The Ultimate Sand and Gravel Calculator
With this calculator, you can easily determine the required volume, in cubic meters or yards, and weight, in tons or tonnes, of sand and gravel for your project.
If you know the density of the aggregate, you can specify it in the given field. Else, the calculator uses a pre-defined density of 1750 kg/m3 or 110 lb/ft3, which is an approximation.
With this free aggregate calculator, you can simply calculate the required volume of aggregate (in cubic meters or yards) and its weight (in tons or tonnes) for your project. Briefly, this tool is helpful in estimating these parameters for rectangular and circular shapes.
Importance of calculating the volume and weight of sand or gravel for your project
It is essential to determine the amount of sand or gravel you need for your project. In fact, without precise calculations, you can end up ordering either less or much more than the required volume or weight, which is certainly a bad practice. For instance, ordering much more than the required volume has cons including extra costs. Whereas, ordering less than the required volume or weight also has cons such as delays, extra labor cost, and short load extra charges.
It is important to mention that this calculator is an estimator. The calculations performed are based on the values the user enters including dimensions and density. Also, in case the user does not know the exact density of the sand or gravel, an approximate value is already pre-defined. However, it is always preferred to enter the exact density for more accurate calculations, since different types of sand or gravel have different densities.
This sand and gravel calculator estimates the volume and weight according to the data entry. The user can easily input the dimensions, whether for rectangular or circular shapes. In addition, the user can also input the exact density of the aggregate. However, in case the user does not know the exact density of the sand or gravel, a pre-defined value is given as an approximation. However, it is important to note that the density of aggregates can vary significantly. For example, granite has a higher density than limestone. In addition, a well-graded combination of sand and gravel with a smaller maximum particle size usually has a higher density than coarse gravel of a uniform size. Similarly, moisture is also an important factor.
Thereby, this sand and gravel calculator works based on simple math. Basically, its two main outcomes are the volume (in cubic meters or yards) and weight (in tons or tonnes). In fact, the volume solely relies on the dimensions. For example, the volume of rectangular prism shapes equals length x width x height, and for cylindrical shapes π x radius2 x height. Whereas, the weight depends on the volume and density of the sand or gravel. Specifically, the weight is equal to volume x density.
This aggregate calculator is easy to use and does not require an engineering background. Basically, it consists of a data input and a results section.
Data entry: Specifying the dimensions and density
The first section includes two subsections for the data entry, the dimensions and density.
In the first subsection, the user has to enter the dimensions. In fact, this subsection consists of three fields for rectangular shapes (length, width, and depth), and two fields for circular shapes (diameter and depth).
In the second subsection, the user can specify the density of the sand or gravel used in their project. In fact, the main purpose of this field is to increase the accuracy of the results based on the specific material. Besides, even though this field might sound a little bit technical, its value is often available from the supplier. Hence, the user can simply obtain this piece of information during the planning phase. Nevertheless, if the user does not know the density of the sand or gravel, or simply doing preliminary calculations, this tool has a pre-defined value of 1.75 tons per cubic meter, or 110 pounds per cubic foot, which is an approximation.
After the user completes the data input, the tool automatically calculates the volume and weight. In fact, this calculator presents the results as volume in cubic meters or yards, and weight in tons or tonnes.
That’s it, this sand and gravel calculator is as simple as that!
Example: Block paving sand and gravel requirements for a patio base
Block pavers are to be installed on a 5m x 8m patio. The base consists of a 15cm layer of compacted 20mm minus compaction gravel, in addition to a layer of about 2.5cm of sharp sand. How much gravel and sharp sand is necessary for this patio? Consider the density of 20mm minus compaction gravel and sharp sand as 1.72 and 1.64 tons per cubic meter, respectively.
We will divide the solution into two parts, considering each aggregate layer separately.
20mm minus compaction gravel
Based on the given data, we will determine the volume in cubic meters and the weight in tons of this type of aggregate using this following input:
- Length (m) = 5.
- Width (m) = 8.
- Depth (cm) = 15.
- Density (kg/m3) = 1720.
Thus, the calculator shows the following results:
- Volume in cubic meters= 6.000.
- Weight in tons = 10.320.
However, the base requires to be 15cm in thickness after compaction. Whereas, the output values consider the loose volume of gravel. To illustrate, the thickness of the gravel layer will be less than 15cm after compaction. Hence, we should take into account compaction, wastage, and other factors, and order more than 6 cubic meters. Here, we will consider these factors to account for an additional 15% in volume. Thereby, the adjusted volume will be 6.9 cubic meters, with a weight of 11.868 tons.
