Spike's Calculators


Swell and Shrinkage of Excavated Materials

Spike's Calculators

When building a house you are going to deal with 3 stages of the soil volume you are excavating.

Bank Volume, natural state of the soil.
Loose Volume, disturbed state of the soil.
Compacted Volume, volume of the soil after it is compacted.

The change from bank to loose volume is the swell of the excavated material
The change from bank to compacted is the shrink of the excavated material


If you need to remove the excavated material it would help to know the swell percentage for the soil you are excavating. The volume of excavated soil will increase from its natural state(bank) to its disturbed state (loose). Excavating soil and piling it up will loosen it and the volume will increase due to void spaces/air pockets added to the material. If you are excavating an area with a volume of 200 cubic yards consisting of material with a 40% swell, you are actually looking at removing 280 cubic yards. At an average of 12 cubic yards hauling capacity of a truck, you are looking at an additional 6 to 7 truck loads. With larger excavations the cost due to swell can be significant and will add to your needed excavating budget.

The shrink percentage of the soil is useful for determining the amount of material that you need to keep on site for grading and back filling. If the 200 cubic yards of material had a shrink percentage of -10 and you would need to grade or back fill an area with a volume of 90 cubic yards then you would need to keep 100 cubic yards in bank volume of the material and now you would have to haul 140 cubic yards of site.

Length of Excavation ft
Width of Excavation ft
Depth of Excavation ft inch
Swell of Material %
Shrinkage of Material %
Material Needed on Site yd³
Truck Hauling Capacity yd³


Bank Volume of Material yd³
Loose Volume of Material yd³
Compacted Volume of Material yd³
Number of Truck Loads #

The Calculator

  1. enter the length of the excavation(feet)
  2. enter the width of the excavation (feet)
  3. enter the excavation depth (feet and inches)for uneven depth calculate the average depth
  4. swell of material (in percentage)
  5. shrinkage of material (in percentage)
  6. the amount of material that you can use on site and will be compacted(if needed, in cubic yards)
  7. the amount of material one truckload can hold (in cubic yards)

