Knowing how much area a certain amount of stone covers is useful information for a variety of construction, landscaping, and engineering projects. When planning a project that involves laying stone, it’s important to calculate the area coverage to determine how much stone to purchase and prepare for delivery and installation. In this article, we’ll look at how to calculate the area coverage of a ton of stone based on thickness, stone type, and other factors. We’ll also provide some examples and guidelines to help understand stone coverage areas for common project types.

## What is a ton of stone?

A ton, also known as a short ton, refers to a unit of weight equal to 2,000 pounds (907 kg). Therefore, a ton of stone weighs 2,000 pounds.

Stone is typically sold by the ton since weight is a consistent metric compared to volume, which can vary based on the type and cut of stone. The weight of a ton of stone is constant at 2,000 pounds, while the volume and coverage area can change depending on other factors.

## How is stone measured for area coverage?

When calculating area coverage for stone, the main factors to consider are:

- Stone type (density)
- Stone thickness
- Stone size/shape

Stone density is measured by pounds per cubic foot (or kilograms per cubic meter). Denser stones like granite weigh more per cubic foot than lighter stones like bluestone.

Thickness refers to how thick the layer of stone will be once installed, usually ranging from 1 inch to 4 inches. Thicker stone provides more coverage per ton.

Stone size and shape also impact area coverage. Stone ordered by tonnage typically comes in irregular sizes and shapes. Smaller stones and thin pieces fill gaps between larger stones and provide more complete coverage.

## Area Coverage by Stone Type

The most common types of stone used for construction and landscaping projects include:

- Granite – 165-175 lbs per cubic foot
- Limestone – 165 lbs per cubic foot
- Sandstone – 144 lbs per cubic foot
- Slate – 175 lbs per cubic foot
- Bluestone – 144 lbs per cubic foot
- Quartzite – 165 lbs per cubic foot
- Travertine – 150 lbs per cubic foot

As you can see, stone densities range from about 144-175 pounds per cubic foot on average. Granite, limestone, and slate tend to be the densest at 175 pounds per cubic foot, while sandstone and bluestone are lighter at 144 pounds per cubic foot.

### Granite

With a density of 165-175 pounds per cubic foot, one ton of granite (2,000 lbs) yields around 11-12 cubic feet of stone.

### Limestone

Limestone has a consistent density of 165 pounds per cubic foot. A ton of limestone equals about 12 cubic feet of material (2,000 lbs / 165 lbs/cu ft = 12 cu ft).

### Sandstone

Sandstone averages around 144 pounds per cubic foot. A ton of sandstone equals approximately 14 cubic feet (2,000 lbs / 144 lbs/cu ft = 14 cu ft).

### Slate

Slate is very dense at 175 pounds per cubic foot. One ton of slate converts to roughly 11 cubic feet (2,000 lbs / 175 lbs/cu ft = 11 cu ft).

### Bluestone

With a lighter density of 144 pounds per cubic foot, a ton of bluestone converts to 14 cubic feet (2,000 lbs / 144 lbs/cu ft = 14 cu ft).

### Quartzite

Quartzite has a typical density of 165 pounds per cubic foot. A ton of quartzite works out to about 12 cubic feet (2,000 lbs / 165 lbs/cu ft = 12 cu ft).

### Travertine

Travertine weighs around 150 pounds per cubic foot. A ton of travertine equals 13 cubic feet (2,000 lbs / 150 lbs/cu ft = 13 cu ft).

## Coverage Area by Stone Thickness

Once you know the cubic feet of stone for each ton, you can calculate the coverage area based on thickness:

### 1 inch thickness:

- Granite – 100-108 sq ft per ton
- Limestone – 100 sq ft per ton
- Sandstone – 117 sq ft per ton
- Slate – 108 sq ft per ton
- Bluestone – 117 sq ft per ton
- Quartzite – 100 sq ft per ton
- Travertine – 108 sq ft per ton

### 2 inch thickness:

- Granite – 50-54 sq ft per ton
- Limestone – 50 sq ft per ton
- Sandstone – 59 sq ft per ton
- Slate – 54 sq ft per ton
- Bluestone – 59 sq ft per ton
- Quartzite – 50 sq ft per ton
- Travertine – 54 sq ft per ton

### 3 inch thickness:

- Granite – 33-36 sq ft per ton
- Limestone – 33 sq ft per ton
- Sandstone – 39 sq ft per ton
- Slate – 36 sq ft per ton
- Bluestone – 39 sq ft per ton
- Quartzite – 33 sq ft per ton
- Travertine – 36 sq ft per ton

### 4 inch thickness:

- Granite – 25-27 sq ft per ton
- Limestone – 25 sq ft per ton
- Sandstone – 30 sq ft per ton
- Slate – 27 sq ft per ton
- Bluestone – 30 sq ft per ton
- Quartzite – 25 sq ft per ton
- Travertine – 27 sq ft per ton

As you can see, coverage area decreases significantly as stone thickness increases. A 1 inch thick layer of stone covers nearly twice the area of a 2 inch layer from the same tonnage.

