Is There a Name for This Cheap Paving Technique?

Some friends of ours only had a stone bed for a driveway (i.e., roughly fist-sized stones). The driveway is about three cars deep and two cars wide. One day, a paving company drove by and gave them a reasonable estimate to “pave” their driveway. I don’t know the specific terms and conditions, but my friends expected a blacktop driveway upon completion, or a reasonable equivalent. As it turned out, they got what I would describe as a crushed pebble or compacted powder - perhaps pressed into the existing stones. Naturally, they were deeply disappointed. Might someone know the correct term for this kind of cheap “paving” job? You see, knowing the name in the paving business for this short-cut of a paving job might help another friend of mine from getting taken, too.

Is it Chipseal?

Gosh, that seems like a rude thing to do to a seal.

Based on that article, chipseal is how my road was paved. It doesn’t leave fine dust behind. It is sealed on top, as the name implies. It’s just not as smooth as asphalt )nor does it get as hot when the sun shines on it and you walk on it barefoot).

I’ve seen what the OP describes, turning stone road to a gravel road, but I don’t know the name for the actual process. I’ve also seen taking a dirt road and adding gravel, which is what was originally done to my road before the neighbors chipped in and got it paved.

“Leftovers”? Sounds like they found a way to dump extra material and get paid for it.

Is it a legit company? Sounds almost like a traveler scam

It’s called macadam. It’s been around for almost 2 hundred years and is actually a hard wearing surface that’s easy to repair.

As suggested, it sounds like a well-known scam. The best way for your other friend or anyone else not to be taken is not to do business with someone who shows up on your doorstep unannounced.

asphalt pavement is often mistakenly referred to as macadam. Macadam as a construction technique is not a scam. We use it in our parks for bike paths.

Black top is prettier for short driveways but harder to maintain.

I agree with the others who say they are scammed. The stuff they put on will look good for maybe a year but 2 years on and it will be gone. Only work with established companies who have a long history of good service in your area.

We’ve had Macadam on our very long drive for more than a decade. It is hard wearing, we’ve had very little maintenance issues, the road grader that works on the county road we live on, tore up the very beginning of the road once and we had to have it redone on that spot. There is one low spot that occasionally has a puddle. Overall we have loved it, so much better than gravel.

Compacted fines can work for a bike path or walking path but isn’t necessarily a solution for vehicular traffic. None of us have access to the driveway though so it may be legitimate work or just a cheap scam job.

I wasn’t suggesting the macadam surface was a scam but instead the way that the “paving company” drove by and offered to work on the driveway. That’s what sounds scammy. Does the homeowner know if that paving company even exists, beyond some name painted on the side of the truck? If you deal with an established company with an office, a known reputation and a construction license, they are likely to be around a year or two from now if you have problems with the driveway. With this company, who knows?

yes, I agree, it could easily be a scam. Unfortunately, a lot of people mistake the word “macadam” to mean asphalt paving. If I had a long driveway in the country I’d choose macadam. If I had a short driveway in a housing complex I’d get concrete or asphalt because it’s a more even surface. If someone was selling a driveway installation in a housing complex I would expect asphalt or concrete.

If this is a true macadam surface that’s installed properly then I’d line the sides with brick to give it a finished look.

It might wear really well over those fist size stones. Much cooler in the summer and more attractive and natural looking.

They probably have a sub base put down without the top layer of #57 gravel. My son is a contractor and uses it all the time to firm up the soil before the final layer of gravel and usually concrete.

Two years ago he was over here and said he had a leftover load of #304 sub base and asked if I wanted to fill in low spots in my gravel drive. What a disaster. It is very firm, I will say that. It fills in holes and does not easily get pulled out. But the fines tracked into the house every time they got wet for months. Sticky, gray mud that dries quite hard on the floor.

The mix your friends got might be different, time will tell. Hopefully it has more chips and less powdery fines.


Years ago a neighbor’s driveway was being redone. My driveway was just stone/gravel from the original construction. The guy working on my neighbor’s property walked over and told me he’d really like to do my driveway while they were there. He explained that he was just an employee of the company, and any money he could get from me would be going straight into his and his crews’ pockets. We negotiated back and forth and I eventually gave him cash. They did a great job for about a third I of what I’d previously been quoted (probably barely covered materials). I drove by that house recently and it has held up nicely.

From my extensive viewing of Ground Force and similar gardening programmes, over here it’s called “hoggin” if it’s unsealed but compacted. But you can also get self-sealing and resin-bonded gravel.

Long ago, in Organic Gardening magazine, there was a piece about “earth concrete.” The idea is that you roto-till ordinary ground, then till in a lot of Portland cement. Wet it down, smooth it out, and that’s it. I haven’t heard anything about it since.

If they have no contract and/or way to contact this company, they were scammed, period. Legitimate companies do not operate this way.