February 1, 2022
When it comes to construction stone and rock, the wide variety of options may feel overwhelming. Not to worry—we’ll offer information and advise to help you learn more about the different types of river rock, stone, and gravel and their uses. In this blog, we’ll dive deeper into the commercial uses for construction rock and give you all the information you need to choose the best type of rock for your job site.
The history of stone and river rock on job sites begins with the different types of aggregate which exist. Aggregate is, simply put, the stone in more commonly known types of construction materials, such as concrete and asphalt. Aggregate can be used in its natural state (such as gravel or sand), can be crushed and shaped until it reaches the necessary state for the job site, can be made artificially to meet specifications of the site, or can be recycled.
Most types of aggregate come in the form of crushed stone, which is sourced from quarries and sifted, separated, and crushed to meet certain guidelines. Aggregate provides a foundation for concrete and other types of rock, allowing the material to maintain good longevity and endurance.
However, crushed stone didn’t become popular on construction sites until the 1940s and 50s because there were no machines powerful enough to crush stones before that time period. Once efficient machines with tracks were developed, crushed stone became popular across the board—until it became a quintessential component of any construction project.
There are several options when it comes to types of rock used in construction, but there are six types that are more popular choices.
#57 Rock is named for the size of the sieve through which the rock is sifted, separated, and finally crushed. In essence, this type of rock is a crushed aggregate that can be used in a variety of construction and landscaping job sites. As a versatile rock type, #57 is a popular choice for projects that require gravel or something similar. Like gravel, #57 has a uniform size with jagged edges that result from the crushing process.
This type of rock is sourced from natural stone deposits, and depending on the source, #57 can be comprised of granite, limestone, or washed gravel. Its most common uses include driveways, sidewalks, roads, and in the production of concrete.
• Keeps formation well due to its angular shape
• Provides good drainage
• Helps hold together walls, underground pipes, sewer lines, and utility lines
• Not very aesthetically pleasing
The coarse stone of flex base road material is generally used for driveways and temporary roadways, as it’s not the most durable form of rock. Other names you might know for flex base include base and caliche.
• Great foundation for roads and driveways
• Helps roads last longer
• Meant to be temporary or used as a base
As you might guess from the name, pea gravel is comprised of very small rocks. These crushed pebbles come in a variety of colors, such as brown, white, gray, and even translucent.
Because of its aesthetically pleasing appearance and round, smooth surface, pea gravel is a popular choice for walking paths, patios, driveways, playgrounds, gardens, and other areas which don’t see too much traffic.
• Great weed suppressant in gardens
• Perfect for decorative spaces
• Natural erosion leaves the stones smooth, so they do not hold in place well and require an edging material like concrete or foundation gravel to keep them in place
River rock is washed gravel that comes in a smooth, round shape. Like pea gravel, river rock comes in a multitude of colors (shades of red, white, gray, and tan), but unlike pea gravel, it comes in a diverse range of larger sizes.
The best uses of river rock are for gardens, walkways, around patios, and in residential construction.
• Can be used for decorative as well as practical purposes
• Provides good drainage because it is a loose type of rock
• Not suitable for large construction projects which require a more stable base
Like the name implies, road base is used for roads and driveways, serving as an alternative to asphalt in places where asphalt is not allowed or costs more. Road base is a mix of coarse and thin aggregate which takes shape and solidifies within a few weeks.
• Cost-effective alternative for driveways, parking lots, and roads
• Not as durable as asphalt
With sharp edges and loose rocks, utility rock is best used in construction projects which require good drainage. These include pipeline construction, embedment, backfill, parking lots, pathways, decorative landscapes, and driveways.
• Perfect choice for draining purposes
• Not the strongest or most stable type of rock for your job site
While the types of rock listed above are the most popular, there are several other available options if you feel that none of these match your specifications. In addition, sometimes there are multiple options of rock or gravel that could work for your job site. Out of these six types of rock, many are interchangeable or work well together. As an aggregate hauling company that hauls all types of stone, rock, and gravel in a wide variety of colors and sizes, we can help you find what’s best for your job site.
If you’re not sure what type of stone is well suited for your construction project, it might be helpful to review a few common job sites that use stone.
Sidewalks often employ rock or gravel that is easy to walk on, remains even, and doesn’t hurt when walking barefoot or with thin shoes. While plain old concrete or asphalt may be used, other choices like pea gravel and river rock can spruce up the look and feel of sidewalks.
Aggregates for concrete provide solid foundations and good drainage systems for both driveways and roads, and of course both of these job sites need durable types of rock. Crushed stone aggregate, road base, and utility rock are recommended for these types of construction.
