Stone dust is a product that you may need for any hardscaping projects you are completing, but that you may not know exactly what it is, where to buy it, or how you can use it. In fact, it is a product that causes a lot of confusion as it is known by several names and looks like neither stone nor dust.
This guide will clarify exactly what stone dust is, how to use it, and everything else you need to know about this product before using it for your hardscape project.
What is Stone Dust?
According to Unilock, stone dust is a byproduct or crushed stone, which is sometimes called crusher run. Stone dust is also known as rock dust or quarry dust, and some products just have the brand name. The stone dust is collected using a screen that keeps the larger pieces of crushed stone above the screen while allowing the rock dust to fall through.
This process is the reason why stone dust is often called quarry screenings. Crushed stones are graded by number according to the size of the crushed stone. As stone dust is the smallest form of crushed stone, it has a grading of #10.
What Are the Properties of Stone Dust?
All materials have properties that make them suitable for different purposes. Stone dust has many properties that make it a useful byproduct to use for many hardscaping jobs. Understanding the properties of stone dust can help you to decide which jobs it is most suitable. Some of these include:
- Flat and smooth- You can lay stone dust very flat and smooth to create an even and level surface for paving. This means you will not have uneven surfaces in your garden.
- Low cost- In comparison to other options, such as sand, stone dust is usually a cheaper option. For many people, this gives it an advantage over other options as they can save money on their hardscaping project.
- Weed prevention- Using stone dust as filler between paving stones can solve the issue of weeds growing between your paving stones. The properties of this material prevent this from happening, so you will keep your paved area looking neat and tidy for longer.
- Non-porous-This is a non-porous material, and this gives stone dust an advantage for use between paving stones. It will stop water from heavy rain seeping below the paving stones into the base materials. Therefore, it can reduce the risk of shifting and damage to the paving stones.
- Variety- The exact properties of stone dust varies from one type to the next. You can choose from various grades, stone types, and colors.
Types of Stone Dust
There are different types of stone dust available. This is because stone dust is the byproduct of crushing stones. Therefore, the type of stone dust will depend on the type of stone that was being crushed to create the byproduct. Each of these different types of stone dust has different properties and they may come in different colors. Two of the most common types of stone dust are granite and limestone.
There are also differences in the types of stone dust available in terms of how fine or coarse they are. This means that some stone dusts are superior due to their texture. According to Home Guides, the best type of stone dust to use for paving is crusher run, which is also known as processed gravel. It is superior to regular stone dust because it is coarse rather than powdery, it drains better, and it compacts well to form a stable base that is less likely to shift.
Where Can You Buy Stone Dust?
There are many places where you can buy stone dust and in various quantities. If you live near a quarry or stone yard, you are in luck, says The Spruce. This is one of the cheapest places to buy it as you are getting it direct from the source. However, this is not the only option.
You can also buy stone dust from excavation companies, DIY stores, and other home stores, such as Lowes or Home Depot. Furthermore, there are many companies that sell stone dust online that can deliver to your home.
For What Purposes is Stone Dust Used?
Once, stone dust was considered waste material as it was simply the byproduct of crushing other stones. However, it was realized that this byproduct had the potential to be used in several useful ways. The most common use for stone dust is as a base layer or setting bed for laying stone pavers.
Homeowners who undertake projects such as laying a patio, flagging a driveway, or creating a garden path may use stone dust as one of the materials for the project. The main reasons why it is used for this purpose are that it is something that you can lay flat and smooth and that it can support the significant weight of the pavers.
You can also use stone dust between pavers as filler material to fill the gaps and create an even surface. Similarly, you can use rock dust to fill potholes in concreted areas around your home.
A further use of stone dust is for agricultural purposes, says Eco Farming Daily. Farmers add stone dust to the soil as it increases soil fertility and changes the pH level of the soil. In areas that have been intensively farmed or those with tropical soil, demineralization is a big problem.
Using rock dust is an ideal solution to this problem as it reverses the process by adding minerals and restoring life to the soil. This helps the soil’s ecosystem so that it is able to support plant life.
There is some evidence to suggest that stone dust from volcanic rocks can give soil paramagnetism energy that improves plant growth. However, there are some who believe that this concept is a little far-fetched.
