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Decomposed Granite (DG)…a new improved stabilizer!

An expensive but new product is out on the market that creates a hard surface for Decomposed Granite pathways and patios.  This product, called TerraKoat, is sprayed on with the instructions below.

One note:  There are other liquid stabilizers out there that DO NOT work.  This is because the solids content of these other products (like G3) is lower than the TerraKoat.  What that really means is the company that makes the G3 waters it down. Another difference is that the TerraKoat contains a proprietary admixture that increases the longevity of the surface. Wheeler Zamaroni has compared both products in real life applications and they found that with TerraKoat you end up with a stronger more durable surface.  Therefore, if you are NOT using TerreKoat, then use a powdered stabilizer.  TerreKoat costs about $15 gallon.  A gallon will do about 20 sq. ft.

Here are the instructions from their application sheet.  You will notice that they recommend preparing the surface just as I do in detail in my eBook Decomposed Granite and Other Materials for Walkways

TerraKoat EX Industrial Strength Stabilizer

1. AGGREGATE SELECTION FOR FINAL SURFACE: Select an aggregate that contains a variety of sizes. For instance, crushed stone mixes such as 3/8 minus, 1/4 minus or 3/16 minus work well with TERRAKOAT STABILIZER, where as single size aggregates like 3/8 rock or pea gravel are not suitable. Screenings with extremely high fine content are not suitable either. To ensure compatibility of selected aggregate with TERRAKOAT STABILIZER, prepare a test area.

2. STRUCTURAL STONE BASE PREPARATION: Before starting the actual project, factors such as climate, native soil type, amount of use, should be taken into consideration. As a rule of thumb, “The better the base preparation, the better the results.”

For optimum performance, install 4 to 6 in. of 3/4 minus crushed stone, then compact using a vibratory plate compactor.In restricted areas where a compactor will not fit, use a hand tamper.

3. SURFACE AGGREGATE: Spread surface aggregate over the compacted structural stone base. Rake or screed to the desired level, and slope to allow water run off. Do not compact until after TERRAKOAT STABILIZER has been applied.

4. APPLY THE TERRAKOAT STABILIZER: Using a watering can or pump sprayer, apply the TERRAKOAT STABILIZER to the surface at the rate of 20 ft2 per gallon for residential pedestrian use, or 15 ft2 per gallon for commercial pedestrian use. Allow TERRAKOAT STABILIZER to fully penetrate through the material

5. COMPACTION: While surface is still damp but not saturated, compact the surface with a vibratory plate compactor; 2 or 3 passes are recommended. In restricted areas where a compactor will not fit, use a hand tamper. The better the compaction, the better the results.

6. Seal Coat: After compaction spray TERRAKOAT STABILIZER over the area at the rate of 60 sqft per gallon.

Additional instructions include repairing cracks or using this product on an existing surface that was ill-prepared. For the complete instructions and additional information on TerraKoat, see my updated eBook on Decomposed Granite. I have many readers who tell me their installer did not apply the DG correctly.  Depending upon the circumstance, this stabilizer might be very useful.

Decomposed Granite sunken patio edged with stone and Ryerson's header.

Decomposed Granite sunken patio edged with stone and Ryerson’s header.

Instructions for rebuilding AN EXISTING SURFACE

1. Scarify or rototill 1 inch of the surface, break up any clumps, making any necessary repairs, and add new surface aggregate as needed.

2. Apply TERRAKOAT STABILIZER at the rate of 15 ft2 per gallon; allow liquid to penetrate.

3. Compact using a vibratory plate compactor. In restricted areas where a compactor will not fit, use a hand tamper.

Instructions for maintaining AN EXISTING SURFACE:

1. Apply TERRAKOAT STABILIZER at the rate of 20 to 45 ft2 per gallon. Some judgement will be needed, as consideration for absorption and desired results should be taken into account.

Decomposed Granite path at the Getty Museum L.A.

Decomposed Granite path at the Getty Museum L.A.

2. Compact any loose areas.

As in my eBookTERRAKOAT recommends 3-6″ compacted Base Rock with a vibration compactor and a 2″ surface of DG.  If you are using the Strybing Arboretum method because of poor drainage etc., then only 3/4″ of DG is needed.

For complete instructions on how to install a Decomposed Granite patio or walkway, see my eBook

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16 Responses

  1. I’m planning to install DG or gravel for our Oakland patio and pathway and I’ve read your ebook. I was hoping to find DG or fines that are closer to cream or tan (as I’ve seen in Napa) but have only found blue (gray) and very gold fines locally. I had a bit of a crazy idea to use pumice (as it’s pretty close to the color we want). Wondering if you’ve ever used or heard of someone using this. I know it breaks down quite a bit (which is fine) but thinking maybe it’s too light and may track too much (?). Any other ideas for creating a lighter color? Thanks!

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    • Pumice? Where would you find a lot of that? My inclination is ‘no’ because it just turns to dust. You need something that has some fines in it, otherwise you’ll have ‘mud-pumice’ I suspect. Try American Soils in Marin or, the name escapes me, but there is another landscape supply outfit at Tam Junction where I’ve purchased tan–NOT GOLD–DG. I’ve used other materials–see some of my photos in previous posts–with a lot of success, but these were rocks that came in an assortment of sizes and I was able to obtain ‘fines’. I then mixed the fines with the stabilizer and applied as I indicated exactly in the book. It was an experiment because these fines were a local rock and not granite, but it worked very well. I’ve also done jobs where I took a tan DG from the Tam Junction place and mixed it with black rock fines. Also came out perfect. Look at my photos in the blog. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but the key is to have fines that have some tiny rock and rock dust in it, just as the DG would have. DG is simply granite fines with some dust in it.

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  2. […] Decomposed Granite (DG)…a new improved stabilizer! […]

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  3. My landscaper installed a circular DG area with road base and DG that had stabilizer in it. He used a compacter. The result is dirty looking and full of cracks. Is this usual ?

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    • Please see my reply to Lila July 28 2015 under ‘Decomposed Granite Patios’. You can find the answer in my DG book as outlined to Lila. You should contact your contractor (landscaper or contractor? Landscaper does not imply legal responsibility) to redo or fix.

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  4. We installed a circular DG area with road base and DG with stabilizer and a compacted was used. The result is cracked and dirty looking . What went wrong

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  5. Hi!
    Thanks for all the tips. I’m in the middle of installing DG with the stabalizer added. I’m rolling it with a sod roller to compress it. The DG is not staying together as advertised. I may have added to much water. Any tips?

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  6. I had DG installed by a contractor this spring in So Cal. He used it between flagstones in several walkways. Initially did not put in any stabilizer but came back and apparently just sprayed some on. Much of it is between stones on a slope. Concerned as it appears to be already breaking down. I don’t want to rip it out but want to make sure that it doesn’t wash away in the first rain. Any suggestions? Thanks – Jeff

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  7. Something he grabbed at Home Depot would not be a TerraKoat product. First, if this person is a licensed contractor, you have recourse. He needs to fix no charge what he installed. Second, I recommend that you insist he use TerraKoat as a spray on, but he will have to follow the instructions TerraKoat lays out (It is in my book as well) in order to smooth out your cracks, then apply the product. Obviously he did it wrong in first place. Also, if I were you, I’d call Wheeler Zamaroni in Petaluma and discuss the situation with them and the use of the Terra Koat product after the fact of how he installed since I have no idea of how he did his installation procedure

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Will the dg be water permeable after application? Can I use it underneath a tree. Thanks?

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  9. Can I put terracoat on flagstone that is finished with dg in spaces, I know it’s for dg but will it show on flagstone?

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