/ faqs

Frequently Asked Questions

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Sand & Gravel

1. When would I use sand vs gravel in building stuff?
Sand's great for masonry work, like with cement, or for leveling things out. Gravel, on the other hand, is a champ for driveways, helping with drainage, or serving as the foundation for roads.

2. Do I need washed or unwashed sand for my project?
Well, if you're looking to mix with cement, washed sand's your best friend. But if you just need to level or fill something, unwashed should do the trick.

3. How heavy is a big pile of sand or gravel?
A cubic yard of this stuff usually weighs somewhere between 1.25 to 1.5 tons. And if you're curious, a ton is about 2,000pounds. But keep in mind, it can change a bit depending on whether you're talking rock vs. sand, and if it's had a recent rain shower or not.

4. Any tips for figuring out how much material I need?
Remember this little tidbit: 1 cubic yard can roughly cover about 100 square feet if you spread it 2-3 inches deep. So, measure your space, divide by 100, and that should get you in the ballpark.

5. How quickly can I get a truck delivery of the sand and gravel materials I order?
You're usually looking at about a day or two, but it might change based on how much you need and where you're located. If open and available we can deliver the same day, if you job requires it.

6. Does Western Materials deliver on the weekends, holidays and nights?
Yes we can deliver on Saturdays when arranged in advanced for a slightly higher service charge. Western Materials is not open on major holidays.  And Western Materials does offer night delivered of sand and gravel for construction jobs that work at nights.  This will have to be arranged in advance but it is possible.

7. What are the main differences between sand and gravel?
Sand particles are typically smaller and come from pulverized rock or minerals. Gravel, on the other hand, consists of larger particles, often rounded, and is commonly used for driveways and drainage.

8. What are the primary uses of sand in construction?
Sand is versatile. It's used in concrete mixing, masonry work, plastering, and even as a base for pavers. It also plays a role in landscaping, particularly for leveling purposes.

9. How can I determine the right type of gravel for my project?
It depends on the project. For driveways, a compactable gravel like Class 2 road base is ideal. For decorative purposes, pea gravel or river rock might be more appropriate. Discussing your project's specifics with a material expert can be beneficial.

10. How do I prevent weeds from growing through my gravel path or driveway?
Before laying gravel, it's advisable to place a weed barrier or landscaping fabric. This can inhibit weed growth, though occasional maintenance might still be necessary.

11. Can sand be used for pet areas, like a sandbox or a cat litter area?
Yes, play sand is often used for children's sandboxes and can be used for pet areas as well. Ensure it's free from chemicals and contaminants before using.

12. What is the difference between "washed sand vs unwashed screened dry sand”?
As it relates to arena sand for horse arenas and corrals. Washed sand has been screened at 5/32” (finer) or 3/16”(corser) and cleaned of silt, clay, and other impurities, making it a better choice for projects like concrete mixing where purity is crucial. Also for those using washed arena sand the corser washed sand provides for better drainage in areas that require it.  And the finer sand where drainage is not an issue then the finer softer washed sand may be appropriate for horse corals and arenas especially the ones that covered and indoors. We have many type of premium and budget friendly arena sand, volleyball court sand, golf sand and playground sand. Consult our customer relations representatives for the best material that meets your needs.

13.  How can I ensure my gravel driveway remains even over time?
Regular maintenance, like raking to spread the gravel evenly and adding a new layer as needed, can help maintain an even surface. Some homeowners and ranch owners would benefit by using our high quality road base instead of loose gravel that offers mix of sand and recycled concrete and asphalt to provide a strong even surface for roads that will be dust free and have a high compaction rate. We always recommend using appropriate equipment for laying and compacting the base by using local grading and landscaping contractors.

14. How often should I replenish or top up my gravel areas?
Depending on the traffic and wear and tare, a gravel area might need replenishing every 1-2 years. It's good to regularly check for thin spots or areas where the underlying surface is visible.

15. I'm planning a garden pathway. Would sand or gravel be better?
Both can work! Gravel provides a firmer, crunchier path and offers excellent drainage. Sand gives a softer look and feel. Your choice depends on the aesthetic and functionality you desire. We would also recommend that you consult a qualified landscaper or contractor.

16. How do I calculate the amount of sand or gravel needed for my project?
A general rule is that 1cubic yard can cover 100 square feet to a depth of 2-3 inches. To calculate, divide your area (in square feet) by 100. Adjustments can be made based on your desired depth.

