If you can imagine a world without gravel, you are probably not aware of its importance in our daily lives. In fact, it has become an inherent part of modern infrastructure that it is almost impossible to imagine a world without it.
Wherever your turn, you will find gravel everywhere, especially when you take a road that is less travelled. It is used on paved and unpaved roads and serves as a great alternative to tarmac and concrete.
Today, let us take a closer look at the basics of gravel, including where it comes from and how it is frequently used.
To start, gravel is composed of crushed stone or rock fragments that are combined together. The most common type of rock used in making gravel is limestone. As we have mentioned earlier, it is frequently used in building roads and pavement. Aside from that, it is also used in other construction and industrial applications. The crushed stones are often categorised into coarse and fine fragments.
When needed in construction projects, large rocks are gathered and broken down into small and irregular rock fragments with pliable and durable surfaces. These rocks are usually taken from several mines and stored in quarries where they are exploded, crushed and mixed with stone powder if required.
Limestone gravel is frequently used in driveways, landscaping and pathways. They are usually crushed and combined with concrete to build driveways. As a foundational filler, they are a good choice in placing a layer beneath a driveway project. In asphalt driveways, they can be crushed and used as an aggregate. If you are looking for affordable and aesthetic options for loose-top driveways, limestone gravel can serve as a top layer that is functional but highly attractive.
When used in landscaping and pathways, pea gravel is preferred as it serves as a wonderful underfoot. They come in various shades of tan which can be used to accent the outdoor space of your property. Larger grades of crushed limestone are also great as a landscaping or walkway filler. You can also use it as an accent around landscaping features, trees and plants, improving your curb appeal.
A certain grade of limestone is great to drain excess water in your property. Larger grades of crushed limestone are also essential in preventing erosion on slopes, hills and pond banks. Finer grades can be used as a rip-rap foundation.
Do not walk on your lawn if it has not taken root yet. This may take a few weeks or so.
Due to its strength and hardness, white limestone gravel is the preferred aggregate when building strong road surfaces. Its crucial characteristics make it better than the other types because it has a particular set of binding properties and it is stronger than most types of gravel. For instance, when used as a road surface filler, the chunks of limestone produce fine dust when cars drive on it. When it gets wet, the dust mixes with the water because it is water-soluble and when the water dries up, the minerals of the white limestone gravel are left behind. These small particles end up acting as a binding agent, like glue, binding the chunks of gravel together.
Grey limestone gravel has a near-white colour when dry and darker colour when wet. This is ideal for making your outer spaces brighter or when you want to contrast for darker colours in your property. This kind of gravel is mostly used in landscaping projects, gardens, driveways, footpaths, ornamental features and rockeries.
When building an underground pipe, crushed limestone is the go-to material for its bedding. The pipe bedding gravel acts as a leveller and support for the pipe. If the pipes will be utilised to move materials such as freshwater diesel fuel, natural gas or sewage, the pipes will be operating under pressure to move it. The pipe bedding gravel will enable the pipes to wiggle slightly as it moves the materials, as well as support the entire structure by making sure it doesn’t move out of its original position.
If the pipes are placed through solid rock bed, they are at risk of developing holes as it rubs against the sharp surfaces of the rock or trench floor. Properly washed and crushed limestone bedding can serve as protection, shielding the pipes from high friction areas and sharp rocks.
Another great advantage of using limestone as pipe bedding is the fact that it does not contract or expand like clay, which may expose the pipe to stress and may eventually cause it to break. It also protects the pipe from soil movement that naturally occurs due to soil getting wet and dry over the course of time, traffic on the ground surface and other distresses that may occur near the pipe.
Crushed limestone also supports the structures that are placed on top of the pipe and the pavement above it because it does not expand nor compact. It will also allow any moisture buildup to drain away from the structure. When open-graded limestone is used in backfilling a trench, the need to compact the backfill is scaled down.
Aside from walkways and railroads, sand and gravel is used by various industrial companies to transport several materials, deliver numerous products and enable other businesses to drive and sustain themselves. Paved roads need to be maintained to extend their lifespan. The same is also true with unpaved roads. Sand and gravel can be used to make sure that dust is controlled and operations will remain safe. This means scheduling regular maintenance on every gravel road to guarantee that they always operate in excellent shape.
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