would be because the temps here were much closer to 0 degC. Skiers will probably get what I'm on about.

    Many proud UK owners of 4WD cars may have been disappointed to find that four times nought is the same as two times nought.:shamed:

    Getting back to the problem posted, how about this:- http://www.icax.co.uk/toddington_results.html
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    If possible form a flat parking area at the bottom of your drive.
    • CommentAuthorbar
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    mike7 , seems Icax system is more new build/commercial system with thermal bank system..

    I have actually considered underground heating by devi as used in Europe


    Like the idea of two tracks only and installation is easiest when installed with the concrete/cobbleblock drive so insulation can go down under mat. I guess it comes down to cost and the probability of more frequent icy winters ahead to justify it as cant say Ive seen it anywhere here? i would expect cost to be prohibitive!

    At a guess i would say my gradient is ~30 degrees
    Our drive is nearly 500m long, half is flat and the other half is about 25'.
    Right at the top we have two gateways, 30m apart and between these we have tarmac, because I thought it'd look nicer. Never thought of the problems with ice and snow.
    The rest of the drive is made up of crushed concrete from the old kerbstones that were taken up when the council relaid the road.
    We were lucky that the contractors used our drive for storage, then laid the drive for us, compacting it down with a massive roller.
    The rough part of the drive was always easy to drive up and down, even when we had about 6" of snow, the last 30m was a nightmare.
    So much I ordered some grit and was daily gritting the top 30m section.
    I drive an Audi A4 quattro

    We have some of the rutted concrete on the pathway up to the house, I fell over a couple of times so it's not brill for walking on, can't comment on driving on it as the car won't fit through the 4' gateway.

    Site your grit bin close to the house and not at the top of the drive or you'll be forever gritting everyone else's drives :)
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeFeb 6th 2010
    Mke 7,

    I have winter tyres on my car (Mazda 121)and had no problems getting about in the snow this winter in britain. They work really well.
    • CommentAuthorcookie
    • CommentTimeFeb 8th 2010
    What ever solution you choose, your not allowed to shed water onto the highway, all new drives have to be self draining or drain to a soak away, the coucils / water authority are checking and forcing people to redo drives.

    As for finish, tamp works very well, exposed aggrogate is easy, its just lightly jet washed the next day to take the fat (high cement layer that comes to the surface from tamping concrete) off the surface, however, its this layer that protects concrete (and the steel) from salt damage, so if you do this then you may risk damage to the concrete if you salt the drive over a long period.

    Check with your local building control over drive make up / drainage. Look at costs there is no cheap option if you want a finished surface and at the size of drive your talking about it could be very costly.

    You could always sort the drainage out around the house, every 5m or so down the drive run diagnal drainage channels to prevent surface water running down the drive and re roller / fill low spots in the drive. Snow chains can only be used on to roads with enough snow depth that they don't come into contact with the hard surface which can reck the chains.

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