17. How much does a cubic yard of sand or gravel weigh?
Typically, a cubic yard of sand and gravel weighs between 1.25 to 1.5 tons, or 2,500 to 3,000 pounds. The exact weight can vary depending on the specific type and moisture content.

18.  What's the difference between pea gravel and decomposed granite?
Pea gravel consists of small, rounded stones, often used for decorative purposes. Decomposed granite is a granular material resulting from granite weathering. It's often used for paths due to its compatibility.

19. Do you recommend a specific gravel size for drainage solutions?
This depends on application use. But as a general rule drainage, slightly larger gravels, often between 3/4",1” inch and 1.5” inch, are ideal. They allow water to flow through more efficiently than finer gravels. Certain areas such septic tank application we recommend the larger 1.5 rounded and uncrushed gravel to allow for quick percolation.

20. Contractors need high quality sand and gravel materials that meet specs?
Western Materials adheres and insures that materials provided to contractors and their jobs meets standards depending on the material types.

As of last update in September 2021, the specific requirements and standards for construction rock testing can vary depending on the jurisdiction and project specifications. One commonly referenced set of standards in the United States for construction materials is the "Standard Specifications for Public Works Construction" often referred to as the "Greenbook." However, the specific tests and standards for construction rock can vary from region to region. It's important to refer to the specific version of the Greenbook and any local amendments or regulations that may apply to your project.

Generally, the following tests and standards are relevant for construction sand and gravel for different types and sizes of rock, crushed or natural.

1. Aggregate Gradation - The distribution of particle sizes in the rock material is tested to ensure it meets the specified gradation requirements. ASTM C136 or ASTM D6913 can be used for this purpose.

2. Specific Gravity and Absorption- These tests determine the density of the rock material and its ability to absorb water. ASTM C127 and ASTM C128 are common standards for these tests.

3. Los Angeles Abrasion Test- This test assesses the resistance of rock aggregates to abrasion and impact. ASTM C131 is a standard method for conducting this test.

4. Soundness Test: The soundness of aggregates is tested to determine their resistance to disintegration due to weathering or alternate cycles of wetting and drying. ASTM C88 is often used for this purpose.

5. California Bearing Ratio (CBR) This test evaluates the strength of rock materials under varying moisture conditions and can be crucial for road construction. ASTM D1883 provides a standard procedure for conducting the CBR test.

6. Unconfined Compressive Strength- This test measures the rock material's strength when subjected to compressive loading. ASTM D2938 is one of the standards that might be used.

7. Sieve Analysis-  This test is used to determine the particle size distribution of a rock material. ASTM C136 provides a standardized procedure.

8. Particle Shape and Surface Texture- Visual and microscopic methods might be used to assess the shape and surface characteristics of rock particles.

9. Flakiness and Elongation Index- These tests determine the shape characteristics of aggregates. They are often used for evaluating aggregates used in asphalt and concrete mixes.

10. Sulfate Soundness Test- This test assesses the potential for aggregates to degrade due to the presence of sulfate ions, especially in wet environments.

11. Alkali-Silica Reactivity (ASR) Test-This test determines the potential of aggregates to react with alkalis in concrete, causing expansion and cracking.

Remember, the specific requirements can change over time, and local regulations may also play a significant role. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, consult the latest version of the Greenbook or any local construction standards and regulations that apply to your project. If there have been updates or revisions to the Greenbook since September 2021,we recommend checking with relevant authorities or resources to get the latest information.


1. I'm new to home improvement. How do I know which material (sand, gravel, decomposed granite, etc.) is right for my project?
We are happy to make recommendations, but its best you speak to a qualified landscaper or contractor.  But the best material depends on your project. For instance, decomposed granite is popular for pathways, while gravel might be more suitable for driveways. Reach out with your project details, and we can guide you to the best choice!

2. How can I calculate the amount of material I need for my project?
A simple formula is to divide the area (in square feet) by 100 to estimate the number of cubic yards required, assuming a depth of 2-3 inches. If you know the square footage and desired depth, you can adjust the formula accordingly.

3. Using the formula, how many cubic yards would I need for a 500 sq. ft. area?
For a 2-3 inch depth, you'd need approximately 5cubic yards. (500 sq. ft. ÷ 100 = 5 cubic yards).

4. Can I mix different materials, like sand and decomposed granite, for my project?   Yes, depending on the project, mixing materials can provide both functional and aesthetic benefits. It's essential to consult with experts landscaper or contractor before mixing to ensure compatibility.