## Stone Coverage Guidelines

Knowing the area coverage per ton of various stone types and thicknesses allows you to accurately estimate how much stone you need for a project. Here are some typical stone coverage guidelines:

### Stone patios:

Stone patios are generally 4 inches thick. Allow for 25-30 square feet of coverage per ton depending on the stone type. Add 10-15% for cutting waste.

### Stone walkways:

Walkways can be 3-4 inches thick. Estimate 30-40 square feet of coverage per ton of stone. Add extra for irregular shapes.

### Stone walls:

Stone walls thicker than 4 inches use more stone per square foot. Estimate 15-25 square feet per ton for freestanding walls.

### Stone veneer:

With a 1 inch thickness, veneer yields 100+ square feet per ton. Granite, limestone, and slate cover 100-108 square feet per ton.

### Stone borders:

Borders around gardens and landscaping are often 6-12 inches wide. Allow for 50-100 linear feet of coverage per ton.

### Stone steps:

Steps require thicker stone, around 4 inches. Estimate 8-12 linear feet of step coverage per ton depending on tread depth.

These coverage estimates provide a good starting point when figuring out how much stone you need for your project. The actual amount can vary based on stone size, thickness, and cutting waste. It’s always smart to order 5-10% extra stone to be safe.

## How to Calculate Coverage for Your Project

Here is a simple process for calculating the number of tons needed for your specific project:

1. Determine the square footage of the area being covered in stone. Measure length x width to get the total square footage.

2. Decide on the thickness of the stone layer – common depths are 1″, 2″, 3″ or 4″.

3. Identify the type of stone you plan to use. Lookup the coverage area per ton for that thickness and stone type.

4. Divide the total square footage by the coverage per ton to estimate the number of tons needed.

5. Add 5-15% extra for cutting waste and irregular shapes.

6. Round up to the next whole ton to determine the total tons to purchase.

Let’s look at an example:

Say you are building a bluestone patio that is 20 ft x 24 ft, with a 4 inch thick layer of stone. That’s a total area of 480 sq ft (20 x 24). From our coverage info, 4″ bluestone covers around 30 sq ft per ton.

480 sq ft divided by 30 sq ft per ton = 16 tons

Add 10% waste factor: 16 tons x 1.1 = 17.6 tons

Round up to 18 tons for the project estimate.

This process allows you to accurately calculate stone needs for any project based on the specifics of your design.

## Factors that Impact Stone Coverage

When estimating stone coverage, there are several variables that can increase or decrease the actual area covered:

### Stone size variation

Stone ordered by weight includes a variety of sizes from small filler stones to larger blocks. This blend maximizes coverage compared to uniform sizing.

### Stone shape

Irregular, angular stones fill gaps more efficiently than precisely cut units. Tumbled or hand-cut stone provides better coverage per ton than dimensional, machine-cut stone.

### Joint width

Wider joints between stones require more material to cover the same area. Typical joint spacing is 1/4″-1/2″ for stone installations.

### Cutting and waste

The more detailed the stonework, the higher the percentage of waste produced from cutting stones to fit shapes. Estimate waste factor based on project complexity.

### Stone thickness

Consistency in thickness is important. Thicker areas use more stone per square foot while thinner spots have higher coverage per ton.

### Installation method

Mortared stone provides the best coverage but is more labor intensive. Dry laid stone is easier to install but uses more stone per square foot.

Being aware of these factors can help you determine accurate stone needs for your unique project requirements.

## Cost per Ton of Various Stone Types

In addition to coverage, stone weight and type also impact the material costs for a project. Here are typical price ranges per ton of common stone varieties:

Stone Type | Cost per Ton |

Granite | $60 – $300 |

Limestone | $60 – $200 |

Sandstone | $60 – $120 |

Slate | $80 – $200 |

Bluestone | $70 – $150 |

Quartzite | $70 – $200 |

Travertine | $70 – $150 |

As you can see, stone prices cover a wide range depending on source, popularity, quality and other factors. More expensive granite and limestone cost $200 per ton on average, while affordable options like sandstone can cost as little as $60 per ton.

When estimating your project budget, be sure to obtain stone pricing from local suppliers to accurately estimate material costs. Prices vary by region and distributor.

## Tips for Maximizing Stone Coverage

Here are some useful tips to help you stretch each ton of stone further across your project:

– Use irregularly shaped stones for a tighter fit

– Choose thin stone for veneers and larger thick stones for structural elements

– Allow for wide joints if you want more spacing between stones

– Create transitions between thicker and thinner areas rather than uniform depth

– Use a structured pattern with precise stone cuts to minimize waste

– Plan shapes and dimensions to utilize off cuts from other areas

– Stockpile cutoffs and fragments to fill smaller gaps later

– Consider alternative edging materials to maximize stone use in main areas

– Install stone in a mortared application for minimal gaps rather than dry laid

A thoughtful design and strategic installation process allows you to gain more coverage from each ton of stone material. Prior planning makes the best use of your stone investment.

## Conclusion

Determining the amount of area a ton of stone covers is an essential step for accurate project estimating and planning. With the stone coverage guidelines and area calculators provided above, you can confidently estimate how many tons of stone you need for patios, walls, veneers, walkways and other projects. Understanding stone density, thickness, waste factors and cost per ton allows you to create a realistic budget and material requirements for your unique project vision.