Why Compacting Base Material is So Important


Whenever performing any type of a hardscape project, it is critical to prepare a proper base. Compacting base material is vital to the overall durability and structure of your hardscape project. After determining your project location and design, the first step is an excavation of the ground location. After marking any and all utility lines or wires, start your base preparation plans and be certain that you extend your base preparation past the finished size of your project. For instance, if you are building a patio that is 20 x 10 feet you want to be certain that your base preparation is extended past this actual patio size by about a foot.  

The depth of your base material is also important and you should take into consideration its ability to facilitate any drainage. Local soil conditions will definitely impact your depth and guidelines for how much depth is needed for your project should be referenced to ensure that you are utilizing appropriate depths. Each plays a significant role in compacting base materials and setting the stage for your hardscape project.

When preparing your base material never use a plastic covering of any type with the primary intention of preventing the growth of weeds. Weeds typically start from the top of cracks in any foundation and will work their way down to the roots, not vice a versa, which means that the use of plastic will simply create problems with entrapped water that will result in additional problems as well. In order to prevent any weeds from growing be selective in the type of soil you use and if you suspect poor draining capabilities, then install a layer of geo-textile on the bottom and place your granular base atop the textile. In case there is any clay in the soil, the geo-textile will serve as a barrier to not only stabilize but stop the clay from mixing or interfering with your good sub base materials.

Here at Harpeth Valley Hardscapes our highly skilled and trained technicians and specialists never dump base materials, but rather fill it up and then use our state of the art plate compactors, with layers of 3-4” each, to compact base materials. If we find base material to be dry, we add water so as to cut down on the dust created and aid in the overall compaction process.   Wanting to present with a thick, consistent layer of base material sand, our experienced professionals spend a great deal of time on the base so as to make the rest of our customized project much easier. We will adequately set necessary slopes for drainage and take every precaution to ensure that all base materials are compacted adequately.

At Harpeth Valley Hardscapes we know full well that the type of sand used when compacting base material is critical to the installation of a secured, solid base which is why we avoid stone dust or limestone screenings since they present with far too much dust which entraps water and ultimately causes failures. Our teams are committed and dedicated to providing a proper base which will support any project and ensure long lasting quality of the project as well. The primary function of a project’s base material is that of support. With that said, effective compacting of base material is a vital first step that serves as both the strength and foundation of every project and a step that should not be overlooked nor performed too quickly. Without properly compacting base materials the potential for a failed project is incredibly high.

For your next home improvement hardscape project, contact the professionals here at Harpeth Valley Hardscapes and let us turn your backyard dream into a reality today. Remember, there is no project too big or too small for our licensed and certified technicians and specialists. Recognized as your go to company for all your hardscape needs, the professionals here at Harpeth Valley Hardscapes look forward to serving all our Brentwood clients and those in the surrounding areas as well. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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