How to Work Out How Much You Need
Before setting off to buy your stone dust, it is important that you calculate the amount you will need. If you buy too little, you will waste time making a return trip to buy more. It can also impact on the finish of the job if there is a break in you laying the base material. If you buy too much, you will waste money and you will not get a refund.
Inch Calculato has a useful calculator that you can use to work out how much stone dust you will need for your project. The site also tells you how to work out an estimate yourself. You can work out how much sand dust you will need in cubic yards by using these steps:
- Measure in inches the width and length of the area you are covering.
- Find the area in square inches by multiplying the width and length.
- Work out the volume in cubic inches by measuring the depth of the area you are covering and then multiply it by the area. You will usually need one-inch of stone dust to four inches of gravel, so the depth when calculating the amount of stone dust you need is usually one-inch.
- Divide the cubic volume in inches by 46,656 and this will give you the amount of base you need in cubic yards.
If you need to work out how much stone dust you will need in cubic meters, you can do so by doing the following calculation:
- Measure the width and the length of the area you are covering in centimeters.
- To find the area in square centimeters, multiply the width and length.
- Find the cubic volume in centimeters by multiplying the area by the depth in centimeters.
- You can then work out the volume in cubic meters by dividing the volume in cubic centimeters by 1,000,000.
You can use the same calculations to work out the amount of sand or gravel you need for your hardscaping project in cubic yards or cubic meters.
How Much Should You Lay?
The amount of stone dust you will need to use depends on the type of project. However, if you are using it as a base layer below gravel, you will probably need to spread a layer of stone dust that is one inch in depth.
Stone Dust vs. Sand Between Patio Pavers
Stone dust is not the only material used as a base layer or for filling between paving stones. Another option is sand. Contractors who lay paving professionally will each have their own preference for which to use as there are pros and cons to both. To decide whether stone dust is the right product for you or if you think sand is the better option.
Here is a comparison of the pros and cons of stone dust and sand as listed by Braenstone.
- Drainage- Sand is a good drainer because it is porous and will not shift the pavers even in heavy rain. On the other hand, very fine stone dust will hold water instead of draining it, and this can lead to damage to the paving stone during the freeze and thaw cycles. Therefore, many landscapers prefer to use sand in the base layer and stone dust for filling between pavers.
- Protection- Using sand dust between pavers creates a non-porous surface that protects the base layer. Using sand between the pavers will not protect the base layer.
- Settling- Sand does not settle and it compacts well, which are important for laying paving. Stone dust is very fine, so it does not compact well and there are often problems with settling, which causes paving stones to shift.
- Texture- Sand has a fine texture that will not hurt your feet if you walk barefoot over the paving. It depends on how fine the stone dust is to what texture you will achieve. A stone dust that is very fine will create a smooth finish, but coarser stone dust may have a rough texture underfoot.
- Mess- Sand mixed with concrete as a base layer is easy to sweep away. Stone dust can sometimes become a little messy as particles break away when it has dried.
- Cost- Another important factor to consider when choosing between sand and stone dust is the cost. According to Fine Home Building, sand is the more expensive option while stone dust is cheaper.
- Aesthetics- If you opt for sand between the pavers, there is only one color finish that you will achieve. On the other hand, stone dust is available in various colors depending on the type of stone from which the dust is derived. Therefore, there are more finish options if you choose stone dust.
Each has benefits for different uses, so you should consider the pros and cons in relation to the specific project you are undertaking.
Stone Dust – The Final Verdict
Stone dust is a byproduct of crushing stone. Although it was originally a waste product, it is now used for agricultural and hardscaping purposes. Most commonly, stone dust is used for paving projects such as driveways, patios, and pathways.
There are different types of stone dust available, in terms of both the stone from which it originates and the coarseness of the powder. There are pros and cons to using stone dust for paving compared to using sand. Many landscapers prefer to use sand with concrete as the base material and to use stone dust only for between the paving stones.
However, if you choose crusher run, it has better properties for using as a base layer for paving than regular stone dust. If you choose to use stone dust for your DIY project, then it is important to calculate the amount you need before you begin so that you do not waste time and money.