I can't wait to pass on much of the information I've learned because it just might help you with your own farming and ranching endeavors to save you M-O-N-E-Y, compliments of Uncle Sam.
First, I would like to back-track and make it known that my original dilemma in post #289 was tied to trying to decide which surface would be best for our private road on our acreage...concrete, asphalt, crushed shell, gravel, recycled tires or one of many other choices. Which way should I go?
The comments to that post were fantastic, there might still be more to come, but TEXAN from www.texan.blogspot.com made a very good point about taxes. TEXAN recommends being thoughtful about your construction process with regards to property taxes that your structure might require, year to year.
I also found it a relief to read comments by Tombstone Livestock from www.tombstone-tombstonelivestock.blogspot.com about their own driveway made of gravel. They put some of my concerns at ease and prompted me to do further research on the topic of graveled roads which ended up helping me come to a decision for our acreage roads. There is no doubt, the selection for top surface materials on rural property roads is an important choice for any land-owner.
It appears that a gravelled road is in the top running for our land. But, let's go over some facts for gravelled roads.
#1 Gravel is substantially lower in price for installation when compared to concrete and asphalt
#2 Gravel can be installed properly to support cars, SUV's, RV's and not have ruts
#3 Gravel gives a porous top surface to allow runoff to be distributed into the ground
#4 Gravel can provide the rustic appearance for our country setting that I wish to maintain
#5 Gravel has a lifespan of approximately 60 years compared to 8-15 years for asphalt and 2-25 years for concrete.
#6 Gravel is rather easy to maintain, requiring replenishing for low spots about once every 8 years
#7 Gravel, as a desiccant (drying agent) might be eligible for an environmental upgrade tax break
#8 Gravel of appropriate weight is less likely to wash away and less suscepible to erosion
My research seemed to consistently highlight the fact that concrete is expensive, yet not always consistent in performance, even if poured expertly. Since our land is with hills and raw land that is covered with layers of natural compost, it might be more of a challenge to go with concrete, especially for the amount we will need. Also, concrete is very "invasive" to the earth as it covers it completely and requires rain runoff to find the nearest area of natural earth for absorption, which can create imbalance for drainage. Concrete is susceptible to cracking due to ground movement, again, our land is raw and very soft because it has either been tread lightly or not at all.
Best yet, if your purchased gravel is used for Farm and Ranch purposes, such as for access roads to areas of agricultural production or for livestock pens as a desiccant (drying agent), then it would be tax-free.
I LIKE TAX-FREE.
Later, in the next day or so, I will be posting a blog strictly on how to apply for a farm and ranch registration number that will allow you to make tax-free purchases on items directly related to agricultural production.
Also, delivery charges of this gravel would be tax-free because people furnishing, delivering or hauling dirt, sand, gravel or similar unprocessed materials are performing a NON-TAXABLE SERVICE!! Now, I am not a tax expert, but it appears that repairs and renovations are not exempt, so you would have to pay tax for that kind of work, but new roads and new construction with gravel is non-taxable, if you have the proper exemption certificate (which I will be writing about this week so you can get your form ready, if you don't have it already). Upon time of purchase, you provide this form and/or your Farm and Ranch Registration Number and fill out any paperwork needed by the supplier, then it is accepted in lieu of paying sale's tax when purchasing gravel for farm and ranch production purposes.
Again, I LIKE TAX-FREE!
|Our private road that will lead to our barn.|
One thing that I am currently researching is the type of gravel to be used for the top surface. It's sort of like a Goldilocks situation, you don't want it too big, yet you don't want it too small...the size must be JUST RIGHT.
With my OCD, Micro-managing, anal-retentive personality, I have a strong need to understand this entire job. It's also imperative that I understand it because the facts are that I will probably be the one on the acreage who is providing construction over-sight. I've done it many times before and am willing and able to do it again. I need to understand enough details so that I can be aware enough to double-check as the contractors are on the job.
For the record, when we were re-building our home after Hurricane Ike, we had a HORRIBLE sheetrock contractor on the job who didn't speak much English. I was complaining about his crooked lines at sheetrock corners. He was doing a terrible job in areas very visible to anyone walking into the house. He was purposefully sputtering in Spanish that he didn't know how to run a straight line and was doing "his best." Man...was he shocked as I began to speak Spanish good enough to get MY point straight. Then, in front of him and his entire crew, I grabbed my OWN sheetrock chalk line and popped a nice, clear red line by myself and said, "There's your straight line. A woman had to show you how to do it. Congratulations."
I walked off as all the guys were laughing and ribbing the "supervisor" of the sheetrock crew. I'm sure he never lived it down. But, I got my sheetrock line floated straight, finally. Of course, I know how to do these things because Deputy Dave usually does them and he sometimes lets me play alongside him as he does the sweaty stuff. But, I do pay attention. I ask, he teaches, and I remember.
Regardless, Tombstone Livestock gave some important information about actually living with a gravelled road to include a bit of maintenance details, and I appreciate it.
It appears that your gravel should be heavy enough to be less likely of being spun-out by a heavy gas pedal, which would also make it less likely for your vehicle's paint to be chipped. Also, the proper weight and size of the gravel would make it more difficult for a storm to wash it away and less likely for normal erosion to negatively impact your graveled road. The heavier it is, the more stable road material it will make.
On that note, it appears that crushed concrete has been suggested by some, but it has been mentioned that truckloads might give you chunks that are too large to use and the inconsistent size of the concrete pieces may create a nightmare.
Gravel is long-lasting, it is affordable, and since any dirt road will eventually settle, no matter how well it is compacted, gravel is a road surface that would be fairly easy to fill in at low points over the years.
I had previously considered asphalt, but after thinking about it more carefully, I considered the same aspects of asphalt when compared to gravel. Asphalt is more costly; it requires more maintenance; asphalt processing is damaging to the environment (STINKY!); after installation, asphalt leaches pollutants into the soil and groundwater; asphalt becomes very hot and in Texas, that is a major consideration because the asphalt could have melting tar seep back to the surface in very hot weather and this can become a messy issue in many areas; plus asphalt gives poor traction in winter. Finally, asphalt is not porous and would increase run-off issues, as would concrete.
We've also used crushed granite in some projects around our current house and it is pretty, for a while, but it washes out too easily. Therefore, it's out of the running completely. Limestone we've used on the property and it does harden to a concrete-type level, but still has considerable dust and is pricey.
On an interesting note with laying a gravelled road, an old "Hillbilly" method is to have loads of old carpeting on hand. Prepare the area for the graveled road, clear it out, compact the soil, then lay the old carpeting, cut to fit and put the gravel on top about 2 inches thick. Supposedly, the old carpeting works as a great base stabilzer. What do you think about that?
I'm all for supporting Hillbilly methods.