Concrete Ballast Calculator & Ratio Help

Concrete cutting machine are cutting concrete floor using cast water to reduce dust spread.

Ballast is an important aggregate that you will often use when working with cement. A ballast mix is useful for building sturdy concrete floors that form garden paths, shed foundations and other types of structures that require a strong surface. We have provided a handy formula to use as a concrete ballast calculator below:

  1. Calculate the volume: The first step is to figure out the volume of your floor area, which will be length (l) x width (w) x depth (d). So, if you have a 1 metre long, 1 metre wide and 2-metre deep area, the 1 x 1 x 2 formula gives you 2 cubic metres.
  2. Determine how much ballast you need: As a general rule, you can assume about 1,750 kg to 1,800 kg of ballast per metre squared. So, for 2 cubic metres, you will need 3,500 kg of ballast. Ballast is relatively inexpensive so buying extra can be helpful.
  3. Divide your ballast amount by bag size: The final step in our concrete ballast calculator is how many bags you will need. Take the amount of ballast you require and divide it by the size of the bag, so 3,500 kgs of ballast in 25 kg bags will work out to 140. 

It’s as simple as that! Working out the volume lets you estimate the amount of ballast you need (1,750 kg to 1,800 kg per metre squared) and that number will tell you how many bags you should buy. Ballast is a low-cost, easy-to-use and coarse aggregate that can help to bulk out concrete and provide a firm foundation for various structures, so you may use it often!

Of course, when using our formula or your own concrete ballast calculator you will need to account for waste, too. An extra 5% is a good rule of thumb, but 10% will ensure you never run out.
We can calculate the precise amount of ballast mix, concrete mix, or any other materials you will need for a high-quality floor, as well as install it to the best standards anywhere in the UK. Get in touch with us for a fast and accurate quote today.

Tips for Concrete Ballast Mixes

Timber formwork with metal reinforcement to create a concrete foundation

You can easily create reliable concrete ballast mixes for use in a variety of construction projects. However, aside from how much ballast you might need, one of the key parts of a successful project is finding the right concrete ballast mix ratio. You need a suitable ballast-to-cement ratio for the type of floor or other structure you are pouring.

There are several different concrete ballast mixes you can choose from, such as:

  • 1 to 5: A ratio of one part cement to five parts ballast is common for ordinary paths and paving slabs or concrete panels. This is a ballast mix that people use for its watertight properties, which you will certainly need when building walls using concrete panels.
  • 1 to 6: If you want a more solid surface, such as for a driveway, garage or another area that will experience significant weight and pressure, a ratio of one part cement and six parts ballast is a better option. This is also a good ballast mix ratio for patios and pathways.
  • 1 to 8: A ratio of one part cement to eight parts ballast will give you the hardness you need for foundation-strength concrete. 1 to 8 ratios will be necessary for things such as shed foundations and other structures that will be built upon after pouring the ballast.

It is vitally important to choose the right ratio for the job you have to complete, or you could end up wasting the cement and ballast unnecessarily. You can also use things like reinforcing bars in the concrete to help achieve the desired strength, so it is not all about your cement mix ratio.

As cement is the binding agent that sticks your concrete mix together, the quality of both the cement and ballast needs to be high. Loose ballast, unsuitable mix ratios and other problems with quality can result in concrete surfaces that are not fit for purpose, or are even dangerous.

Get a Free Quote for a New Concrete Floor Installation

We will take all of the worries out of installing a new concrete floor for you and find the perfect type of coarse or fine aggregates to suit your needs. Our professional installation services are available with a wide range of floor finishing materials, including resin, epoxy and polyurethane.
Our team only ever uses the best materials for any particular project, whether they need a ballast mix for concrete or anything else, so we understand how helpful it is to have a concrete ballast calculator method while on site.  Contact us for a fast quote on a new concrete floor today.

FAQs and Useful Information

Below, we’ve answered some common questions about ballast, concrete and the services we provide:

No. Concrete is simply the result of mixing an aggregate material, such as ballast, with cement and water. It is also possible to lay ballast or another aggregate before pouring a mix of concrete over this layer, which gives the surface a bit more stability and a much thicker layer for the mix to bond onto. Ballast and cement are not the same as concrete but they may both be a component of it, and you will mix them to form concrete after the mixture dries.

Mixing concrete is all about the ratios. 1 to 5, 1 to 6 or 1 to 8 ratio mixes (concrete to ballast) are very common in many types of construction, including concrete walls, floors and foundational structures. Your ballast will always make up the largest amount of your mixture compared to the cement; cement is simply the ‘glue’ that holds the aggregate materials together in a strong, watertight block.

Ballast is simply a mix of sand and other aggregate materials, such as gravel. These materials are mixed with cement in the appropriate ratio before being poured into the foundations of a building or another type of concrete structure, such as a path or driveway. Ballast is a support structure that provides stability – sort of like how the packaging inside a cardboard box uses different densities of material to achieve its strength. Only with concrete ballast, it is much, much stronger!

Yes, there are a few other types of ballast. For example, a special track ballast is used on railways to provide sturdy support for the sleepers and lines of track. The ballast can support a moving carriage by bearing the load of the trains and helping with drainage. This is a type of ballast that uses different materials and is not mixed for use with cement during construction.

The term ‘ballast’ is also a nautical term and refers to anything that provides stability and balance to a vehicle. For example, ships, airships and hot air balloons have some form of ballast, typically water or a physical weight, for better balance and control during navigation. Many types of underwater creatures use the principle of taking on ballast weight for movement, too.

Get in touch with us if you would like to install a new concrete floor or have any further questions about our services.