Top 5 Tips For Laying Gravel Grids

By Nidagravel UK in Gravel Grids Friday, March 11, 2022

Our range of Nidagravel gravel stabilisation grids are straightforward to install making them ideal for the professional contractor to install as well as the enthusiastic DIYer. There are a whole range of benefits to using our gravel grids when installing a new gravel surface or renovating an existing one, which we cover elsewhere on our website. For more information on some of the great benefits click this link:
Why Use Nidagravel?

In this news item, we are going to give you five useful tips that will help you achieve the perfect finish to your Nidagravel project where that's a path, patio, driveway, car park or something else.

Top 5 Tips for Laying Nidagravel 129, 130 & 140 Gravel Grids

TIP No.1 - Lay your Gravel Grids the right way round
Now, this might seem obvious, but it's worth pointing this out as it will save a lot of faffing about whilst laying your grids and let's face it - no one likes a faffer! To explain - each Nidagravel grid has 2 overlaps of membrane that are folded out flat onto the sub-base when each sheet is laid. There is one overlap on a long side and one short side. It is best if the sheet is orientated so that the short overlap is on your right-hand side. This will ensure that each time a grid is laid, you are laying the grid on top of the membrane overlaps of the previous sheets laid. This makes life easy. It's easier to fold out the overlaps and it also means you do not have to keep lifting sheets and tucking membrane underneath. This is probably more confusing than it sounds. Just keep the short overlap on your right for all sheets and Bob's your uncle, Fanny's your aunt, Dave's your brother, etc. You'll be laying Nidagravel grids as fast as the professionals in no time!

TIP No. 2 - Getting the gravel overfill just right
When it comes to filling your grids with gravel, you fill the grids to the top and then overfill by approx. 20-25mm. Why do you do this? I hear you ask. Well for several reasons. The first reason is so that your grids are completely hidden from view. All you want to see is a perfectly flat expanse of gravel with no grid showing through at all. The second reason is that the gravel overfill layer also takes up some of the turning forces of vehicles using the surface, so it's important to get the gravel overfill right. Filling the grids with gravel is really quick and easy and you should always work off a filled section of Nidagravel as the system does not achieve its full load-bearing strength until filled with gravel. As soon as the grids are filled with gravel you can use a digger and/or a small dumper truck to mechanically fill the grids on larger projects. So, whether the project is large or small, Nidagravel grids can be filled really quickly. There is nothing wrong with filling the grids quickly, the only problem is that when you stand back and look at your handiwork, whilst it will look great, it will be virtually impossible to tell if you have given the grids an even 25mm overfill. It may be too deep in places and not deep enough in others. You obviously want to do a thorough job and can waste a lot of time checking this, raking out high spots and low spots, etc. The simple solution is to have several pieces of 25mm batten on hand to use as a gauge. Just keep checking as you go, it's quick, it's easy and it will ensure that you will get an even overfill of gravel across the full surface area. It also means that when you get to the end of filling the grids, you are finished and be confident that the surface layer will settle evenly and consistently. It will also save you time in the long run!

TIP No. 3 - Setting your edgings just right
This part is actually completed before you even pick up a sheet of Nidagravel. But it's an important step in the construction of your base, especially if it's a driveway project. We are NOT going to discuss types of edging or the best method of laying here as we are concentrating on getting a great finish to the Nidagravel surface. Whatever type of edging you decide best suits your project it is important to set them at the right level. Normally, there are two options here. You either set your edgings to be flush (at the same level) as your Nidagravel surface or they are raised so that you will see the top and side of your edging above the Nidagravel surface. Raised edgings are a nice way to 'show off' a nice edging such as a natural granite block or corten steel edging. Whether you decide on a flush or a raised edging you need to set your edging height to allow for the thickness of the Nidagravel system including the gravel overfill. For example, if you install our Nidagravel 130 gravel grid then you need to allow 30mm for the grid plus 20mm for the gravel overfill and we would say plus 5-10mm leeway. So, in total that's 55 - 60mm. For a flush edging, you would need to ensure that your edgings are set 55 - 60mm above your fully prepared sub-base and for a raised edging you also need to allow for how much of the edging you would like to see. So if you want to see 75mm of raised edging when finished you need to add this on top. Your raised edgings would therefore be set at approx 130 - 135mm above your prepared sub-base in this example. The same principle applies to all our gravel grids and you can check details of each of our grids and their thicknesses by viewing the relevant product pages. Once your edgings are correctly set, pay attention to compacting your sub-base around the edges to ensure that you have a consistent and accurate height between the sub-base and edging all the way round. This is important because your grids will follow the levels you set. By getting this right you will ensure that your Nidagravel finished surface will look perfect where it runs up against your edges. This will make the difference between achieving a superbly detailed finish and an average one. Just depends on how much of a perfectionist you are!

TIP No.4 - Working around manhole / drain covers
There's no getting around the fact that most manholes are pretty ugly things. (Sorry to all the manhole fans out there!) They are either rusty old metal things that have been there for 50 years or shiny bright new things that leap out at you and draw your attention to them. You on the other hand, may not even notice your manhole, it might not bother you in the slightest or you might decide that you would rather try and camouflage the monstrosity that is ruining your design aesthetic. Whichever category you fall into, a good way to blend a manhole into your beautiful Nidagravel grid path, patio or driveway is to use a recessed manhole cover. A recessed manhole is comprised of a frame and tray. The frame is mortared into position and the tray, which can be lifted in and out to access the drain, can be filled with block paving, paving slabs or in this case a piece of Nidagravel grid trimmed to fit. Recessed manhole trays are a great way to disguise a manhole and are ideal for use with our gravel grids. Simply cut your Nidagravel grids to go around the frame and cut a piece to fit inside the tray. Once filled with gravel, all you will see is the outline of the tray. It looks much nicer to see a recessed manhole cover in a gravel driveway and will have you saying things like 'What manhole?' and 'Have you seen the manhole today, darling?' and other good things like that. You may already know all about recessed manholes and how to install them or you may never have heard of them before reading this article, in which case, we hope this offers you a useful option for blending your manhole into your gravel driveway.

TIP No.5 - Planning the gravel grid layout
This tip relates to what we would consider 'best practice' when it comes to the pattern in which to lay your Nidagravel grids. For Nidagravel grid driveways, where possible, we recommend that Nidagravel grids be laid left to right across the driveway. Start with a full sheet and lay the grids in a row. When you get to the end of the row, trim your gravel grid to fit. (Keep the offcut as this can be used for infilling around the edges as required). Then cut a sheet in half and start the next row with a half sheet, continuing the row with full sheets until you get to the end. Start the third row on a full sheet and the 4th row on a half sheet and so on. This will give you an offset or stretcher bond laying pattern. For driveways where this is not possible or would result in unnecessary waste, then laying Nidagravel in a standard grid pattern, side by side is acceptable. Offsetting the gravel grid layout is less important for paths and patios which will only be subject to foot traffic.

If you have any queries about installing your Nidagravel path, patio or driveway then please do not hesitate to contact the technical team who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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