How to Calculate Paver Sand

Updated February 21, 2017

Creating a patio or hard parking area is a popular way to extend your living space and add value to your property. Pavers, whether stone or concrete, must be supported by solid foundations, the final layer of which is paving sand. Calculating how much sand is needed for a paving project involves finding the surface area of the paving, and then establishing how many cubic feet of sand are needed to cover the area in a layer 1-inch thick.

Calculate the area of the paving project, and thus the area requiring sand. For rectangular areas of paving, the area is the length multiplied by the width. For right-angled triangles, multiply the height by half the base. For example, the surface area of a patio 10 feet long by 6 feet wide is 10*6, or 60 square feet.

Calculate the volume of sand by multiplying the surface area by the depth of the sand layer. The recommended depth of sand for laying paving is 1 inch. As one inch is 1/12 of a foot, divide the surface area, in square feet, by 12 to find the cubic feet of sand required. For example, a 60-square-foot patio requires 5 cubic feet of sand because 60/12 = 5.

Convert cubic feet to cubic yards for large volumes of sand. Divide the cubic feet value by 27 to convert it to cubic yards. A cubic yard of sand will cover 324 square feet to a depth of 1 inch.


Small volumes of sand can be bought in 1-cubic-foot bags from do-it-yourself stores. Buying sand by the cubic yard from quarries and builders' supply outlets is often less expensive than buying small bags from do-it-yourself suppliers. Buy a small amount of extra sand to cover accidents and for filling gaps between the paving.


Use the right type of sand. Some sands do not compact well and won't form a firm base for the paving.

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About the Author

David Robinson has written professionally since 2000. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Meteorological Society. He has written for the "Telegraph" and "Guardian" newspapers in the U.K., government publications, websites, magazines and school textbooks. He holds an honors Bachelor of Arts in geography and education and a teaching certificate from Durham University, England.