Tonnage Calculator

Created by Kenneth Alambra
Reviewed by Rijk de Wet
Last updated: Sep 25, 2022

This tonnage calculator will help you determine the tonnage of aggregates you will need to cover a particular area and depth. Suppliers usually price the aggregates in terms of weight and tonnage, and this tool will help you quickly estimate that for you. In this calculator, you will learn:

  • What tonnage is;
  • How to calculate tonnage of aggregates; and
  • How to use this tonnage calculator.

Keep on reading to start learning! 🙂

What is a tonnage?

The word "tonnage" itself can mean a lot of things. We can use tonnage to describe the sizing of an HVAC system or how much a ship weighs. Basically, tonnage is the weight in tonnes (or tons for short) of massive volume objects, such as the contents of a cargo ship or earthworks like rocks and gravels.

This calculator focuses on the latter, particularly the different aggregates used in construction. We use these aggregates as bedding materials, subgrade, and subbase of pavements and slabs on the ground or as a part of mixtures like concrete or asphalt. Each kind of aggregate has its own unit weight that we can utilize to estimate its tonnage. Learn more about concrete and asphalt by checking out our concrete calculator and our asphalt calculator.

Now that we know what tonnage means, how about we learn how to figure stone tonnage in the next section of this text?

How to calculate the tonnage of aggregates

Learning how to calculate rock tonnage is an invaluable but easy skill, and it is essential when estimating project costs and even buying construction materials. Finding the tonnage of specific materials such as aggregates is a matter of multiplying its occupied volume by its unit weight. We can express that in equation form as follows:

W=V×γ×0.001 tonskgW = V\times \gamma\times 0.001\ \tfrac{\text{tons}}{\text{kg}}

where:

  • WW is the tonnage of aggregates (in tons, of course);
  • VV is the aggregates' volume (in cubic meters); and
  • γ\gamma is the aggregates' unit weight (in kilograms per cubic meter).

Multiplying V×γV\times\gamma with 0.001 tonskg0.001\ \frac{\text{tons}}{\text{kg}} converts V×γV\times\gamma from kilograms to tonnes.

🙋 Note that if you know your aggregates' unit weight in pounds per cubic foot (lb/ft3\text{lb}/\text{ft}^3), you must instead use your aggregates' volume in cubic feet (ft3\text{ft}^3) in the formula above. Then, you have to multiply the outcome by 0.453592 kglb0.453592\ \tfrac{\text{kg}}{\text{lb}} to convert it to tonnes.

When finding the volume of aggregates, we usually take the area that our aggregates will cover and multiply that value by how deep we want our aggregates to be. In equation form, we have that as:

V=A×dV = A\times d

where:

  • VV is the volume of the aggregates;
  • AA is the area of the surface we want to cover; and
  • dd is the depth of the aggregate cover.

Usually, the area we want to cover has a rectangular shape where we can obtain its area by multiplying its length by its width, as shown below:

A=l×wA = l \times w

where:

  • AA is the area of the surface we want to cover;
  • ll is the length of the surface; and
  • ww is the width of the surface.

Of course, there will be times when the area you want to cover may not be rectangular. If that is the case, you can use our area calculator to help you out. For now, keep on reading if you're ready to learn how to figure stone tonnage using this tool.

How to calculate rock tonnage using this tonnage calculator

Our tonnage calculator is straightforward to use — follow these easy steps on how to use it:

  1. Select the aggregate you wish to use. Doing so will display its corresponding unit weight.
  2. You can also input a custom unit weight value if your preferred aggregate is not in the list.
  3. Enter the length and width (or area) of the surface you plan to cover with your chosen aggregate.
  4. Enter the depth of your aggregate bedding. Instantly, our tool will compute the volume you need to fill with your selected aggregate. At the same time, you will also already see the equivalent tonnage of your required volume of aggregates.

As an added feature, you can use our tonnage calculator in Advanced mode to calculate the cost of your aggregates. Enter your expected wastage, perhaps due to unforeseen mishandling or wastage while pouring the aggregates, and the price per 1 unit of weight of your aggregate to determine its total cost.

FAQ

How do I convert yards to tons for gravel?

To convert yards of gravel to tons:

  1. Know the unit weight of your gravel. Let's say it's 2498 lbs/yd³.
  2. Take the volume V occupied by your gravel. Let's say it covers an area equal to 2 yd² with a depth of 9 in (or 0.25 yd):
    V = 2 yd² × 0.25 yd
    = 0.5 cubic yards
  3. Multiply your gravel's unit weight by its volume to find its weight W in pounds.
    W = 2498 lbs/yd³ × 0.5 yd³
    = 1249 lbs.
  4. Convert its weight in pounds to tonnage by dividing it by 2205.
    W = 1249 ÷ 2205
    = 0.566 tons

What area will 1 ton of gravel cover?

A ton of gravel can cover around 6.75 m² (or 71.5 ft²) of land area at 10 cm (or 4 in) depth. That applies to gravel with around 1482 kg/m³ (or 92 lb/ft³) unit weight. Doubling its depth to 20 cm (or 8 in) will divide the area it can cover in half, resulting in a covered area of 3.375 m² (or 35.75 ft²).

What do 5 tons of sand look like?

Freshly dumped 5 tons of sand from a truck to the ground will look like a cone 3 m wide and about 1.5 m high. It can have a lower peak and spread wider if the sand is dry. If you want to form a cube out of 5 tons of sand, you can build one with a length, width, and height of around 1.5 m.

How many yards is a ton of crushed stone?

Since crushed stone has a unit weight of around 2700 lbs/yd³, and 1 ton is equivalent to around 2205 lbs. we can say that a ton of crushed stone is about 0.82 yd³ of volume. We obtain that value by dividing the weight in pounds by the unit weight in pounds per cubic yard:

2205 lbs ÷ 2700 lbs/ yd³ = 0.8166 yd³
≈ 0.82 cubic yards.

Kenneth Alambra
Material
Aggregate Base Course
Unit weight
lb/cu ft
Material requirements
Length
ft
Width
ft
Area
ft²
Depth
in
Volume
cu ft
Result
Tonnage
US ton
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