Can you use decomposed granite for a driveway?

decomposed granite material

What is decomposed granite?

Before we answer that question and several others on this subject, let’s clarify what decomposed granite is exactly.  We classify it as a rock that is originated from granite and has weathered to where the granite readily breaks into smaller, weaker pieces of rock.

Sometimes decomposed granite becomes so fine over time, it is almost like sand. Because it is loose, decomposed granite has excellent drainage, which is why it is commonly used for gardens, landscaping mulch, play areas, and sports courts. Using decomposed granite for driveway, patios, or walkways for the same reason and because it is inexpensive.  

How long does decomposed granite last?

Decomposed granite is an ideal paving material for driveways, paths, walkways and other certain areas. It has a more natural look, comes in several colors, and is inexpensive when compared to concrete. How long decomposed granite last and how much it costs will depend on how and where it is used.

Decomposed granite is made of aggregated granite that is the consistency of sand and as big as 1/4″, which when compared to other materials, is a fine texture. It is because of that fine texture, it can easily wash away, but when applied properly, it has a longer lifespan than decomposed granite without stabilizer because it will be stabilized and less likely to erode. Experts recommend installing it with a slight slope will give it an average lifespan of 7 to 10 years.

Does decomposed granite need to be compacted?

Yes, and you must use a road base first, compacting them both as you apply.  Expert contractors recommend applying and compact several inches of road base so that is it hard, then lay the decomposed granite two inches thick and compact it. If you mix a hardener with the decomposed granite, apply half-inch at a time, compacting it. You want the decomposed granite to be slightly wet and do not apply it too thickly or it doesn’t harden well. 

Packing or tamping decomposed granite will help it settle to a denser substance as opposed to leaving it loosely laid. This makes for a firmer driveway, path, or patio surface. If you are adding a decomposed granite over a substrate of gravel, dampen with water prior to compacting it.

If you’re using decomposed granite on a small job, you can pack it down with a hand tamper. You do this with a flat, heavy piece of metal on the end of a long handle. Holding the end of the handle, bash the decomposed granite straight down repeatedly, adding more decomposed granite as you compact it to maintain a filled area. When you have achieved a firm and a hard surface, you are done.

Does decomposed granite get hard?

Decomposed granite is ¼” or smaller aggregate of granite, therefore, it is not a loose material, which makes it perfect for areas that need drainage, like a playground and sports areas. Adding a hardener to it and compacted both the road base and the decomposed granite as described above, it will become hard somewhat, but not as hard as concrete.

Does decomposed granite stop weeds?

Decomposed granite will not prevent weeds from growing in the landscaping, even when using a fabric material first. In fact, it has been known to increase weed growth. The most effective way to control weed growth is to apply an herbicide before laying the fabric and decomposed granite and refresh it as instructed on the label.

granite driveway to a house

Is decomposed granite safe for dogs?

Decomposed Granite is safe or pets because the fine texture is soft and stable. It washes off well in potty areas, making cleanup easier. Decomposed granite may be considered safer than solid cement because it is breathing and not as hot to their paw pads.

Decomposed granite and flagstone work well together in patio areas. The natural beauty of flagstone provides an elegant, sophisticated look while the decomposed granite sturdies the flagstone, eliminating the need for mortar. This is a popular and inexpensive way to design a patio and will last for several years of enjoyment.

Tree roots, rain, or melting snow is about the only natural enemy of decomposed granite. If you are considering installing decomposed granite for your patio, take into consideration the climate where you live. Decomposed granite works great in places like desert areas where the rainfall is minimal to none. If you live where there is more rainfall, it can erode faster, and it becomes muddy and mushy, especially if you do not use a stabilizer with it.

Loose decomposed granite shouldn’t be used right around the house where it can be tracked in easily either, regardless of the climate where you live. Create a brick inlay for your decomposed granite addition to give it color and detail touch that makes it pop. For areas where you’ll be using it as a walkway path, adding a stabilizer will strengthen it and softer. For your decomposed granite driveway in Austin, TX, dial 512-646-6069 for ATX Asphalt Paving!