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Aggregate Binder

Chicago's Old Post Office Rooftop Meadow with Platinum Stabilized Pathway

100% Natural Binder for Aggregate Surfaces

All Kafka Stabilized Pathway and Ballyard Materials use Organic-Lock™, a patented powdered binder produced by Envirobond from a renewable plant resource and specialized proprietary additives. It’s designed to be blended with a specific gradation of crushed aggregate to create natural-looking pathways and surfaces. The binder locks the aggregate in place to minimize erosion and maintenance, all the while remaining water-permeable and allowing sitting water to permeate back into the groundwater table.

How It Works?

Organic-Lock™ activates on contact with water to resist erosion and maintain stability in pathways and other surfaces, all while remaining water permeable. As the water permeates the aggregate, it is absorbed by the binder and creates a gel that coats the aggregate particles. The gel expands in size and holds the aggregate particles together, which significantly reduces erosion.

Once the Organic-Lock™ gel forms to its maximum swell volume, it is unable to take on any new water, and the excess water passes directly through the system down into the groundwater table. Over time, the gel releases its water through evaporation into the atmosphere and through percolation into the groundwater table, recharging the system to be ready for the next rainfall.

The Organic-Lock™ gel activates each time it comes in contact with water, which allows for the blended aggregate to be physically broken up, re-worked and returned back to its initial state. This self-healing nature allows for a simplified maintenance procedure that leaves no sign of the maintenance itself.

Installation & Maintenance

Proper installation and maintenance is critical to the durability and longevity of any pathway or other aggregate surface, and that all starts with a plan. First, you should decide where you want your path or surface to be. You can do this simply be drawing a crude sketch of your vision and location of the aggregate, or even by staking out the area along your intended route. Next you will need to determine how much material is necessary for the project. This is dependent upon a number of factors, including the size of your aggregate surface, the materials being used for the aggregate, and the intended use of the aggregate (pedestrian or vehicular).

Excavate & Prepare

The depth of your base material and Kafka’s Stabilized Pathway or Ballyard Materials is determined by the material’s intended use. Your base should utilize 4-6 inches of compacted local DOT-approved road base for pedestrian traffic and 8-12 inches of compacted base material for vehicular traffic. Kafka Granite recommends a minimum 3 inches of compacted Stabilized Pathway or Ballyard Materials for pedestrian pathways and 4 inches for vehicular use.

Hydrate & “Snowball Test”

Kafka’s Stabilized Pathway and Ballyard Materials are pre-blended with Organic-Lock™, an organic stabilizing binder, which will need to have a moisture content of 8-10% for installation. Start by picking up a handful of the material and attempting to make a snowball. This material should fall apart in your hand either on its own or after a gentle prodding. If the material holds its form already, no further water is needed. If the snowball holds its form and has a wet sheen to it, the material is too wet and you must add more dry material or spread it out and let the material dry.

Organic-Lock Snowball Test Too Dry

Too Dry

Add Water Before Installing
Organic-Lock Snowball Test Ideal

Ideal Moisture

Organic-Lock Snowball Test Too Wet

Too Wet

Add Dry Material or Let Dry Before Installing

Spread & Compact

Using an asphalt/paver installer is the most efficient and effective means of spreading the properly hydrated material, as it provides a consistent depth of placement. Hand raking can be used in areas where an asphalt/paver installer is not possible. In these situations, it’s important to keep a strong focus on depth consistency across the installation. Be sure to compensate for the expected depth of compaction when finalizing the end depth. Make sure to account for crowning or grading slope to eliminate any areas for rainwater to accumulate and pool.

Compact material with a 1-2 ton non-vibrating drum roller until visible lines are eliminated. Hand tamp any hard to reach areas. Note that the Kafka Stabilized Pathway or Ballyard materials should be firm, but loose aggregate will appear on the surface as time passes for a natural look and feel.

If the loose material on the surface is excessive, water the surface, scarify the affected area, and re-compact as needed. Additional material can be spread and compacted as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Kafka’s Stabilized Pathway Mix creates natural aggregate surfaces, and using them in your construction or design project could gain your points toward LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification.

Our decomposed granite is a naturally produced material and is less obtrusive than asphalt and cement. Furthermore, our stabilizing binder is 100% organic. It is a “green” pathway solution, which will aid the natural soil and water flow when installed.

Recycled materials such as porcelain and slag are available to aid in a more environmentally friendly design. Furthermore, many of our natural aggregates are also sourced locally, which may aid in regional priority credits.

The product is commonly shipped via bulk end-dump trucks and trailers, with an average truckload of material weighing approximately 23 tons — though the type of material and the size of the truck and trailer will cause this to fluctuate slightly. Less-than-truckload quantities are available in one ton increments, but may be subject to additional set-up fees due to small production runs.

If bulk truckload shipping is not an option, our Pathway Mixes can be packaged in ~3,000-pound super sacks. These 1½-ton bags provide easy transportation via flatbed, van, or LTL common carriers, and also facilitate easier storage and handling on job sites. Optional rain covers are also available. Specialty aggregates that are packaged in super sacks are available in 1 ton minimum orders and may be subject to set-up fees.

Kafka’s Stabilized Pathway Mix creates natural aggregate surfaces, and using them in your construction or design project could gain your points toward LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification.

Our decomposed granite is a naturally produced material and is less obtrusive than asphalt and cement. Furthermore, our stabilizing binder is 100% organic. It is a “green” pathway solution, which will aid the natural soil and water flow when installed.

Recycled materials such as porcelain and slag are available to aid in a more environmentally friendly design. Furthermore, many of our natural aggregates are also sourced locally, which may aid in regional priority credits.

A stabilized pathway provides a durable, permeable, and natural aggregate surface. Compared with traditional aggregate materials, our stabilized pathways better resist the erosive effects of weather and foot or vehicle traffic, while retaining environmentally-friendly qualities and natural aesthetics.

Kafka’s Stabilized Pathway Mix can be used nearly anywhere, but its natural look is appealing for those who want to add it to more natural-looking, rustic environments.

These paths work well in and complement green spaces — botanical gardens, green roofs, nature paths, greenways, golf course cart paths, trails and any space where you want to create a natural, organic feel and environment. However, these paths have also become a popular choice for corporate walking paths, outdoor malls, public courtyards, and patios.

Stabilized pathways aren’t entirely maintenance-free, however, regular upkeep will extend their lifespans and will keep them looking fresh — unlike cracked concrete, crumbled asphalt or uneven pavers.

Maintaining stabilized pathways is a fairly simple procedure. For minor repairs, pathways can be re-wet and rolled anytime. Kafka always recommends investing in an auxiliary super sack of material in case the need for more involved repairs arises. If bigger repairs should need to be made to a stabilized pathway, slightly scarify the top layer of the damaged area. Activate (moisten) the new pathway mix, spread the material, and compact the area with a 1-ton roller to level.

After the repaired area has cured, it should look and feel like its surrounding pathway counterparts.

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