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Everything to do with gravel drives

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Roland, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. Roland

    Roland Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 7

    Hey everyone. Next year I'm moving to a rural area with lots of gravel drives (lots of LONG gravel drives), and plenty of private gravel roads. I've seen several threads about plowing gravel drives, but I'm interested in learning more about the best way to completely service them, as well as how you all charge (I know, different economies, different prices, etc etc, but still, people with experience in rural America can give good info here)

    One main consensus is to tap the plow up a bit until you get a good freeze, and then go ahead and drop it and plow normal for the rest of the season. Won't this make things very slippery for the customer? You must also have to plan to do some sanding as well?

    I would really appreciate more insight into the complete picture here. I know most of you hate to do gravel, but that's a significant part of the market where I'll be moving.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Roland, if you're still interested, we could get together and discuss this and have some demonstration and practice, if you'd like.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2008
  3. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184


    I have been doing over a mile of private dirt/gravel roads & parking areas for about 10 years now and have found a rubber edge to work well for me. If you sometimes need a regular steel edge for paved surfaces, a slit 2" heavy-wall (schedule 80) steel pipe will work well for the gravel and is easily removed for pavement.

    Either of these methods will still scoop up some gravel when not frozen in, especially if gravel is fresh or deep. Regular blade shoes do not help much, although welding "skis" to the bottoms will help quite a bit when ground is not frozen.

    If icing and traction become issues, figure on a course sand/salt (90-10%) mix as needed. You will need a spreader specifically rated for bulk, damp sand, not just a salt spreader.

    Sounds like Mick is making you a generous offer as well.

    Good Luck
  4. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 480

    Some of the Hill Towns in my area use "chip stone" or screenings in place of sand/salt mix on the back dirt roads.
  5. RipT

    RipT Senior Member
    Messages: 184

    "Chip stone" or similar can be be better traction-wise than sand, but will vary a lot for area to area. In many cases you may still need to have some salt mixed in to keep from freezing in the pile even if covered. Sand will vary as well.
  6. 91AK250

    91AK250 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,641

    my road is chip seal and is plowed by the city, by the time they get out here its all packed down and i've had to do a few passes to keep the bulk down before they get out, but a snow/ice coverd road isnt to bad traction wise. ofcourse im more used to that then many of my southern plow brothers haha. as the whole idea of salting everything is very unknown to me. we hardly use salt here other then for our decks/stairs outside the home otherwise its just sand ontop of snow/ice if anything. our main roads and driveways everything are ice and snow coverd all winter.

    my gravel driveway i let the first snow pack down before plowing as i've delt with pushing gravel all over my lawn and it wasnt fun come spring, this way it gives me a good solid base to work with all winter and not worry about clean up come spring, i understand this may not be a option for you guys with customers used to doing it differently...just my 2 cents
  7. Ford_7.3_meyer

    Ford_7.3_meyer Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    Same here, 91AK250. We just let it get a packed down then plow on top. Works great! We don't sand ether.
  8. Roland

    Roland Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 7

    Mick, I'll defintately be giving you a call when I get to Maine. Right now I'm planning on making the move in June. You can never plan too far ahead though :).

    I'm setting up my business plans as we speak. I know my area will have a lot of these kind of drives, so I'm very interested in what one needs to service them, so I can plan ahead for the costs and such.