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Mr. Mike, Civil Engineer
Category: Home Improvement
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Experience:  Homeowner and fixit fan. What works is what I am interested in.
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# how many tons of road base do I need for 1000 square

### Resolved Question:

how many tons of road base do I need for 1000 square feet at 6 inch depth?
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Home Improvement
Expert:  Mr. Mike replied 10 years ago.
You would think that I, as an experienced civil engineer, could give an unequivocal answer to this question. However, there is one bit of data missing that affects the answer. That "bit" is the compacted density of the aggregate (the rock) used for the road base itself.

I have seen really dense rock packed in really well. The tests showed about 160 pounds per cubic foot, using rock with a specific gravity of 3.0 (about 180 pounds per cubic foot of solid rock). What makes this "interesting" is that concrete weighs in at 150 pounds per cubic foot, actually less than this road base did.

But for the sake of estimating, let's assume that your road base, packed in place, weighs less than cured concrete, say 135 pounds per cubic foot.

If your area is 1000 square feet and the packed base is half a foot thick, then you will need 500 cubic feet of road base. (This doesn't allow for spillage, waste, or non-uniform base conditions, where the actual road base thickness, once leveled out and packed down, is more than 6 inches).

Then 500 cubic feet at 135 pounds per cubic foot means you will need 67,500 pounds, or 33.75 tons, of road base. Order a little more, say 35 or 36 tons, if you run short the job will be delayed. The cost of the delay will far outweigh the cost of an extra ton or two of rock.

Hope this helps.