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How Much Ballast Is In A Bulk Bag?

As one of the leading suppliers of concrete services and aggregates in and around Essex, East Anglia and East London, the team at Neil Sullivan & Sons knows more than most about the different materials used in the industry.

We supply a range of different aggregates, each of which has its own uses, applications and benefits in construction and/or landscaping. Mention most of them to the average person – such as gravel, sand, shingle and granite – and they’ll immediately know what you’re talking about. Mention ballast, on the other hand, and the first thing most people will think of is the weight that keeps vehicles or structures – but usually ships – stable.

So what is ballast, what is it used for and in what quantities do you need to get it for your particular project?

What is ballast?

Ballast is a coarse mix of sharp sand and gravel. As such, it often forms a substantial and important element in many concrete mixes. By supplying the sand and gravel ready mixed, time and effort is saved sourcing those aggregates separately and having to combine them in the correct quantities.

Ballast can also be used as a loose aggregate to create stable sub-bases and to erect retaining walls and fence posts. It’s also good for void filling.

That makes ballast one of the most useful and versatile of all aggregates and one that is used in a wide range of construction projects. The ballast bulk bags we supply each contain 850kg, or you can buy it by the tonne delivered as a loose load.

20mm Ballast Jumbo Bag

How much ballast do I need?

Getting the concrete mix right for a particular project is one of the key skills needed for successful construction. As a result, giving a precise quantity of how much should be used is nigh impossible.

Having said that, the following provides a reasonable guide to the mixes needed for different projects:

  • A mix of 1 part cement to 5 parts ballast will make concrete that can be used for paths, paving slabs or watertight concrete panels for walls.
  • A mix of 1 part cement to 6 parts ballast will make concrete that can be used for load-bearing surfaces such as driveways and garage floors, or for patios and pathways.
  • A mix of 1 part cement to 8 parts ballast will make extra strong concrete that can be used for foundations.

As a general estimate, you can expect to need approximately 1,750kg to 1,800kg of ballast for every cubic metre of concrete required. 

For example, an area measuring 10 metres long x 5 metres wide x 50 millimetres deep is equal to 2.5 cubic metres.

That means you’ll need at least 2.5 x 1,750kg of ballast, i.e. 4,375kg.

Divide that by 850 (the number of kg in each bulk bag) and that means you’d need to order six bulk bags. Alternatively, you could order your ballast as a loose load of five tonnes.

What are the benefits of ballast?

  • It’s sustainable – usually sourced locally and made of renewable materials, ballast is an environmentally friendly material.
  • It’s affordable – buying the sand and gravel you need for your concrete ready-mixed is a cost-effective alternative to buying them separately and mixing them yourself.
  • It’s versatile – ballast is commonly used as both an ingredient in concrete and as a loose aggregate, with plenty of applications in both construction and landscaping projects.
  • It’s convenient – sourcing your concrete aggregates in a form that can be used immediately means you can get on with the next stage of your project without delay.

If you need ballast for your next construction or landscaping project, Neil Sullivan & Sons offers great value, fast delivery and exceptional service every time. Or, if it’s more convenient you can also arrange to collect your ballast from our Wickford yard.

Get in touch with us now to find out more about our concrete and ballast delivery and collection services.