Aggregates are small pieces of rocks or minerals that are used in construction. The four primary aggregates are sand, gravel, crushed stone, and recycled concrete or fill. These different materials work to hold the ingredients together to harden into various landscaping projects such as sidewalks, driveways, roads, and parking lots. Let’s examine each aggregate in detail and its uses.
Why Use Aggregates In Construction?
Strength and Durability
Aggregates provide strength and durability to concrete. That makes it possible for the final product to reach its full potential. Without aggregates, the material might not handle the weight placed on top of it or be able to last in high traffic areas such as parking lots or sidewalks without cracking over time.
Depending on the project, aggregates can be used to enhance the final product’s aesthetics. Aggregates might come in various colours, which can be chosen to match up with the surrounding environment.
Aggregates tend to be readily available in most parts of the country, making them accessible to contractors. Moreover, there are several aggregate suppliers available who can provide material to projects if required.
Aggregates are made from naturally occurring minerals and rocks; the fragments break off larger rocks as they weather away. That gives it a natural element that is environmentally friendly compared to steel or plastic that require excessive energy to produce.
In many cases, aggregates are cheap and durable enough to last a long time. That saves money for contractors and clients in the long run.
The 4 Main Types Of Aggregates and Their Different Properties
Sand is a common fine-grained sedimentary material made from fragments of rocks or minerals, including quartz. Sand is typically used in mortar and concrete mixes due to its round particles that are easy to mix. Sand comes in different forms, including ordinary sand, coarse sand, and fine sand.
Gravel is a common coarse-grained sedimentary material with a particle size ranging from 0.4 inches to 2 inches in diameter. Gravel is typically used for medium to large-sized aggregates in the construction industry.
Gravel can be found in two forms: pea gravel and crushed stone. They have an even shape, and they are suitable for heavy-duty projects, including driveways or roads that will need to handle high traffic volume or heavier loads.
Crushed stone is a more processed (version of gravel) aggregates comprising of angular or subrounded particles. It is mainly used for medium to large-scale projects and is often found in major commercial building sites since it can handle heavy traffic.
Crushed stone typically comes in different shapes, including bowling balls, teardrops, or round rocks, 2-3 inches in size.
Ready Mix Concrete Essex is a mixture of cement, aggregates, sand, and water forming solid materials suitable for building roads, buildings, or pavements. Moreover, concrete is formed under high pressure by mixing the ingredients, which explains its excellent texture.
In landscaping projects, concrete can be used in various forms; ready mix, bagged concrete, and unbagged concrete.
Which Types of Aggregate Are Right for Your Project?
Deciding the ideal aggregate for your project depends on your project’s purpose, intended outcome, and expected lifespan. For example, ordinary sand or pea gravel will be suitable for a short-term project such as landscaping; they are cheaper and readily available.
However, crushed stones are the best choice for long-term projects such as roads or buildings that will last for decades. They are durable and designed for heavy-duty usage.