Have weeds that you want to suppress in a flower bed? Looking to spice up your garden with more decoration? Aesthetically pleasing gravel and rock—like pea gravel and river rock—are perfect choices for landscaping.
Because of our wide range of materials, quarry connections, and trailers, we provide both aggregate hauling and material hauling services for all your construction rock and stone needs. In order to ensure that your material arrives on time and in perfect condition, we use three different types of trailers to haul rock, stone, and gravel. Each one has benefits and disadvantages depending on what types of stone you’re looking to haul.
Steel end dump trailers are designed to withstand large loads of rock, heavy gravel, demolition, and more. While end dump trailers can be made out of steel or aluminum, steel is a better choice for tougher and heavier jobs, or for daily use. End dump trailers can quickly unload any type of building material for your job site.
As a lighter alternative to steel trailers, aluminum end dump trailers are perfect for less heavy loads. They are great over long distances and can be pulled by a small tow vehicle due to their lightness.
If your project doesn’t require any major lifting or specifications, your best choice might be the good old-fashioned dump truck. With efficient loading and unloading time, dump trucks are a cost- and time-effective option when hauling construction material.
As your rock, stone, and gravel hauling experts, we can help you find the perfect construction stone fit your job site. If you’re in the Austin, Waco, or Bryan areas of Texas, we’re your go-to construction rock supplier, with our specialties being construction material hauling services and aggregate hauling. Whether you know exactly what type of stone you’re looking for or are just browsing around, our team can help you choose the best stone, rock, or gravel for your job site.
An end dumps carry weight depends heavily on the specific road regulations, the power unit weight, and the composition of the trailer. A steel trailer, typically referred to as a Round Bottom, will be heavier and will have a payload of approximately 21 to 23 tons. By contrast, an aluminum end dump is much lighter and can carry anywhere from 23-28 tons, with some set-ups being able to approach 30-ton payloads.
End dumps are typically loaded by heavy machinery, such as a front-end loader or excavator, or by a series of conveyor belts. End dumps are top load trailers. An owner-operator with an end dump trailer will uncover the trailer via an electric tarp switch in the cab. With the trailer uncovered, the heavy machinery is free to load from the top of the trailer, being careful to evenly distribute the material. Once loaded, the owner-operator flips the tarp switch, covers the load, and continues their run.
There are several different types of hydraulic lifts that are usually part of dump trailers. These include telescopic, dual-piston, and scissor lifts, among others. Most dump trailers use hydraulics to automatically lift the dump box and unload the materials in a quick, seamless action.
An end dump is an excellent investment for owner operators or construction companies that transport bulk aggregate on a frequent basis. Depending on your needs, a steel or aluminum end dump will ensure that you are able to reliable keep your customers jobsites and stockpiles full.
Depending on market timing, a typical aluminum end dump will range between $15,000 to $70,000+, with steel round bottoms priced around $10,000-$50,000+. These trailers are also offered for rent or lease, with trailers available for around $850-$2,000 per month. When renting or leasing, it is typical for all repairs to be the responsibility of the renting owner operator.
Flex base can be an excellent choice for a driveway but is not often used as a primary input in TXDOT construction. Flex base is best suited for farm roads, driveways, RV pads, and for other foundations that will not receive heavy traffic. Flex base is cheaper than most alternative options, such as asphalt or base that meets TXDOT specifications. Additionally, once set and compacted, a flex base road or driveway is cheaper and easier to maintain.
Yes, road base and flex base are the same material family. That said, the differentiating factor is typically the testing results of each material. When shopping for material, it is important to identify exactly what type of material you are buying. Retailers will categorize Base as a broad category and can leave identification to consumers, which is challenging and confusing. In general, if a retailer is selling a Road Base it can be assumed that the material is of higher construction quality than flex base, meaning it will have a wider range of approved uses. However, some vendors will sell Flex Base as a Road Base; this makes it important to understand if the material you are purchasing is a true Flex Base, is ‘Spec 247’, or is TXDOT approved. With each increase in quality comes an increase in cost, so it is important to identify which material will best suit the needs of your project.
Flex Base is a mixture of loose aggregate and coarse aggregate, can be a wide range of color based on source location, and is composed of materials ranging from dirt to rock that are 1”-3” in size. Most Flex Base, particularly around Central Texas, will range from tan to brown, will consist of a dirt material and rocks that range from 1” to 2” in diameter. There are specialty materials that will include rocks up to 3” in size, but these are typically reserved for heavy construction projects.
Twisted Nail is here to help. If you need something hauled in central Texas, we can get your job done, safely, timely, and reliably.