Crushed stone is required for the vast majority of construction and landscaping projects. Affordable, practical and durable, crushed stone aggregate materials are able to perform a nearly infinite number of different functions required to ensure that such undertakings are successful and long-lasting.
When making plans to move forward with a project, though, many people become overwhelmed by their options. What’s the difference between all of the types of crushed stone? Which type and size is appropriate for specific applications? How much can you expect to spend? These and other questions will be addressed in this post.
Types of Crushed Stone
Some of the more commonly utilized types of crushed stone include:
- Washed Clean – As the name suggests, washed clean crushed stone has been crushed, screened, and washed to remove any excess dust, debris or impurities. Depending on the quarry, this type of aggregate could be comprised of limestone, gneiss, granite or trap rock. This type of rock is generally smaller in size than other types of aggregate materials.
- Crushed and Screened – Unlike washed clean stone, this type of crushed aggregate hasn’t been thoroughly washed and therefore may retain dust and other materials.
- Gravel – Gravel is a small aggregate material that can be used for many different purposes – both decorative and functional. Although many people consider gravel to be a standard, gray, round edged material, it’s also available in other colors and textures. Yellow gravel and pea gravel, for example, and add visual interest to any landscape.
- Quarry Process – Quarry Process (QP) is sometimes referred to as Dense Grade Aggregate (DGA) or crusher run. This type of crushed aggregate material is unique because it’s not only comprised of pulverized stone (typically limestone, granite, or trap rock), but stone dust is also introduced to the mix. The combination of angular stone edges and dust to maintain a very low void content makes it possible for the stones to bond together and become very well compacted. This actually creates a sturdier and more permanent material than crushed rock alone.
- Riprap – Riprap stone is generally much larger in size than other crushed rock materials. The size and density are required so that, when placed along shorelines, it’s able to provide stability in the soil and prevent erosion from occurring. The material may also be used for bank restoration, soil stabilization, or in the construction of gravity retaining walls.
- Grits – Stone grits are extremely fine in size and are ideally suited for improving traction upon a wide range of surfaces. The material is frequently used to improve conditions for walking upon ice patches of concrete, but it can also be used as a sealant on patios and pavers to improve the safety factor when surfaces become slick after rain.
Crushed Stone Sizes
The size of crushed stone can make a huge difference in the applications that it can be used for. Take a look at the typical sizes required for specific projects:
- > 1/4″ – Crushed rock materials that are less than a quarter of an inch in size (stone dust and stone grits) are typically most useful for improving traction, for working as a binding agent, or for significantly reducing void spaces between other stone aggregates.
- 1/4-3/8″ – At 1/4″-3/8″, crushed rocks are perfectly suited for many different applications. At this size, the stones are comfortable enough for pedestrians to walk upon, and the stones are also safe to drive upon. This is also a great size for installing a french drain or other similar drainage systems. Many people also enjoy using this type of stone and gravel to replace traditional organic mulch, as it works well to regulate soil temperatures and moisture levels without decaying or attracting pests.
- 3/4″ – Depending on the stone type, crushed rock at 3/4″ in size could be used for several different functions. This type of aggregate is often selected for a variety of construction purposes, but it is also considered to be highly decorative. Whether it’s accentuating water features, drawing attention to vegetation, serving as an edging material or replacing a traditional grassy lawn, 3/4″ stone will get the job done.
- 1-2 1/2″ – Larger crushed stone between 1″ – 2 1/2″ in size is frequently used for a variety of different construction applications. It may be required in the production of portland cement, as a filler material, to control the spread of mud or even as railroad ballast.
- < 2 1/2″ – In order to be effective, stones that control erosion like riprap must be larger and heavier in size than other aggregate materials. Crushed stone at this size may also be used for decorative purposes.
Crushed Stone Uses
Depending on the size and type, crushed stone can be used for a wide range of functions, such as:
- Driveways and Roads – Crushed stone is perfect for driveways and roads – both as a surfacing material and as a base. Both of these, whether paved or gravel, require crushed aggregate as a base material in order to maintain their structural integrity. Crushed rock can also be used to surface driveways and roads in a way that’s both affordable and attractive.
- Walkways – Many homeowners, parks and other organizations choose to use crushed aggregate when constructing paths and walkways. Crushed rock is comfortable to walk upon and is easy to work with. Because the material is so flexible, it’s simple to create irregularly shaped or winding trails, and with many different types of stone available, you’ll have no problem finding a color and texture to suit your needs.
- Drainage – Crushed stone and gravel is frequently used for various drainage applications. The stones help excess water to percolate slowly into the soil and into the ground water supply, thus reducing storm water runoff, flooding, pooling and other related problems. The material is also valuable in promoting healthy drainage in septic systems.
- Base/Sub-Base Material – In addition to frequently acting as a base material for driveways and roads, crushed rock is also often selected as a base or sub-base material beneath various structures, patios and paving stones.
- Erosion Prevention – Erosion occurs frequently along the shorelines of rivers, lakes, ponds and similar bodies of water. Crushed rip rap stone can be strategically placed along these areas in order to prevent this from occurring.
- Ballast – Crushed rock is needed along railroad tracks. This material is known as ballast and it works to hold the wooden cross ties in place.
- Construction – Crushed aggregate materials are frequently needed for various construction applications. The stone may be used as an aggregate for cement mixtures, backfill, building foundations, as filler and may even be situated at the entrance of construction sites in order to prevent mud tracking.
- Traction – When ice is present on the ground, it can create hazardous slip-and-fall conditions. Certain forms of crushed aggregate, such as stone grits, can be spread across the surface of the ice in order to provide better traction both for foot and vehicular traffic.
Crushed Stone Prices
When working with crushed stone, expenses will vary based upon the quantity required, the labor involved and the type of stone utilized. Larger undertakings inevitably demand a larger volume of stone aggregate, equipment and man hours. It should also be noted that the heavier the stones are and the more effort that must go into the manufacturing process, the more the material will cost per cubic foot, cubic yard or ton. Don’t forget to consider the supplier.
Local crushed stone suppliers that manufacture their own products will be able to offer you the lowest and fairest prices on your materials.
Buying Crushed Stone in NJ
Braen Stone is the place to go for all of your crushed stone needs in NJ and its surrounding areas. We have a massive inventory of stone aggregate so that you’re guaranteed to find exactly what you’re looking for.
We take pride in carefully manufacturing all of our crushed materials so that our customers always enjoy a consistently superior product. Our team of experts is knowledgeable and prepared to provide you with information and advice on the various types of stone available.
All of our aggregate materials are available at competitive wholesale prices and can be picked up or bulk delivered to your job site throughout NJ, NY, PA and CT.
Originally published January 29 2015, updated September 13 2017.