Different Types Of Aggregate
And Their Uses

When you hear the word “Aggregate”, what comes to mind?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as: “material formed by the collection of units or particles into a body, mass, or amount” or “composed of mineral crystals of one or more kinds or mineral rock fragments”.

For our topic, we’ll be specifically defining construction aggregate, or simply “aggregate”, which you’ll mostly hear in the groundworks and construction industry.

You can check with your local aggregate suppliers about the types of aggregate they offer, but knowing what exactly you need is important. Let’s explore the different types of aggregate and their uses.

The Different Types Of Aggregate

The categories of aggregates include gravel, sand, recycled concrete, slag, topsoil, ballast, Type 1 MOT, and geosynthetic aggregates (synthetic products commonly used in civil engineering projects used to stabilise terrain). Let’s detail a few of them.

Crushed Concrete

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What is it? - Crushed concrete is mostly recycled material.

How is it made? - It is either gathered from demolished sites or excess from construction projects.

Is it for you? - If you need it for either trench fills, backfills, over-site fills and as granular sub-base for deeper areas over 150mm, then this is for you.

Different types of Crushed concrete:

  • Type 1 Crushed Concrete - 50mm down to dust. Best used as a sub-base for roads, underneath blocks, as well as layering in between concrete or tarmac and as a hard core for projects such as car parks.
  • 6F2
  • Type 3 Crushed Concrete - 0-63mm reduced fines
  • Oversized Clean Crushed Concrete - 75mm-100mm (no fines)
  • Tarmac Plainings (Screened and Unscreened types)
  • Gabion Fill Granite - 75mm-200mm

Demolition and construction sites can create large masses of wasted building materials. This gives homeowners the perfect material for a sub-base, among many other uses. These concrete paving stones and broken pieces can be used to build walkways and new paths around the garden. If you want to get creative, they can also be used for raised garden beds.


What is it and how is it made? - Sand is composed of silicon dioxide in the form of quartz. The planet naturally makes it.

Is it for you? - If what you need is either brick manufacturing, landscaping, concrete component, water filtration, agriculture, then this is for you.

Different types of sand:

  • Sharp Sand - 0-4mm used mainly for block paving and slab laying
  • Building Sand - laying brick and block work, and paving slabs
  • Washed Recycled Sharp Sand - used for block paving, slab laying, and the like
  • 0-4mm Reject Sand - for pipe blending
  • Concrete Sand - a key ingredient in cement, but can also be used as pipe sand, a base layer, and a levelling medium
  • Soft Washed Sand - rendering brick and block work
  • Play Sand - Usually for children's sandboxes

Sand’s abundance on the planet is as great as its usefulness. It works well as a cushion for a play area, it can clean up an oil leak, and can even give your paint some grip if you add 2 cups of paint with a ¾ cup of sand. It is very commonly used in the construction industry because it can provide strength, bulkiness, and other properties to construction materials, such as asphalt and concrete.


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What is it? - Gravel is a tough wearing material. By definition, it is a “loose aggregation of small water-worn or pounded stones.”

How is it made? - It is a group of unconsolidated rock fragments. Gravel can be made in two ways. First, it can form naturally in riverbeds, streams, and other geographical formations. The second, which is used to create construction-grade gravel, is when you crush a group of large rocks together until you’re left with irregular-shaped fragments.

Is it for you? - If what you need is either garden paths, borders, driveways, drainage, pebble dashing, then this is for you.

Different types of gravel:

  • 6mm & 10mm Gold and 10mm White - great for garden decoration and footpaths.
  • 20mm Gold, 20 & 40mm White, 20mm Recycled - also for garden decoration and footpaths but will work for driveways and drainage as well.
  • 10mm Recycled - used for garden decoration, footpaths and ideal for pipe bedding.

According to the NSSGA, gravel can be found almost everywhere since asphalt is composed of mostly gravel. Thus, every asphalt driveway, public road, and car park has at least some gravel in it. NSSGA has also found that aggregates are mostly used at least in a 50-mile radius of the area it was sourced from.

Type 1 MOT

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What is it? - It’s an approved granular sub-base material.

How is it made? - May be a sum of rocks such as granite or gritstone, as well as other hard, inert materials.

Is it for you? If what you need is either trench fills, backfills, over-site fills or as a sub-base for pathways, driveways, patios, etc., then this is for you.

Different types of Type 1 MOT

  • Limestone - 30mm down to dust
  • Type 1 Crushed Concrete
  • Type 1 Crushed Hardcore - 30mm down to dust
  • Type 3 Granite 0-63mm (Reduced Fines Permeable)
  • Type 1 Granite
  • 0-2mm Granite Dust
  • 0-5mm Granite Dust
  • 2-6mm Granite
  • 4-10mm Granite
  • 4-20mm Granite
  • 10-20mm Granite
  • 6-14mm Granite
  • 20-32mm Granite
  • 10-63mm Granite
  • 0-4mm Limestone/Grit Sand
  • Type 1 Granite 0-40mm (Reduced Fines Permeable)
  • Gabion Fill Granite - 75mm - 200mm

MOT stands for Ministry of Transport. Type 1 MOT is a stone that meets the standards of the MOT in terms of its strength, size, and composition for use as a compact sub-base.


What is it? - Topsoil is rich soil which has been screened to remove contaminants.

How is it made? - By nature’s incredibly slow, natural process that could take a century.

Is it for you? - It is for everyone wanting a healthy garden.

Different types of Topsoil:

  • Standard Topsoil (20mm) - We advise the use of Grabco’s 20mm standard topsoil to fill the area for deeper levelled gardening areas. However, a follow-up application of their 10mm premium soil should be spread across the top of this area for the best possible results.
  • Premium Topsoil (10mm) - Meant for creating beds and borders but is also ideal for lawn preparation or general garden use. Keep this in mind when preparing your home garden.
  • 10mm Turfing Soil - Made up of a 70/30 mixture of sharp sand and soil. This combination is the best for turf laying, as well as sowing grass seed.
  • Horticultural Grit 0-4mm - Best used for planting, potting, and plant’s drainage.
  • Enriched Topsoil - A half-and-half mixture of 15mm screened soil and 10mm compost. This type of topsoil is best used for borders, raised beds, baskets, pots, allotments, etc.
  • 30mm Mulch Compost & 10mm Compost Peat Free (Soil Conditioner) - A substitute for peat and also acts as a soil conditioner.

Topsoil is the answer for people wanting their plants to grow in the best possible way. It offers so many nutrients, and there is arguably nothing more suitable. Topsoil benefits the garden because it assists in improving the nutrient cycle, the amount of organic matter, and the soil’s water-holding capacity.


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What is it? - Ballast is the coarsest form of aggregate available.

How is it made? - Typically made of crushed stone, although ballast has often consisted of less suitable materials such as burnt clay.

Is it for you? If what you need is either concrete mixes, filling gaps in hard core, as a concrete component, pathways, or major footings, then this is for you.

Different types of Ballast:

  • 0-10mm Ballast & 0-20mm Ballast - Concreting foundations and as a sub-base.
  • 20mm Screened Ballast & Recycled 20mm Screened Ballast - Driveways, footpaths, oversite fill, and sub-bases.
  • As Raised Ballast - Blinding hardcore, backfill, and driveways.

Other than infrastructure, the ballast is also used as a stability-aid for vehicles such as boats, submarines, ships, and even race cars.

Good Choices Reap Good Results

Make sure you choose the proper aggregate for the intended purpose. Ensuring you use the right tools and have the best type of topsoil or aggregates for your home and garden is a good start. For all your garden and construction needs, contact Grabco and find out about all the different types of aggregates they offer.