5. Is there any prep work I need to do on the site before the material is spread?
It's recommended to clear the area of any debris, ensure it's level, and, for some projects, lay a weed barrier or fabric beneath the material.

6. How long will the materials last? Do I need to replenish them periodically?
The longevity depends on its use. While gravel driveways might require occasional replenishment due to displacement, a decomposed granite pathway can last years with proper maintenance.

7. Do the colors of materials like decomposed granite or gravel fade over time?
Natural materials might experience slight fading over time due to weather and wear. Sealing or using a stabilizer can help retain the color.

8. How do I maintain the appearance and function of the materials once laid?
Regularly removing debris, occasional raking or leveling for even distribution, and replenishing material as needed can maintain both appearance and function.

9. Can these materials be laid in areas with heavy foot or vehicle traffic?
Absolutely. Some materials, like compacted gravel, are designed to withstand heavy traffic, making them perfect for driveways and high-footfall paths.

10. Are these materials pet-friendly?
Most of our natural materials, like sand and gravel, are pet-friendly. However, it's always good to monitor pets initially to ensure they don't ingest or get hurt by the materials.

11. Do you deliver small quantities suitable for homeowner projects, or is there a minimum order?
Generally, we have a 1 ton or 1 cubic yard minimum for small orders, We cater to projects of all sizes, from large construction jobs to small homeowner needs. Let us know your requirements, and we'll assist you accordingly.

12. What is your cancellation policy?
You can cancel at any time before the material is loaded and shipped from the plant or quarry to your job site. Once on the road, delivered, and unloaded, the material cannot be returned. Please be sure that the sand and gravel material you need is exactly what you need before receiving it at your job site.

13. Can I look at the sand & gravel  material before I purchase it?
Yes, for most of our sand and gravel materials, we have pictures and material test lab reports if your jobs requires them. Small samples are available for large volume orders of over 100 cubic yards on certain materials. If samples have to be sent shipping charges may apply.

Cobbles, Rip Rap, &Boulders

1. How big do these cobbles and boulders get?
We've got all sizes, from cobbles to massive boulders. We offer from 6 inch all the way up to 24 inch and 36 inch in smooth, natural and sometimes angular and crushed pieces. Most common and popular is our 6 inch to 18 inch. 

 2. Is your cobbles and rip rap appropriate for different type so public and private construction job applications?
Yes our materials are tested regularly and meet all required standards for constitution use such as hardness, specific gravity, and other test needed and required by appropriate government agencies.

Baseball Infield Mix/Red Clay

1. What makes your baseball infield mix special?  
We've dialed in the perfect blend of sand for drainage, clay for that nice binding effect, and silt for a buttery-smooth play surface.

2. Would this infield mix work for major league fields?
Our mix suits all baseball fields in schools, little leagues, colleges, and minor and major leagues.

3. What's the ideal composition for a baseball infield mix?
An ideal baseball infield mix typically consists of a balance of sand (for drainage), clay (for binding), and silt (for a smooth surface).

4. How deep should the red clay/infield mix be laid on a baseball field?
The recommended depth varies, but generally, 3-4inches is common for most baseball infields.

5. How often should the baseball infield mix be replenished or replaced?
Depending on usage and weather conditions, infield mix should be checked annually and replenished or replaced as needed.

6. What are the maintenance requirements for redclay?
Regular dragging to maintain a level surface, adequate moisture management to reduce dust, and occasional rolling for compaction are key maintenance practices.

Decomposed Granite (DG)

1. What's the best way to use decomposed granite in my garden?
Decomposed granite shines when used for pathways, driveways, and patios. It has a natural feel that can really elevate your outdoor space.

2. Which is better for landscaping, decomposed granite or crushed rock?
It's all usage case. Is there a decorative element and a look you are going for.  Decomposed granite gives a more rustic feel, while crushed rock is a bit more structured with its edgy look. Both are great; it's just a matter of preference and application!

3. Any chance you've got different varieties of decomposed granite and crushed rock?  
We've got a mix of sizes and colors to match whatever you're dreaming up for your project. 

4. What are the color options available for decomposed granite?
We offer decomposed granite (DG), which typically comes in a variety of natural hues, including gold, tan, brown, grey, and rose, among others. Most common and best price is our tan. Ask about our non-spec DG that is more affordable then our premium DG.  Again everything really depends on your budget and application needs.