How to calculate gravel volume

Written by ian kenney
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Gravel can be a substrate, a surface medium or even a decorative border. Whatever the use, moving it around requires planning, and that planning includes knowing just how much you'll need before you order in the delivery. Guessing is not a good action plan. Thankfully, it requires only simple math. The most complex thing you'll need to do is convert volume to weight or weight to volume after you've taken a few simple measurements.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Calculator
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  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of the spot you need to cover. If the shape is irregular, try to break it into roughly rectangular parts, then measure each rectangle's length and width.

  2. 2

    Multiply the length by the width. If you are calculating the area for several different rectangles, add the products together to get the total surface area.

  3. 3

    Use the formula pi x (r x r) for circular areas where pi=3.14 and r is the radius. Estimate the radius for roughly circular areas. The radius is the distance from the centre to the edge, and 3.14 is the standard rounded value for pi.

  4. 4

    Multiply the area by the depth to which you intend to fill in the gravel. Different applications require different depths. This will give you the volume.

  5. 5

    Convert your measurements to cubic yards by dividing the total cubic feet by 27.

  6. 6

    Convert your cubic yards to tons by multiplying your total by 2,750. This is a rough number averaging different types of gravel. For more specific measurements, contact your supplier for the actual weight of the type of gravel you intend to use or consult the chart in the reference section below.

Tips and warnings

  • For many applications, you will need to layer different gravel sizes. Calculate the specific tonnage for each type.

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