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I am getting ready to close on a house that was just built, and I have noticed several places where the contractor did not appear to meet the specifications set forth in the contract. We have a gravel driveway behind the house, and when it was put in the contractor simply poured gravel directly onto the dirt/mud in the freshly graded yard. In some places the driveway is so thin that mud is easily visible below it. In the contract, the following is specified for the driveway:

Driveway/Sidewalk

Contractor to complete 3/4" stone 4" base with crush n run top coat driveway. Total thickness of driveway to be 6". See site plan.

I am not familiar enough with construction terminology to tell what that should look like, but I doubt that this is what was completed in my yard. How could I tell if the contractor did this correctly?

EDIT: As it turns out, my suspicions were correct, and it took two more loads of gravel to bring my driveway up to spec. The difference while driving over the driveway is evident, and lake Erie no longer resides at the end of my driveway. Thanks for the help!

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For about 500 dollars, you can get a new home inspection done. The inspector will line check the contract for you. –  Chris Cudmore Mar 26 '12 at 10:40
    
That may be what we have to do. Thanks for the advice! –  Brendon Dugan Mar 26 '12 at 12:44
    
sometimes looking at the very edges is not a good indication. gotta test as I described in a few inches from the edge. –  shirlock homes Mar 26 '12 at 16:14
    
Thanks for sharing with us a happy ending! –  lqlarry Apr 11 '12 at 2:45
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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

There is really only one way to check the construction of your driveway. You will need to select a couple of locations and using a shovel, remove the top layer to expose the base layer, then remove the base layer to the grade fill and measure the layers.

If you are not comfortable that the driveway was built to spec, notify the general contractor or party you are purchasing the house from, as well as your lender and refuse to close until the driveway is properly built and proven to your satisfaction. Stand tough, once you close it will be much more difficult to get this fixed. Insist they prove to your satisfaction the spec was followed. Good Luck

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Is it safe to say that since the entire driveway appears to be less than an half an inch thick (with it being less than a month old) that the spec was likely not met? –  Brendon Dugan Mar 24 '12 at 13:35
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A half an inch is a long way from the 6" called for in the spec. Sounds like a pretty safe conclusion unless there's something we don't know. –  TomG Mar 24 '12 at 15:39
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Is it possible that you're seeing the result of the pumping action of driving on gravel over moist ground?

Any water in the fill dirt will pump up to the surface of the gravel as you drive on it, bringing silt with it.

You may have 6" of gravel everywhere but not realize it.

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+1 - There's no way to know if there is gravel under the mud without digging. –  JNK Mar 26 '12 at 18:04
    
I believe if you put a layer of hardware cloth down before the gravel, it will stop the silt from pumping up. –  Jay Bazuzi Mar 27 '12 at 3:48
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