Rounding up, this block paving patio project will need about 7 cubic meters of 20mm minus compaction gravel, considering compaction, wastage, and other factors.
To determine the volume of the bedding sand, we will use this metric aggregate calculator with the following data entry:
- Length (m) = 5.
- Width (m) = 8.
- Depth (cm) = 2.5.
- Density (kg/m3) = 1640.
Thus, we will have the following results:
- Volume in cubic meters= 1.000.
- Weight in tons = 1.640.
In fact, this layer does not require compaction and its thickness is approximate based on this example. Hence, we will not account for an additional amount, even that of wastage.
Thereby, this block paving patio project requires about 1 cubic meter of sharp sand.
Example: Patio pavers base
Let us consider the following example:
Patio pavers will be installed over an area of 22 x 16 feet. The plans call for a 6″ compacted base of 3/4″ minus gravel, in addition to 1″ of bedding sand. The density for gravel and sand is 102 and 105 lb/ft3, respectively. How much gravel and sand do we need for this application?
We will use the given data to determine the volume and weight for gravel and sand separately.
First, we will perform our calculations to determine how many cubic yards, cubic feet, or tons of gravel we need. Basically, in the rectangular shapes tab, the input is as follows:
- Length (ft.) = 16.
- Width (ft.) = 22.
- Depth (in.) = 6.
- Density (lb/ft3) = 102.
Consequently, the results are as follows:
- Volume in cubic yards = 6.519.
- Volume in cubic feet = 176.000.
- Weight in US tons = 8.976.
In fact, these values values represent gravel in its loose condition. In other words, this amount will be sufficient for a depth of 6″ if we simply place the gravel layer without compaction. However, when we compact this layer, it loses some of its volume while it gets denser. Hence, we should take into account compaction and other factors such as wastage, and order more than the preliminary calculations. In this example, we will consider an additional amount of about 15%. Hence, the modified volume and weight will be as follows:
- Volume in cubic yards = 6.519 x 1.15 ~ 7.5.
- Volume in cubic feet = 176.000 x 1.15 ~ 202.
- Weight in US tons = 8.976 x 1.15 ~ 10.3.
Thereby, considering an order by volume, the base requires about 7.5 yards of gravel, where this volume includes wastage and compaction factors.
Second, we will use this calculator to determine the volume and weight of the bedding sand layer. Briefly, the input is as follows:
- Length (ft.) = 16.
- Width (ft.) = 22.
- Depth (in.) = 1.
- Density (lb/ft3) = 105.
Based on this input, the results are as follows:
- Volume in cubic yards = 1.086.
- Volume in cubic feet = 29.333.
- Weight in US tons = 1.540.
However, this sand layer, unlike gravel, does not require compaction. Hence, the bedding layer requires about 1.1 cubic yards of bedding sand.
Polymeric joint sand
In addition to the previous calculation, pavers will also require polymeric sand to fill the joints. However, the required volume depends largely on the pavers shape and dimensions and their spacing.
Example: Above ground pool base
A circular 12 feet in diameter above ground pool requires 2.5-3″ of fine sand as a base. This sand has a density of 100 lb/ft3. How many yards of sand do we need?
In fact, this example is quite simple and straight forward. Basically, we will be using this tool as a pool sand calculator, with the following input in the circular shapes tab:
- Diameter (ft.) = 12.
- Height (in.) = 3.
- Density (lb/ft3) = 100.
Hence, we will get the following results:
- Volume in cubic yards = 1.047.
- Volume in cubic feet = 28.269.
- Weight in US tons = 1.413.
Hence for this example, the pool base requires about 1.1 cubic yards of sand. However, it is important to note that this layer requires some compaction. Thereby, although we performed calculations for 3″, the 1.1 cubic yards of sand will actually result in less than 3″ of depth after compaction. This is mainly because the bulk sand is generally sold by volume, specifically by the loose volume. In order to account for compaction, in addition to wastage and other factors, we will need to order more to result in a 3″ of depth after compaction, depending on the type of sand, its condition, compaction factor, etc… . However, since the allowable depth range in this example is 2.5-3 inches, we will consider a 1.1 cubic yards of sand as sufficient for this pool base application.