Believe it or not, geotextiles have been in use since ancient Egypt. But that doesn’t mean we all include them in part of our everyday construction vocabulary. Geotextile fabric for parking lots (and many other uses) has a long history, bringing innovations and improvements to ground stabilization along the way.
Below, this article will outline all the point-by-point details on geotextile fabric that you’ll need to know for a solid understanding of this essential building material. It will discuss woven vs. non-woven geotextile fabric and its advantages, installation tips, ideas for alternatives, and much more.
The most important question is the obvious one: what is geotextile fabric, and how do we use it? We have the answers!
As the word ‘fabric’ would suggest, geotextile fabric is a woven building material made from sheets of impermeable liner (usually polypropylene slit film yarns). Not all geotextiles are woven nowadays, but the majority still use this technology. Manufacturers weave these materials together into rolls that are easy to apply to the ground before pouring a surface.
The most common use for geotextile fabric is a ground stabilization layer inserted between the soil and a paved or unpaved surface. They reduce rutting and help prevent the earth and the aggregate from intermixing. These fabrics add a buffer to surfaces like parking lots and driveways.
It reinforces the soil as it saves time and money for repairing cracks and any drainage issue. Previous alternatives to geotextile fabric didn’t separate aggregate bases from losing gravel into the earth. Parking lot surfaces were more prone to potholes and ruts as a consequence.
We mentioned above that not all geotextiles are woven textiles. In fact, there are a few varieties that you should know about.
- Non-woven Geotextile: Also called geotextile filter fabric, these textiles look like felt and give users planar control over water flow. They commonly appear in drains, for erosion control, and in asphalt overlays. They are not ideal for filtration.
- Woven Geotextiles: Manufacturers produce this product by weaving layers of synthetic strands into a tight yet pliable structure. Woven varieties provide a higher strength rating than non-woven, and they filter water more efficiently.
- Slit film Textiles: Uses flat, rigid strands for strength and retaining soil integrity.
- Monofilament Textiles: Uses round strands for increased filtration and flexibility.
Advantages of Geotextile Fabric in Parking Lots
Building large structures like roads and parking lots require a lot of foresight before construction begins. Geotextile fabric has been an essential material innovation for such building projects since 1968, when they were first mass-produced.
But what are the advantages of using geotextile fabric? Firstly, they are generally cheaper than alternatives. From standard grade sheets to heavy-duty grade sheets with “3D weave,” geotextiles range from $200 to $3,500 per roll.
Geotextile fabric is easy to install too. If you damage the fabric, adding another layer to the material will solve any issues. They prevent potholes, rutting, and gravel loss too.
It’s relatively easy to buy and order geotextile fabrics regionally. Local warehouses and online distributors provide more than enough variety for most projects. Alternative building materials are heavy and require large vehicles to transport too. Driveway fabric isn’t as demanding to get to the job site.
Process of Installing Geotextile Fabric in Parking Lots
Whether you’re planning to construct a large parking lot or a series of driveways in a new development, installing geotextile fabric is a relatively pain-free process. Here is a step-by-step rundown.
- Prepare the site by removing vegetation, leveling the subgrade soil, and grading the area thoroughly. A wet subgrade may require help from an engineer.
- Lay out the fabric on the soil in the correct direction, aligning the weaves with the shape of the worksite.
- Trim the fabric to fit. Overlap layers by at least 1’ if there are uncovered areas.
- Staple standard 6’’ landscape pins or staples to the fabric surface. This step prevents the fabric from shifting in the wind.
- Staple every square yard of fabric.
- Spread your base material on top of the fabric. A layer of 12’’ minimum is enough for aggregate rock material.
- Tamp the gravel into the fabric with a compacting tool.
Alternatives to Geotextile Fabric in Parking Lots
Of course, geotextile fabrics for parking lots are not the only building material available that will do the job. Alternatives provide a few advantages, especially in the case of irregular or wet subsoil conditions.
Geogrids are the most common materials used for ground stabilization and separation besides geotextiles. Geogrids are more rigid than geotextiles. They depend on a process called “interlock” to be effective. Essentially, geogrids work by locking soil particles into the open structure (like a grid) for integrity. Geogrids work well if you know the particle size and it’s regular throughout the worksite. If not, textiles are superior.
Geonets are another type of geosynthetic material you can use. They offer an impressive flow rate thanks to the broader seaming in the rib-like construction compared to geotextiles. They excel in conditions where drainage is the primary concern.
Installing geotextile fabrics yourself is undoubtedly doable. As long as you are willing to haul your base aggregate into place, manipulating the fabric layer is a breeze.
The first thing to do before setting off on a geotextile journey is to determine the best base material for your project. Doing this and analyzing the composition of your soil will help you figure out the grade and weave of your textile.
Asking where to buy geotextile fabric near me has lots of solutions. Contact a local distributor or go online for a full selection of products. We recommend getting in touch with a professional living nearby because they’ll likely have more know-how on soil composition and the kinds of geotextiles other homeowners use in your area.
The cost of geotextiles has a wide range. $200 rolls are standard for low-grade textiles. Woven geotextile fabric with high strength ratings can cost upwards of $3,500, depending on the size of the roll. The typical roll measures 12.5’ x 17.5’ in width.
Hiring a company is a surefire way to ensure geotextiles get the attention they need. Companies know how to align weave patterns. They have the tools to measure soil composition. Plus, they have the experience to know which base gravel to use, how to manage inclines and lots of minutiae that DIYers may overlook.
How Expensive Is Geotextile Fabric To Install? How Much Does It Generally Cost?
Installation prices vary widely from state to state. However, the cost of materials, labor, and installation job supplies often round out to about $0.50 per square foot. A 500 square foot driveway would cost between $184 and $387.
Does Geotextile Fabric Increase The Lifetime Of Parking Lots?
Yes. Geosynthetics like geotextile fabric increase stabilization, separation, and the total lifespan of parking lots. Just one layer of fabric on a 3’’ base can extend the surface lifetime by several years, up to 50.
How Long Does It Take To Install Geotextile Fabric?
On average, the installation process will take a few days from start to finish. Just laying the geotextile fabric, sewing the sheets together, and stapling the mesh to the ground should take an hour, depending on the size of the roll.
Are There Any Soil Or Site Types That Don’t Work Well With Geotextile Fabric?
Soil with standing water or excess moisture can undermine the integrity of some geotextile fabrics. In such cases, woven textiles are better than unwoven or knitted varieties because of their superior permeability. You may need to install a drain tile or re-grade the soil if standing water is a concern.
How Often Do You Need To Replace Geotextile Fabric?
Geotextiles made of 100% polypropylene are inert in most soil types. Once installed, most textiles can last over 25 years.
Are There Any Materials That Should Not Be Placed On Geotextile Fabric?
Any fill materials will not disturb the polypropylene textile as long as you remove wrinkles and excess overlapping in the geotextile layer. Take care to tamp the gravel layer well and cover the textile entirely as UV light can damage it.