As a supplement to this question. I ordered gravel to gravel my driveway. My wife accepted the delivery. When I got home what they had dropped was over 50% clay and equal parts sand and small stones. I left a message saying that this isn't what I had ordered and am awaiting their response.

What product did I likely get? What is this material used for?

  • 1
    What exactly did you ask for when you ordered? Did you order by phone, internet, or in store?
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 14:09
  • Orderred by phone, they asked for the application, I said I was gravelling a parking spot, they suggested some variety of gravel with confidence and I said sure.
    – Myles
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 14:33
  • Have talked to them since and they said locally this is what is commonly delivered when gravel was ordered but they were surprised when they arrived due to sand already being there. They have agreed to drop off a load of stone once I have the mixture spread out.
    – Myles
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 14:35
  • "they were surprised when they arrived due to sand already being there." There was sand in your driveway, or somebody also delivered sand?
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 14:39
  • My dad got me a load of "gravel" from my uncles farm. This would be the sort of gravel that you would relax on holding a cocktail at a tropical resort.
    – Myles
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 14:42

4 Answers 4


Sounds like you got "Crusher Run", when you wanted "Washed Stone". This site has a good description of some different types.

enter image description here
Crusher Run

enter image description here
Washed stone

It's used as a base for driveways and roads, but is typically compacted and covered by another material (asphalt for example).

You may have been thinking of something more like pea gravel, or similar. Something that consists of smallish roundish stones, that you could use as a top layer for a driveway. While the quarry was thinking you meant more of a base type gravel, that you would later add a finish layer on top of.

This is sometimes the problem with ordering stone without being familiar with the source, since "Gravel" is a subjective term. Making matters worse, places often try to guess what you need based on the description of the job you provide.

  • It's insane that something as ubiquitous as gravel would be such a loosely defined term (especially as most internet searches do not lead to any mention of sand or clay as a part of "gravel").
    – Myles
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 14:39
  • 2
    When you say "Gravel", I think I know what you mean. If I was ordering something for a driveway, I would never tell the quarry I needed "gravel", as I would expect them to bring crusher run. I would tell them I wanted "Stone", or "River rock" if I wanted fancy roundish stones.
    – Tester101
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 14:49
  • 7
    The answer is spot on but only contractors would understand this outright. The place that sold this to a consumer should have done a little diligence and sent a picture over before bringing it out. At the same time your wife shouldn't have just signed something without knowledge.
    – DMoore
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 15:00
  • Answer unselected as this was not crusher run. Saw crusher run at landscaping supplier and that is not what I got.
    – Myles
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 18:42
  • I ordered "crusher run" once and it was fine (just stones and stone dust). I ordered it again, and got dirt mixed with small stones.
    – mbeckish
    Commented Mar 4, 2016 at 18:54

When ordering "gravel" it is important to consider if it's washed or not. The crushed gravel can be compacted just fine. The clay will not compact as well since it won't lock together. If you're really concerned you can add some lye to your gravel as you compact it and that will strengthen it up. Honestly we get the crushed stone all the time for the roads we repair here in the Midwest so for a driveway it shouldn't be a problem. Size CA-6 is most commonly used. The rocks are about 1/2"-3/4" including the "fines" (the little crushed parts). Sand as a filler isn't bad but you may need some geotextile fabric between your sand and gravel so that the force of vehicles doesn't rut your driveway faster than it should. On the upside the sand will "wick" water away from your driveway base and that can add to the life of your drive. It will depend on the soil types next to your drive though. All this is based on covering the driveway with asphalt or concrete.

  • Not covering with asphalt or concrete. Information lost from post due to poor editting. Re-editted.
    – Myles
    Commented Oct 2, 2014 at 19:53

Turns out that this is a local-ism for the Canadian prairies. Locally gravel means a mix of mostly clay, with some sand and stone. These are seperately gathered and mixed in specific proportions. Aparently most other places in N America would call this a low grade road gravel or base gravel.

I still feel like I orderred a coffee and got a mix of coffee, tea, and coke but my local network of people advised this is what should be expected. I guess it's a lesson in making sure you are clear as to what you specifically want.


I work in a gravel pit on the crusher. Yes in some orders for driveways and shoulders on roads clay and Sand is used in the mix. The last run we had we were having problems with the clay getting stuck when we were doing tests for quality. So we removed the clay and the sand was not setting up. So for a filler and binder we started using crusher fines and dust with 3/4-. After a good packing and rain it sets up better than concrete. And sheds the water if leveled right.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.