18th Nov 2022 -

A combination aggregate commonly used within the production of concrete, ballast sand is one of the key building materials in the modern world, used for everything from pathways to skyscrapers. In this quick guide from Building Materials Nationwide, we’ll explain what ballast sand consists of, the cost and size of ballast sand bulk bags, and the two key uses for ballast sand within construction.

What is Ballast Sand?

Ballast sand is a term used for a blend of sand, small stones, and gravel. It is a type of aggregate that will be used within construction for two main purposes. The type of sand used is normally sharp sand, which is a gritty type of sand that is popularly used for concrete mixes and loosening clay soil.  The gravel or stones will typically be between 10mm and 20mm in diameter and can be chunks of rocks like limestone or sourced from recycled components. Ballast is a durable building material that comes at an affordable price.

How is Ballast Sand Sold in the UK?

Ballast sand will typically be sold in either regular trade packs of 25kg in weight or larger bulk bags of 850kg. When looking to use ballast sand within a construction project, it will normally be in your best interests to opt for bulk bags. Click below for the latest prices listed on our website.

  1. Ballast Sand (201/001/1139)


    • Bulk/Small Bags Available
    • Pre blended aggregates

What is Ballast Sand Used For?

Ballast sand, due to its loose and unappealing appearance will not be used as a decorative aggregate. Instead, it will be used for construction purposes, either within a mix or as a hidden base for other features:

  • Concrete: Concrete is the most popular construction material in the world, made from a combination of cement, fine aggregates, gravel, and water. By combining sand and stone, ballast saves time and effort for concrete mixes. Concrete is used for everything from the foundations of a house, to paving slabs, to skyscrapers. Ballast sand can help contribute to strong and dependable concrete while remaining cost-effective.
  • Sub-Bases: Sub-bases are installed as a foundation layer beneath a variety of things such as road surfaces and pathways. While for more heavy-duty applications larger aggregates like MOT type 1 would be used, ballast sand will work great as a sub-base for a path or paving.

How is Ballast Sand Mixed Into Concrete?

When looking to mix concrete from base components, cement and ballast, the ratio will depend on your needed use, with larger amounts of ballast contributing to greater strength. Opting for 1-part cement and 5-part ballast will create a mix suitable for slabs and concrete panels. For the strongest concrete, such as that used within foundations, a 1-part cement to 8-part ballast mix will be used. In order to make the strongest concrete, it will need to be reinforced, with steel rebars or mesh.

Quality Ballast Sand Delivered Nationwide

Building Materials Nationwide aims to offer everything a professional could need in one handy location. Through our website, we offer both small and bulk bags of ballast, part of our large range of aggregates. We stock everything from bricks to insulation, quality timber, and roofing supplies, alongside our wide range of tools.

All of our products can be delivered across the UK, and we work with tradespeople and skilled DIYers alike. For those in the industry, we offer trade accounts through our website. Our trade accounts offer access to a dedicated account manager who can help you source whatever products you need through our network of suppliers. Trade account holders also gain access to our trade pricing, express nationwide delivery, and financing options. Sign up for a trade account today.

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