Most of the gravels are supplied in the construction industry and therefore, require laboratory testing to assure the physical attributes of each batch. Gravels are coarse aggregate used in the concrete mixture. The aggregates should be tested and adhered to the requirements of the American Standards for Testing Materials (ASTM).
Before starting the discussion on prices, let’s understand the common types of aggregates:
- Crushed stones are produced by breaking down large boulders into smaller particles and delivered to the plantation. The plantation performs further preparation and separation of the aggregates. The aggregates are then washed and graded based on the quality and size. Commonly used in the construction as coarse aggregate in concrete mixture and sub-base for paved
- River-run gravel or aggregates are dredged from the natural bodies of water like rivers and lakes. The natural smoothness and color are aesthetically appealing for landscaping purposes. Large stones are adequate for retaining and flood walls with cement paste. The small-medium stones can be used for drainage purposes as a filter.
- Colored-aggregates are manufactured from marble and crushed into smaller sizes for architectural purposes only.
- Pea gravels are pea-sized stones with various colors which are commonly used in pathways and walkways.
Average Cost of Gravel
The price varies depending on the source of the aggregates and type of shop to buy from. The average cost for crushed stone is around $11-$86 per ton. River-run gravels usually cost $16-$90 per ton. Meanwhile, pea gravels cost about $11-$200 per ton and colored-aggregates cost around $16-$85 per ton.
Large retailers like Lowes sell pea gravel about $4 to $6 per bag (60 lbs) or $133 to $200 per ton. Meanwhile, suppliers or landscape supply shops sell aggregates for $16-$90 per ton.
- Georgia Landscape Supply (Marietta, Georgia): Crushed stones ($46 per ton), River rocks ($70-$90 per ton), Pea gravel ($64 per ton), and other decorative rocks ($80-$85 per ton).
- Gravel and Landscape Supply (Kewaskum, Wisconsin): Crushed stones ($46-$86 per ton), River rocks ($53-$90 per ton), and other decorative rocks ($22 per ton).
- DLM Sand and Gravel (Arvada, Colorado): Crushed stones ($45-$48 per ton), River rocks ($49-$73 per ton), Pea gravel ($33 per ton), and other decorative rocks ($30-$35 per ton).
- C&C Sand and Stone (Colorado Springs, Colorado): Crushed stones ($39-$77 per ton), River rocks ($37-$80 per ton), Pea gravel ($22-$40 per ton), and other decorative rocks ($17-$41 per ton).
Direct suppliers or manufacturers sell aggregates around $7-$25 per ton.
- Weidle (Germantown, Ohio): Crushed stones ($11-$14 per ton), River rocks ($16 per ton), Pea gravel ($11.5 per ton), and raw materials ($7 per ton).
- Gorham Sand and Gravel (Buxton, Maine): Crushed stones ($8-$9.5 per ton).
- East Valley Sand and gravel (Arlington, Washington): Crushed stones ($14-$22 per ton).
- Rolfe Corporation (Bridgton, Maine): Crushed stones ($14-$22 per ton), River rocks ($25 per ton), and raw materials ($8 per ton).
All of the shops charge additional cost for the delivery. Weidle provides hauling service of the material around $20 plus tax for every pick-up. Meanwhile, Gorham Sand and Gravel requires a minimum order of $30 and charges $50 per 12 cubic yard for the delivery fee.
The transportation of the material needs heavy machinery, especially for a large order of aggregates. The distance and amount can significantly change the fees. Suppliers usually add the cost of labor and gas in the delivery fee.
In landscaping, the excavation and material used for borders increase the cost of the project. The depth of the gravel bed is important for drainage purposes and stability of the layer. Typically, borders are used to contain the aggregates in the project area. The borders are the structure outlining the project area and made of various materials.
The preparation of the base adds a fee because of the material used and labor needed. The compacting of the soil is necessary to stabilize the base where the gravel will be laid. Compaction requires equipment to even out the soil and increases the strength of the soil. Underlayers are also used to prevent weeds from growing in the gravel bed.
Hiring a professional landscaper can be expensive but invaluable service for those who want great design and those who are tight on time.
Factors Affecting the Gravel Prices
Gravel prices are mostly affected by the availability of the natural resources in the area. The distance from the supplier and the project area can increase the overall cost. The farther the distance between the two areas, the higher the delivery fee will be.
The preparation of the aggregates has an impact on the overall cost of gravel in the market. From gathering the raw materials up to the processing require machines and labor to operate. Laboratory testing is also a necessity especially for aggregates used in the construction and can be quite expensive. Manufacturers include all these factors in the price of the final product.
Also, some of the aggregates gathered in the natural sources can be sold to the market with minimal preparation. Raw materials are sold straight out of the quarry which is more cheaper but not recommended in construction. The freshly extracted crushed stones are usually sharp in the edges and large without uniformity. Meanwhile, raw river rocks are usually assorted based on their size before being sold to a customer.
- Type of Shop
Gravels are commercially available in home depots, hardware, and local quarry. The aggregates are usually sold cheaper in the local quarry and manufacturers. But direct buying from the manufacturer requires a minimum order and includes the fee for hauling.
Homeowners usually go to large retailers like the Home Depot and Lowe’s for their material needs. Even though, the prices in such shop are usually higher since they buy directly from manufacturers and add profit to the cost. The availability of the local manufacturer, distance and the volume of order greatly affect the decision to which shop to buy the aggregates.
- Type of Aggregate
The cost of a certain aggregate depends on the rarity and its availability in the area. Some minerals are not available in certain locations and require importation from other places. The complexity of the processing the final product varies from one type to another which can also be a factor in the cost.
The typical size of a gravel is usually between 3/8 and 11/2 inches. The aggregates are run into mechanical sieves to separate them according to their particle size and then refined using a machine. Such aggregates are expensive because of the uniformity in their sizes and guaranteed quality.
- Volume of the Order
Homeowners can buy the material at a discounted price when buying in a bulk order. The homeowners with large demand can bargain a better deal. They can also save a lot of money for the delivery fee. Some of the suppliers usually offer free delivery of the materials depending on the volume of the order and distance of the project area.