Driveway Groomer™ – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Will the Driveway Groomer work well on my driveway?
We have every confidence it will work well on almost any gravel driveway. Try it. And if it does not work, send it back for a full refund minus shipping within 60 days. If you have specific questions pertaining to your driveway feel free to e-mail or call us with your conditions of the gravel including average stone size and a description of your issues and we will evaluate it and get back to.
Do I Need Riser Plates? What do they do?
The riser plates pull more material along. About 1/2 wheelbarrows load at a time just waiting for a low spot to call home. If conditions are pretty rough they make the job go a lot faster. Specifically, if you need to pull gravel back up a hill, have huge ruts or potholes, need to create a crown because there is none, need to change the basic grade in some areas, or a very long or large area of hard surface with potholes, you will probably be happier with the plates.
How long will it take to get to me after I order?
We ship next day, every business day from Vermont via UPS. All orders received from Friday to Sunday will be to you by Friday of the next week anywhere East of the Rockies and South Texas. Orders West of the Rockies will need to be placed by Thursday to make it there for the following weekend.
What is the best vehicle to Use?
Without a doubt, a small SUV is the most convenient and takes the least skill (Explorer, Sante Fe, Rav4, Cherokee etc. etc.). With these, you can not only see the edges but you can open the hatch and see the rear blade doing it’s thing. You can maneuver easily and back up very close to anything. You can do the same with a pick-up, large SUV or a car. Other vehicles that can be used are riding tractors and ATVs.
What is a receiver hitch? Can I use it on the vehicle I have. Will it damage my vehicle?
It is a square tube mounted to your frame that you insert the ball into and put a pin in for towing. To use our gravel driveway product, you simply remove the pin and ball and insert our bar and re-insert the pin. There are 2 basic sizes 2″ and 1-1/4″. You need the 2″ one for our product. If you have a 1-1/4″ one you would need an adapter to 2″ and the hitch rating needs to be at least 250 tongue load which will be marked right on the hitch. Most late model SUVs with small hitches have a rating of 350/3500 so adapting it would be fine. U Haul sells an adapter with a solid steel bar for around $30. We would sell it to you but we can’t compete with that price.
If you have a hitch on your vehicle that has an adequate load rating, it is designed to tow a lot more load than our product so dragging the GRAVEL in your DRIVEWAY is nothing compared to towing a trailer.
Do I need to back down the whole length of my driveway? I don't feel comfortable backing up with mirrors. Does that make it more difficult to use?
You do not need to back down the whole length of your driveway to use it effectively. In most cases, there are bad sections and not so bad sections of gravel. What our unique product allows you to do is to work those bad sections of gravel in the driveway easily by going back and forth over them, then just continue on.
As far as using mirrors, if you have a hatch back, you can open the back and see it the rear blade cutting. If you remove the tailgate on a pickup you can see it except on 8 ft. extended cabs. It is a lot more accurate lowering your mirrors and watching the edges of the Groomer cutting the gravel than to look over your shoulder and with practice it gets easier. If you are used to towing and backing a trailer, it is a breeze. Again, it is not necessary, or even recommended, to back the entire length of the driveway.
Do we have to buy the Driveway Groomer off the net or is available elsewhere?
Currently it is only available online.
How can I tell what it will do for my driveway?
Take a rake and vigorously dig back and forth an inch or 2 down about 2 feet long in several spots on your driveway. This may be very difficult in really hard packed surfaces. Then rake the gravel back into the “hole” you just made. Do this in several locations where the gravel looks different. Those spots are what your entire driveway will look like using the Driveway Groomer.
My driveway is so hard I can't even cut it with a rake. Will the Driveway Groomer cut it?
If there is aggregate in the gravel, it will cut it. For extremely hard surfaces where all the aggregate is buried, it may need to be done after a rain, but not when muddy, to be more efficient. Hard gravel surfaces can take a few passes to get some things loosened up and it is critical to use 4″ solid blocks for weighting. It goes faster and faster with each pass.
