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When laying paving stones, the selected material for the bedding layer is essential. A direct comparison between sand and grit as a bedding material makes it easier for you to make a choice for your project.

In a nutshell

  • Sand and grit are unbound beddings
  • available in different grits
  • Sand easier to use
  • Gravel offers better carrying capacity
  • Mortar bedding also possible

Laying paving stones: sand

Sand is one of the classics when it comes to bedding for a paving layer. If you want to lay paving stones, you can convert the bedding layer purely from sand with grain sizes in the following sizes:

  • 0-2mm (default)
  • 0-5 to 0-8 mm (low traffic load)
  • about 0-10 mm (large pavers)

These granulations are available under certain designations, which at the same time define the type and are suitable for the paving layer. These include:

  • gravel sand
  • crushed sand
  • plate sand
  • screen sand
  • construction sand

Paving sand is also offered, which is mostly gravel sand. Gravel sand has established itself as an effective building material for bedding due to the gravel content. Crush sand is often used when weed growth is to be slowed down. Washed sand is used in very cold regions due to its lower susceptibility to frost. No matter which variant you choose, sand has specific bedding benefitsthat you should consider:

  • trouble-free processing
  • can also be used for joints
  • available quickly

But you also have to disadvantage of sand as a bedding material. The problem with the weeds should be addressed here in particular, because sand is quickly and easily broken through by the plants. This leads to a higher effort in terms of maintenance of the paved surface. Likewise, subsidence or shifting occurs more frequently if the paving stones were not laid professionally. Other disadvantages are:

  • lower load-bearing capacity than grit
  • Ants settle more easily

Laying paving stones: grit

Compared to sand, chippings are broken stones that interlock and thus provide a robust bedding for the paving layer. This is one of the biggest advantages over a sand bed. For this reason, you can use grit much better for driveways or the like. Further benefits of grit are:

  • good drainage
  • permanently non-slip
  • no reductions possible

Gravel is usually available in the following grain sizes, which you can use for the paving stone bedding:

  • 1-3mm
  • 2-5mm
  • 3-7mm

Despite the advantages over the sand, there are disadvantage, which you must not ignore when dealing with grit. These include:

  • more expensive than sand (strongly dependent on sand type selected)
  • harder to relocate

Notice: It is therefore clear that both materials have advantages and disadvantages in their application. Therefore, you should always consider what loads the paving stones are exposed to. However, you should not neglect the look and choose the building material that best suits the stones.

cost of bedding

If you have decided on a sand or grit bedding, you must of course consider the acquisition costs for the material. How much you have to spend can be calculated and compared with little effort. In this example is from one surface with the dimensions of ten meters in length and five meters wide assumed that with gravel sand in the grain 0-8mm or Chippings 2-5 mm is filled. First you need to find the volume of the area for the bedding layer via the following formula:

  • Length in m x width in m x height in m = volume in m³

the The bedding layer is three to five centimeters, regardless of the material high. For this example we use a two inch bedding layer.

Notice: Always add one centimeter so that the paving stones are not too deep after compacting.

  • 10m x 5m x 0.06m = 3m³

The volume is three cubic meters. Now you need to multiply the weight per tonne of bulk material by the volume you just calculated to get the total amount needed. On average weighs gravel sand in the grain 0-8 millimeters 1.5 tons per cubic meter, paving stones with 2-5 millimeters 1.6 tons. You will receive the exact weight directly at the building materials store or you look online in the product information after. You calculate as follows:

  • Sand: 3m³ x 1.5t = 4.5t
  • Chippings: 3 m³ x 1.6 t = 4.8 t

Depending on the region and supplier, you have to pay a price of 50 to 250 euros per ton for gravel sand and grit calculate. The costs are calculated as follows:

  • total quantity required in t x price per t = total costs in euros
  • Sand: 4.5 x 50 to 250 = 225 to 1,125 euros
  • Grit: 4.8 x 50 to 250 = 250 to 1,200 euros

Notice: Note that each grit has a different overall weight and can be offered for different costs depending on the type of sand or grit. For this reason, you may have to pay more or less than the example given for some materials.

Alternative: Bonded paving construction

In addition to using loose materials as bedding for your paved paths, the use of bound systems is also possible. These are above all suitable for surfacesthat either exposed to high loads (driveways). are or not with intense temperature fluctuations have to fight. They are special systems that are structured as follows:

  • Mortar bedding
  • 3 cm thickness
  • Mixing ratio: 4 parts sand (0-8 mm) to 1 part cement

After the mortar has been mixed and applied to the base layer, you can lay the paving stones and fix them with a rubber mallet. Compared to the unbound bedding layer, this application also uses mortar for the joints to fix the paved surface. These types of mortar can also be used for loose bedding, resulting in a mixed construction. This includes:

  • cement mortar
  • synthetic resin mortar

Notice: The bonded paving method also requires a solid base layer if the paving layer is exposed to high loads. In this case you have to sit on a layer of concrete or asphalt so that the surface does not sink.

frequently asked Questions

What additional properties should the bedding material have?

When purchasing the bulk material, make absolutely sure that it has no coloring components. An example is clay. Over time, this can lead to permanent color changes in the paved surface, which can only be remedied by a complete replacement. It should also be filter-stable so that there is no exchange of material during seepage, which would reduce the stability of the bedding layer.

What slope do you have to consider when laying?

A slope is necessary so that rainwater and melted water can seep away easily and cannot collect under the paving or between the stones. A gradient of two percent should be planned so that the water does not stand still. Depending on the location and purpose, the value can be expanded to five percent. Paving stones with water-permeable properties require a gradient of one percent.

Why shouldn't the bedding layer be compacted immediately?

If loose materials are used as a bedding layer, the stones are placed in this without being fixed. If you were to compact the layer before placing the stones, they would only lie on top and the bedding layer would not take hold. Only after the entire pavement has been laid and grouted is it time to compact it. The bedding layer is automatically compacted on the paving stones by using the vibrating machine.

What must not be forgotten before placing the stones?

In any case, you must remove the bedding layer of sand or gravel. The leveling is done with a straightedge and ensures a level surface on which the patch can be laid. If they forget this step, the stones will quickly shift, which should be avoided at all costs.

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