The Results

  1. bank volume of material that needs to be excavated in cubic yards
  2. loose volume of excavated material in cubic yards
  3. compacted volume of material in cubic yards
  4. the number of truck loads it will take to remove not needed material of site. It will round off the number of loads to the highest number and you could end up with small amount of material in the final truck load.
MaterialSwell/Bulking % Shrink %Source
Adobe 35 -10 Church (1981)
Andesite6743(FHWA 2007)
Andesite6733Church (1981)
Ashes, Coal33-50Church (1981)
Basalt6436(FHWA 2007)
Basalt6436Church (1981)
Basalt6035Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Basalt 6436Durham University Community
Breccia3327(FHWA 2007)
Breccia3327Church (1981)
Caliche16-25(FHWA 2007)
Caliche16-25Church (1981)
Chalk5033(FHWA 2007)
Chalk5033Church (1981)
Chalk50-3Durham University Community
Cinders33-10(FHWA 2007)
Cinders33-10Church (1981)
Clay (High Pi)40-11Durham University Community
Clay Damp67-10(FHWA 2007)
Clay, Damp40-10Church (1981)
Clay, Damp40-10Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Clay, Dry50-10(FHWA 2007)
Clay, Dry35-10Church (1981)
Clay, Dry35-10Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Clayey Silt or Clay30-10BCFS 1995
Clayey Silt Or Clay 30-9BCFS 1995
Clean sand12-5BCFS 1995
Common Sand25-10BCFS 1995
Concrete, Cinder7233Church (1981)
Concrete, Cyclopean7233Church (1981)
Concrete, Stone7233Church (1981)
Concrete, Stone7233Church (1981)
Conglomerate33-8Church (1981)
Decomposed Rock 25%R 75%E43-9(FHWA 2007)
Decomposed Rock 25%R 75%E26-8Church (1981)
Decomposed Rock 50%R 50%E38-6(FHWA 2007)
Decomposed Rock 50%R 50%E29-5Church (1981)
Decomposed Rock 75%R 25%E3112(FHWA 2007)
Decomposed Rock 75%R 25%E25-12Church (1981)
Dense Clay33 to 40-25Earth Moving Fundamentals
Diabase6733Church (1981)
Diorite6743(FHWA 2007)
Diorite6733Church (1981)
Dolomite6743(FHWA 2007)
Dolomite6743Church (1981)
Earth Rock Mix, 25%R 75%E2512Church (1981)
Earth Rock Mix, 50%R 50%E29-5Church (1981)
Earth Rock Mix, 75%R 25%E26-8Church (1981)
Earth, Common 25-20Earth Moving Fundamentals
Earth, Loam Damp40-4Church (1981)
Earth, Loam Dry50-12(FHWA 2007)
Earth, Loam Dry35-12Church (1981)
Earth, Loam Wet Mud0-20Church (1981)
Earth, Loam, Damp43-4(FHWA 2007)
Earth, Loam, Wet, Mud0-20(FHWA 2007)
Feldspar6743(FHWA 2007)
Feldspar6733Church (1981)
Felsite6733Church (1981)
Gabbro6743(FHWA 2007)
Gabbro6733Church (1981)
Gneiss6743(FHWA 2007)
Gneiss6733Church (1981)
Gob, Mining Refuse0-20Church (1981)
Granite7243(FHWA 2007)
Granite7233Church (1981)
Granite7233Durham University Community
Granite 7228Alaska Dot, 1983
Gravel5-3Durham University Community
Gravel, Average Graduation, Dry15-7Church (1981)
Gravel, Average Graduation, Wet5-3Church (1981)
Gravel, Dry15-7Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Gravel, Dry, Average Graduation20-8(FHWA 2007)
Gravel, Dry, Uniformly Graded10-5(FHWA 2007)
Gravel, Dry, Well Graded33-11(FHWA 2007)
Gravel, Pit Run8-4Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Gravel, Sandy 5-7Alaska Dot, 1983
Gravel, Wet5-3Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Gravel, Wet, Average Graduation10-2(FHWA 2007)
Gravel, Wet, Uniformly Graded5-5(FHWA 2007)
Gravel, Wet, Well Graded16-1(FHWA 2007)
Gumbo, Dry50-10(FHWA 2007)
Gumbo, Dry50-10Church (1981)
Gumbo, Wet67-10(FHWA 2007)
Gumbo, Wet67-10Church (1981)
Hard Pan250BCFS 1995
Hard Pan 250BCFS 1995
Ingeous Rocks6743(FHWA 2007)
Limestone6336(FHWA 2007)
Limestone6331Alaska Dot, 1983
Limestone6336Church (1981)
Limestone6336Durham University Community
Loam and Loamy Sand15 to 20-17Earth Moving Fundamentals
Loam, Earth, Damp40-4Church (1981)
Loam, Earth, Dry35-12Church (1981)
Loam, Earth, Wet, Mud0-20Church (1981)
Loess35-25Alaska Dot, 1983
Loess, Dry50-10(FHWA 2007)
Loess, Dry35-10Church (1981)
Loess, Wet67-10(FHWA 2007)
Loess, Wet40-10Church (1981)
Marble6743(FHWA 2007)
Marble6733Church (1981)
Marl6743(FHWA 2007)
Marl6733Church (1981)
Masonry, Rubble6743(FHWA 2007)
Masonry, Rubble6733Church (1981)
Mud0-20Church (1981)
Mud20-15Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Pavement, Asphalt500(FHWA 2007)
Pavement, Asphalt500Church (1981)
Pavement, Brick6743(FHWA 2007)
Pavement, Brick6733Church (1981)
Pavement, Concrete6743(FHWA 2007)
Pavement, Concrete6733Church (1981)
Pavement, Macadam670(FHWA 2007)
Pavement, Macadam670Church (1981)
Pavement, Wood Block7233Church (1981)
Porphyry6733Church (1981)
Quartz6743(FHWA 2007)
Quartz6733Church (1981)
Quartzite6743(FHWA 2007)
Quartzite6733Church (1981)
Rhyolite6743(FHWA 2007)
Rhyolite6733Church (1981)
Riprap Rock7243(FHWA 2007)
Riprap Rock, Average7243Church (1981)
Rock/Earth 25%R/75%E26-8Alaska Dot, 1983
Rock/Earth 50%R/50%E29-5Alaska Dot, 1983
Rock/Earth 75%R/25%E2512Alaska Dot, 1983
Sand5-12Durham University Community
Sand 5 -11Alaska Dot, 1983
Sand Or Gravel, Dry, Clean12 to 14-12Earth Moving Fundamentals
Sand Or Gravel, Wet, Clean 12 to 16-14Earth Moving Fundamentals
Sand, Average Graduation, Dry11-11Church (1981)
Sand, Average Graduation,Wet5-11Church (1981)
Sand, Clean 12-5BCFS 1995
Sand, Common 25-10BCFS 1995
Sand, Dry11-11(FHWA 2007)
Sand, Dry10-10Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Sand, Wet5-11(FHWA 2007)
Sand, Wet5-10Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Sandstone6134(FHWA 2007)
Sandstone6134Church (1981)
Sandstone 6129Alaska Dot, 1983
Sandstone (Cemented)6134Durham University Community
Schist6743(FHWA 2007)
Schist6733Church (1981)
Shale7949(FHWA 2007)
Shale36-17(FHWA 2007)
Shale5033Church (1981)
Shale-Siliceous4025Alaska Dot, 1983
Shales5033Durham University Community
Silt35-20Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Silt 35-17Alaska Dot, 1983
Silt 36-17Church (1981)
Siltstone61-11(FHWA 2007)
Siltstone459Alaska Dot, 1983
Siltstone61-11Church (1981)
Slag, Furnace9865Church (1981)
Slag, Sand11-11Church (1981)
Slate7743(FHWA 2007)
Slate7733Church (1981)
Syenite6733Church (1981)
Talc6743(FHWA 2007)
Tale6733Church (1981)
Topsoil56-26(FHWA 2007)
Topsoil56-26Church (1981)
Topsoil55-25Quality Control In Earthwork Operations
Trachyte6733Church (1981)
Trap Rock, Igneous Rocks6733Church (1981)
Trash-50Church (1981)
Tuff5033(FHWA 2007)
Tuff5033Church (1981)
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