My driveway gets muddy and puddles in spots when it rains. Will the Driveway Groomer fix that?
Mud is caused mostly by poor drainage, sometimes by not enough aggregate in the gravel. If you don’t have enough aggregate, even heavy equipment can’t fix it adequately. If you have enough aggregate and need a few inches of change in the slope or bump removal in some sections you will be able to fix that with the Driveway Groomer. You can fix some pretty large holes and ruts too. If you need to move more than a few inches of material over a large area to get it to drain, it will take a longer time with the Driveway Groomer, less time of course with the plates, but no matter what product you use designed for the homeowner, you will either need a lot of patience, just enjoy playing in your driveway, spot fill with crushed stone, or hire heavy equipment. If there is mostly stone, you can fill the depressions and ruts with that and it will be fine. If mostly dirt, nothing but more aggregate will fix your driveway. If you have puddles that form, people have had success by filling them with crushed stone so the excess water flows off. Then drive over the stone filled areas after it dries a little bit but the gravel is still damp. Then you can use the Driveway Groomer without too much difficulty and it will last. If you mix gravel with mud in a depression that won’t drain, you still get mud. We hear all the time, “someone told me to just add more gravel. Wrong!! Without proper drainage, it just won’t help for long!! Depending on your situation, and the ease of using the Driveway Groomer, this may not be of concern to you.
Will I need more gravel before using it?
We recommend giving it a try first. Most times people are pleasantly surprised. Occasionally you may need to spot fill with Stone.
I get ruts in my driveway, will I keep getting the ruts?
If you have no crown, or slant to the driveway, or drainage of some sort, and the rain finds one path to go, the gravel may wash out again. There are a couple of things you can do with the Driveway Groomer to fix it. First, while you are filling a rut, it is important to get a tire right in the gravel as it is filling to pack it. Second, you need to get as much gravel from the edge as possible and pull it to the center to help restore the crown, which is covered in the manual. Our riser plates, along with the ability to angle the unit and use half a plate are an excellent way of doing this (please refer to our manuals on the site). Third, you need to cut off and divert the start of the runoff. One way to do this with the Driveway Groomer is to make “water bars”. By angling it and lifting one blade, you can pull small mounds of gravel at an angle to the edge of the driveway at the start of the problem. By driving over these little mounds of gravel and packing them tight, you can divert the water.
If you are on a slope where the gravel continually washes out or have bad spots that form over and over in the driveway, putting landscape fabric in those areas and covering with stone and packing has a good chance of fixing the problem permanently. The landscape fabric allows the water to pass through but prevents the aggregate in the Gravel from setting back down into the fines.
Do you have any suggestions for other ways to fix my gravel driveway myself?
Yes. Mostly, people pay to have more gravel brought in and graded. Only problem is, many times, they need to keep coming back year after year and it can be quite costly. Sad truth is that gravel driveways require maintenance. No matter how well they are done they eventually need help. Even if you have a perfectly made driveway that holds up well, the aggregate in the gravel ends up getting driven into the surface. If you want to keep a fresh look to the surface stone, more stone needs to be added or it needs to be re-groomed. The Driveway Groomer is designed to bring the right mix of aggregate and binding material back to the surface of the gravel. Another thing you can do to get great long lasting results is get a tailgate spread done by a trucker who knows what he/she is doing. They can get a load of dry driveway gravel, put chains on their gate to allow it to open only a small amount and with just the dump truck spread a load pretty evenly. Then you can use our product to finish it off without paying for heavy equipment. There are other products on the market and we invite you to research them but we still feel ours is the best for the homeowner at any price. There are spike harrows but they just follow the contour. It will take a little work at first but before you buy you should consider the following:
- Does it cut the gravel both ways?
- Will I be able to turn it around?
- Will the equipment I have move it effectively?
- How much weight does it apply to the gravel surface?
