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October 05, 2021 • Mike Huber

The Pros And Cons Of A Hybrid Base

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Hybrid installations are quickly gaining popularity. While they offer numerous benefits, they don’t fit every job. In this post, we’ll outline the pros and cons of this installation method to shine some light on the best scenarios for using it.


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Hybrid base is growing in popularity but, as of yet, there is still no real standard. While it might be an optimal solution for some applications, it’s certainly not ideal for all. First, let’s take a look at some of the major benefits afforded by a hybrid base:

  • Less compaction
  • Faster screeding
  • Ability to work in the rain and freezing temperatures
  • Potentially better drainage

The installation of a hybrid base involves the use of clean chip, an angular #8 or #9 stone, as a setting bed and may include the use of a clean 3/4" stone as a base material. (Important note: Pea gravel should never be used for a hybrid base! The stone must be angular.

hybrid base 1

Aside from setting bed considerations, here are some other things to take into account with a hybrid base.



A non-woven geotextile fabric should be used to promote drainage in a hybrid base application. Do not use a woven fabric, as it won’t drain. If you’re working with clay soils, drainage to daylight is a must. 


A common myth surrounding the hybrid base is that no compaction is needed for the base material. This is not true. Less compaction and thicker lifts are possible but compaction is still needed!

hybrid base 3



The hybrid base provides some challenges for edge restraint. Plastic edging can't be used in clean 3/4" stone because the spikes won't hold. However, a concrete product like our Xtreme Edge works great for these installations.



Opting for the hybrid base will require some extra attention regarding the jointing material. The setting bed material must choke off with polymeric sand. That means that the polymeric sand must be vibrated into the joints until it fills the void space in the setting bed material and stops migrating downward. A product like Gator Nitro, which requires no compaction, is a great option for a pedestrian hybrid base project. 

Keep these considerations in mind when picking your installation method and you’ll be set up for success. 

Our new Gator Nitro makes an ideal jointing material choice for hybrid base applications. Be sure to download the quick guide to learn more about it!


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