Hardstand surfacesHardstand surfaces can be a cost effective solution for many situations.
Unlike asphalt (which is a sealed surface) hardstand surfaces are not sealed and hence are affected by weather and traffic. However with a little care they can last many years, especially in residential situations. As they are not a sealed surface, you will see loose stones on the surface.
A hardstand surface must be installed prior to laying asphalt, although it is referred to as a basecourse in this situation. We use either roadbase or gravel for as a basecourse, as the colour difference between the light grey and orange is irrelvant when they are being sealed over with asphalt.
Types of hardstand:Roadbase hardstand Light grey in colour, when left as a hardstand surface this material is usually chosen in commercial situations.
Gravel hardstand Orange in colour, the more attractive option in residential settings. The gravel used is also called ferricrete (it is similar to "cracked pea gravel" but this is a different product).
Limestone hardstand Cream/white in colour. Not as preferred as roadbase or gravel if you wish to seal with asphalt later.
Thickness of hardstandAll three materials are very strong when installed correctly, the choice of which one to use is mainly aesthetic. We also choose the material to match what is already on site, so for example we usually use gravel on driveways in the Perth Hills area because there is often already a thin gravel driveway.
Residential and light commercial: 100mm thick
Heavy duty commercial: 150-250mm thick
Roadbase, gravel and limestone are all installed in the same way - we excavate the area to allow for the correct depth of hardstand material to be installed (this may be soil, sand, lawn, old pavers, etc); spread the material usually by bobcat; rake it level; then waterbind & compact it with a vibrating roller to form a very hard surface.
Sealing with asphalt/hotmix later?One advantage of installing a hardstand surface, is that it is very easy to seal with asphalt at a later date. We simply scrape the top (contaminated) layer off the hardstand surface, top it up with a little new material which is waterbound & compacted, then lay the asphalt on top.
Some customers choose to install (for example) a gravel hardstand driveway when they first build a rural property, and then when funds permit, they ask us to return and seal it with asphalt - sometimes many years later. Even for very old or damaged hardstand driveways (where we need to scrape quite a lot of the top layer off, then top up with at least 50mm of new material), it is still cheaper than a completely new construction.
The one disclaimer to this is that we do not recommend asphalt is laid directly onto limestone unless the asphalt is very thick (40+mm), so if you are planning on laying asphalt on top of your hardstand surface down the track, roadbase or gravel are better options.