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What is Crushed Stone?

Mary McMahon
Updated: May 17, 2024

Crushed stone is a construction product people can use for things like drainage, paving, and landscaping. It consists of pieces of rock or stone reduced to a similar size with the use of special equipment. Numerous companies offer this product in a range of sizes for consumers, and people can buy it through home supply and construction stores. For people who only need a small quantity, it may be possible to buy a partial load or container, depending on the policies of a given supplier.

Raw materials for crushed stone come from a number of sources, and any given load can contain a mix. Using crushing equipment and screens, companies break the rock up into small chunks. Some of the edges can be sharp, and it may be possible to tumble the stone before delivery to blunt the edges. Companies typically produce several grades of crushed stone, separated by size. They can also use specific rock mixtures for projects where the color or composition might matter.

One application for crushed stone is for gravel driveways and drainage trenches. The stone readily allows water to percolate through while also creating a smooth, even upper surface. People may also use small amounts in plant beds and planters for drainage, depending on what they are growing. At construction sites, a crushed stone pad can act to trap dirt and dust on the edges of the site to limit tracking by construction workers and allow water draining from the side to dissipate without flooding.

Another use for crushed stone is in concrete aggregates, asphalt paving, and similar applications. Small grades of stone are typically suitable for this application. Crushed stone is also useful for preparing roadbeds and railway tracks, in which case other materials may be laid over it to complete the project. People may use it additionally for underlaying brick and other walkways to provide drainage and prevent subsidence.

Companies usually sell this product by the truckload, because that is the easiest way to package and deliver it. Sometimes people who share a driveway or property line may arrange to split a truckload if they cannot use an entire load by themselves. Another option is to purchase packaged crushed stone for people like gardeners, or to ask a company if it is possible to bring containers and buy lesser amounts by weight. This will be more expensive by weight than purchasing a big load in most cases.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a About Mechanics researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By OeKc05 — On Feb 17, 2012

@lighth0se33 – Since the shell is already crushed, it can tolerate a lot of weight. I listened to advice from my neighbors before putting in my crushed shell driveway, and they had some great tips.

They told me to put a raised concrete or brick edging around the driveway first, because shell can wash around in the rain, much like it does in ocean waves. I'm pretty sure this would hold true for crushed stone, as well, if it is loose. The edging has done a great job of keeping the shell in place.

Also, they recommended laying down ground cloth before putting the shells down. Both crushed stone and shells allow weeds to grow up between them, so it is best to take precautions before they start. I put down a three-inch layer of crushed shell on top of the fabric, and I haven't seen any weeds in the area.

By lighth0se33 — On Feb 16, 2012

I vacation in Florida every summer, and I have seen many homes using crushed seashells instead of stones to beautify their yards. I am sure that crushed shells are readily available throughout that whole state, since three of its borders touch the ocean.

From a distance, it looks like crushed stone, but once you take a closer look, you can see half shells and pieces of larger ones combined with oddly shaped small shells. They are usually some shade of gray or white, and I guess this is to keep with a certain color scheme.

I wonder how good crushed seashells would be for covering a driveway? I know it would look really cool, but can they stand up to the weight of cars as well as stone can?

By cloudel — On Feb 15, 2012

@shell4life – Crushed stone is pretty popular in the business district of my town, also. The wealthier businesses get pretty creative with it, changing it out to match the season.

The local garden center has to show off, because they sell the stuff. Around Valentine's day, they will switch the white stone in their display garden with pink stone, and close to St. Patrick's Day, they use green crushed granite.

It's a pretty big place with a large selection, and I have been able to buy crushed granite here in a large bucket. They have many colors to choose from, and they will even sell it to you by the pound.

By shell4life — On Feb 15, 2012

I have seen a lot of businesses using crushed stone in their small flower beds. My local bank has a garden right in the middle of the parking lot, and crushed white stones are scattered throughout the area.

They use stone to keep weeds down. Landscapers are paid to plant seasonal flowers here, and they are also told to scatter the stone in empty areas between plants.

I have considered using crushed stone in my own flower bed, but I have yet to find a local supplier who will sell it to me in a small amount. The ones around here deliver it by the truckload, and if I ordered some from out of town, the shipping cost would outweigh the savings.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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