April 13, 2023
Rip rap is a form of limestone, one of the most readily available and inexpensive—yet valuable—building materials in the state of Texas. Some of the most popular forms of limestone besides rip rap include bull rock, base, crushed rock, and crusher fines. Rip rap in particular is typically placed along areas that may be exposed to water because of its resistance to erosion and its durability.
Rip rap is a versatile material that can be used for just about anything. For practical purposes, it can be used to stabilize foundations, maintain the integrity of buildings, and protect roads, bridges, and other structures from erosion. It can even be useful for projects that require filling large areas. As one of the largest types of limestone, rip rap ranges in diameter from 6” to 36”—a large range that is part of what makes it such a versatile aggregate.
Rip rap is often used as a form of erosion control around shorelines, bridges, culverts, drains, and other areas which are exposed to heavy waters. It is also useful on roads which are sloped and therefore bear the brunt of rainwater. Rip rap is often the top choice to prevent erosion because of its size, strength, and durability. It takes a lot to erode or break through rip rap, which also makes it suitable for building roads and structures in general.
As rip rap is just one of several types of limestone available in Texas, it has several alternatives that fall within the limestone family. One example is crushed rock, which, while significantly smaller than rip rap at ¼” to 2” in diameter, still serves as a necessity in most construction projects. It is a basic material that is used for anything from stabilizing foundations to building roads and driveways. However, certain types of crushed rock are more expensive than others, many times because specific types need to be washed a certain way or must be imported in order to meet the requirements of a commercial project.
Slightly larger in size than crushed rock (generally 2” to 6” in diameter), bull rock is another type of limestone that is often used as a filter material or to stabilize foundations. Its durability is comparable to that of rip rap, with the exception that rip rap is larger than bull rock and therefore may be suited better for different kinds of construction projects. In particular, bull rock is typically used to stabilize the entrances of construction sites, as it can withstand the consistency of heavy vehicles which need to enter and exit.
Limestone base is a bit different from the previous two types of rock because it is a mix of rock and fines that hardens after it is moistened. Most construction jobs in Texas require limestone base, so it is just as important as rip rap, crushed rock, or bull rock. Base can come in two forms: Flex base and State Spec Base. State spec base has a consistent and defined composition (unlike its counterpart, flex base), which allows it to be used for projects requiring long term stability.
Because all types of limestone are readily available in Texas, they remain pretty affordable. Some types of material, such as limestone flex base, are cheaper than others because they compromise quality and refinement in exchange for a cheaper cost. In most cases, Rip Rap should not be substituted unless you are very confident that the substitute material can perform the same task with the same degree of success. In some cases, such as filling a large void or elevating a landscape, combining rip rap with other limestone base materials can be both a cost-efficient and useful way to get the job done correctly without breaking the bank.
The cost of any limestone material depends upon the location and type. The cost of rip rap, before transportation, will range from $30 - $75+ per ton, depending on your location and material availability. Rip Rap is almost always on the more expensive end of the limestone price spectrum.
Ready to order rip rap for your next construction project? Our team at Twisted Nail is here to make sure the job goes right. We provide pit-to-plant, pit-to-jobsite, and pit-to-consumer quarry direct trucking to ensure that your materials are sent when you want and where you want. We work closely with local quarries in the Waco, Bryan, and Austin areas of Texas to source you the highest-quality materials delivered at an efficient price point. If you’re ready to order, contact us today.
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.
Any driveway’s depth should be at least 5” to ensure structural integrity and better load capacity. For road base in particular, experts recommend a thickness of 6-8”.
Twisted Nail is here to help. If you need something hauled in central Texas, we can get your job done, safely, timely, and reliably.