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What is Crusher Dust (Cracker Dust)?

Wondering exactly what crusher dust is and whether it will work for your project?

Crusher dust is a very versatile material that can be used for lots of different landscaping jobs.

We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the world of crusher dust and learn more about it so that you can make an informed decision.

What is crusher dust?

Crusher dust is a grey powder, made of finely crushed rock or concrete.

As described here, “Crusher dust is the dust that is leftover from concrete recycling when rocks are being crushed. While rocks are going through the crusher, tiny pieces of rock and dust particles are left behind.”

This product is usually a by-product of rock or concrete recycling and is also known as quarry dust, rock dust, stone dust or cracker dust.

Crusher Dust can be used for various compacting and stabilising purposes, such as under pavers, driveways, walkways, and patios.

What is crusher dust used for?

Crusher dust has a wide range of uses including:

  • As a base and subbase material for construction
  • Under the foundations of patios and paths to improve drainage
  • As a base for artificial grass
  • Under concrete pavers
  • Around driveways
  • Under concrete slabs
  • In retaining walls
  • Shed bases
  • Fill for fence posts
  • Mixed with cement
  • Around water tanks

How to lay crusher dust

Crusher dust pavers 3 | Building & Landscaping Materials

The application method for crusher dust will depend on the type of job and the amount of crusher dust you are using.

For smaller projects, you may be able to get away with a wheelbarrow, a rake, and a vibrating plate or roller. A string line can also come in handy to ensure that you are creating a level surface.

For larger jobs, Masterhire recommends “you use a mini loader with a bucket to move large amounts of crusher dust around your job site.”

They also recommend wetting the crusher dust, which allows for firmer compaction and results in less dust in the air.

Finally, they recommend using a “vibrating plate to further compact the partials together (depending on the area you are compacting you may need a larger machine, even consider hiring a smooth drum roller). You will need to go over the same area multiple times to achieve your desired level of compaction.”

Is crusher dust compactable?

Crusher dust varies from product to product and some will be compact better than others.

To be compactable, the crusher dust will need to consist of materials of different sizes. Road base will usually compact better than crusher dust.

You can use a plate compactor to help make it more solid.

Be sure to wear proper protective clothing because it can get very messy, especially when it’s not wet.

What is crusher dust made from?

Crusher dust pavers 1 | Building & Landscaping Materials

Crusher dust is a fine material produced as a byproduct of the rock-crushing process.

According to Serbu, it is “a combination of small, gritty pieces of rock and dust, though it typically has more dust than gritty pieces.”

They also say that this material is beneficial to use in landscaping because “it contains many minerals that are not water-soluble. Nearby plants and trees can easily absorb these minerals.”

Is crusher dust good for driveways?

Crusher dust is sometimes recommended as a base to use for driveway construction.

However, road base is the preferred material for this application. Road base is a mixture of bitumen, sand, decomposed granite, and crushed gravel or limestone.

As explained by iseekplant, “Road base is used as the foundation of roads and driveways, which is laid and compacted into a smooth surface.”

Crusher dust is more commonly used for pavers and pathways.

Is crusher dust good for under pavers?

Crusher dust is generally considered a great product for levelling out areas before you install new pavers, slabs or stones.

However, sometimes crusher dust will be too fine to be used as the sole layer under pavers, as described in the video below:

Is crusher dust good for drainage?

Crusher dust is becoming a popular landscaping solution, with many benefits.

However, it is important that the product you choose has drainage properties that will suit your application.

As mentioned earlier, crusher dust will vary between suppliers, and finer dust is not going to drain as well as coarser material.

For example, Preston Landscape Supplies says their Cracker Dust is “known for its optimal drainage properties.”

And Moreton Bay Recycling says “recycled concrete aggregates offer an affordable solution that you can use in nearly any drainage project”.

They also comment that before “re-laying your concrete or pavers, use crusher dust as your base. Because it’s a non-porous material when compacted, crusher dust will stop water from seeping underneath your driveway, reducing concrete shrinking, waterlogging, and water damage.”

On the other hand, this article states that stone dust “drains poorly, which is a problem in climates that receive a high amount of rainfall.”

Be sure to check the drainage properties of the material before purchasing if this is important for your project.

Can you mix crusher dust and cement?

According to Redback Landscape Supplies, crusher dust “can be used alone or mixed with dry cement powder.”

And this study found that “100% replacement of sand with crusher dust as fine aggregates gives increased compressive, split tensile and flexural strength” and that “crusher dust can be used in place of sand yielding concrete of increased strength than that of conventional concrete.”

However, keep in mind that crusher dust, or stone dust, changes the make-up of your concrete mix, which may lead to it being less workable or compromise its strength.

How much does crusher dust cost?

Crusher dust typically costs between $40 and $90 per cubic metre.

When selecting the right supplier for your crusher dust requirements, be sure to factor in delivery charges if you aren’t located close by.

If possible, request quotes from different suppliers so you can find out exactly how much you can expect to pay.

Crusher dust vs road base

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There are two kinds of base commonly used for pavers, driveways, and paths: road base and crusher dust.

  • Road base is a mixture of bitumen, sand, decomposed granite, and crushed gravel or limestone.
  • Crusher dust is made up of rock. It is usually left over from concrete recycling.

When choosing between the two, road base generally contains a wider range of sizes so will compact better than crusher dust or sand.

However, road base is generally more expensive than crusher dust.

Crusher dust vs sand

Both sand and crusher dust are considered to be good materials for creating a base for pavers.

In this guide from Boral, they recommend using a bed of coarse-washed river sand followed by a base layer of road base or crushed rock.

Crusher dust for your garden

You may have heard that adding crusher dust on top of your soil can help it retain moisture better during dry periods.

This is because the particles trap water inside their structure and stop it from evaporating into the air, acting as a form of mulch.

Using crusher dust in this way can help keep plants alive even when they aren’t getting enough water naturally through rain or irrigation systems.

This saves on watering requirements and provides healthy conditions for your plants during dry periods.

FAQ

Do you wet crusher dust before compacting?

Wetting the crusher dust before you compact it will stop it from blowing away and allow you to compact it more effectively.

Where to buy crusher dust in Australia?

You can easily find crusher dust for sale in your local hardware store. However, if you want to buy it in bulk volumes at an affordable price, it is best to order it online directly from a manufacturer.

Does Bunnings sell crusher dust?

Yes, Bunnings sells crusher dust. At the time of writing, products in stock include: Bastion Aggregate Crusher Dust, Ki Carma Road Base, Mother Earth Concrete Sand, Brunnings Landscape Paver Sand

Is crusher dust the same as cracker dust?

Cracker dust and crusher dust are the same things. There are a few other terms for this type of product, including blue metal dust, cracker dust, quarry sand and some others. Despite the different names, it’s all the same thing: crusher dust.

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Steve Kropp

Based in Melbourne, Steve's passion is vegetable gardening, and he’s been writing about it for almost 5 years. He also loves all things DIY and is always looking for a new project. When not working on his own garden projects or blogging, Steve enjoys spending time with his family, cooking meals with produce harvested from his garden, and coaching his son’s footy team.

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