- Do you think that amount of force on that product can cut the gravel?
- Is there a convenient way to weight it to apply more force to cut the gravel?
- How does the horsepower and packing weight of what I am using for a tow vehicle compare?
- Can I use it with what I have? How wide does it cut?
- Will it just ride over the driveway surface or actually help grade the gravel?
- Which one is really best for my driveway situation?
- How often will I use it?
- Is it light enough for me to handle and store?
- How much cost?
- How much to ship?
How does it remove bumps and washboard since it is just dragging?
The blades are angled and therefore only cut the gravel in one direction individually. When either blade is driven in the non cutting direction, it just rides over the driveway surface much like the skid plates on a snow blower so it doesn’t dig the low spots. So if there are big bumps, you can back over them and pull or push the gravel into the depressions. The side rails also support the Driveway Groomer over the high spots and the material drops into the low spots. Angling the unit itself, by adjusting the chain lengths, helps cut washboard quickly.
Can I use the Driveway Groomer on my 4 wheeler ATV?
Yes, if it has a receiver with the right load requirements. And some do.
Can I just drag it with my Garden Tractor?
Yes, but some smaller ones will just spin the tires with a full load on hard gravel surfaces. Without the overhead support and bi-directionality it is not as convenient and you need room to turn around. You also you can’t go back and forth in the really rough spots in the driveway so it takes longer in most cases. If you do drag it, it is best to put both blades in the same direction. When you are doing routine maintenance or have a relatively soft gravel surface it works fine. Doing loam for a lawn is no problem.
How much do the blocks cost? What size are they?
Depending on your area, about $.80 to $2.50. The Driveway Groomer (all models) uses standard 8 x 16 x 4 inch SOLID blocks. They can be found at Lowes and Home Depot and other home improvement stores. Due to the heavy weight, it is more financially strategic to buy them locally then for us to ship them to you.
How do the blocks stay in the pocket?
There are nuts in the channels to help keep them in. Gravity does the rest. For most applications, they stay in. In severe cases, we have provided holes in the supports for bungee chords or rope to be used to hold them in place, which is covered in the manual. Tying them in is usually only required where the gravel has a lot of larger stones that get pulled up while using the Driveway Groomer such as a lot of the bank run gravel we have up here in the northeast.
What does 'reversible blade' mean?
The cutting blades can be used as a flat blade or a toothed blade. You can put the teeth in one direction to scarify the gravel surface and flat in the other direction to smooth. This is primarily an advantage for flat driveways where there a lot of potholes that form in the gravel. You use the scarifying toothed blade on one side and the flat blade on the other. That way, you cut a minimum of material and the flat blade drops the loosened gravel into the potholes. The flat blade is also good for small loose aggregate. On some driveway surfaces, just flat blades work fine. You can also put both blades in the same direction either flat or toothed which can be helpful in a situation where you want to move a lot of gravel one way.
How long will the blades last?
The sharp point on the blades will obviously wear. Because they are angled, they actually keep the front cutting edge sharp as they wear and our testing shows that the points on the blade are not very important for good results. Rounded teeth cut just as well but are much more expensive to produce. Depending on the surface and use, the average homeowner should be able to use them for many years before blade replacement is needed. We still use our original prototypes and the teeth are all but gone and it still works great.
Can the blades be re-sharpened?
Small SUVs, ATVs tractors and cars can pull the Driveway Groomer, will it work on larger pickup trucks as well?
Yes, the groomer comes with 18 feet of chain in 4 41/2 foot lengths. Enough for all heavy duty trucks. We even had one person hook it up to his plow rig.
Do your products ship outside the USA?
Driveway Groomer™ products are available for export all over the world. Our Driveway Groomers are the world standard for landscape raking, reshaping driveways, smoothing and grading, and rut and pothole repair to repair.
Please contact Customer Service at firstname.lastname@example.org for information and questions regarding exporting our products.