Pathway Material Technical Data

Quality Control 101: What Is a Sieve Analysis and Why Does It Matter?

When selecting aggregate for commercial use, there are a number of tests the product goes through to evaluate its suitability for a certain application. Among these tests is a sieve analysis. A sieve analysis helps companies to evaluate aggregate for use as a quality product in pathway mixes, architectural and decorative precast concrete, epoxy resin applications, epoxy overlay, and much more. We’ve put together a quick summary that highlights the significance of sieve analysis and why it matters to the aggregate industry.   

Evaluating Aggregates for Their Intended Uses

The practice of sieve analysis is especially important for the performance of aggregates in their intended uses. Each of these uses will require a specific size or gradation of aggregate, including the percentage of material allowed for each sieve size in the gradation. This can be critical for the strength of the material, compaction of the aggregate, and the visual aesthetic and surface area of the stone.In other words, the process of sieve analysis assists with the gradation of aggregates.

What Is Gradation in Sieve Analysis?

The gradation of aggregates is the distribution of aggregate particles, by size, within a given sample. The purpose of gradation in this capacity is to enable compatibility of the aggregate with product control requirements, designs, and verification specifications.

Gradation via sieve analysis works particularly well for aggregates because of the shapes of the stones and particles. Material that is not somewhat spherical—say, closer to cylindrical—may not lend to successful sieve analysis.

Sieve Analysis: Step by Step

The procedure of sieve analysis starts with the stacking of sieves, or screens, from the largest to the smallest size. Typically, the mesh of these sizes can range from 1 inch or 25.4 mm to what’s known as the “No. 400” or .037 mm of an opening.

Then, the bulk aggregate is placed carefully on the top sieve and the material is screened through the various sieves and subsequently become separated by size. Aggregates that couldn’t pass through a ⅜” sieve screen, for example, will stay in that sieve while the others pass through until they’re caught in the proper sieve. However, simply dumping your aggregate through sieves is not enough for accurate parsing – that’s what sifters are for.  

Sifting Methods

Depending on your machinery, sifting can be a relatively painless and time-saving process. Mechanical sieve shakers will shake the stacked sieves, causing each stone and particle to fall to its coinciding sieve screen. Note that there are different methods for sifting, common methods include:

  • Horizontal sifting: where the sieves are sifted in a horizontal motion
  • Throw-action: a sieve method whereby vertical force combined with circular motions is applied
  • Air jet: uses a vacuum or other means of creating an air stream to transport and separate finer particles
  • Tap: circular, horizontal motions with frequent tapping  
  • Wet: uses water to support the sieving process, but is a far less common practice than the traditional dry methods  

Once sifted, each sized aggregate is weighed and noted as a percentage of the overall sample—that is, the percent of aggregate retained per sieve is noted as well as the percentage passed through that size (known as the passing aggregate). These details are then recorded, and the quality aggregate is sent for distribution where it will then await its new home. 

An Example: How to Read a Sieve Analysis

In general, specialty crushed stone products must have consistent sizes and fall within acceptable tolerances. For a real-life example of the sieve test as it relates to Kafka’s quality control, we’ll unpack the sieve tests as they pertain to our stabilized pathway mix.

Kafka Granite’s Stabilized Pathway Mix must adhere to specifications as outlined by the binder manufacturer, Organic-Lock.  With the gradation specification, there is an acceptable range and distribution of particle sizes that is to exist within the stone sample. While each sample and sieve will vary slightly, it’s vital that the samples for stabilized pathway mix fall within this range because a success ensures one of two things: the pathway mix is consistently well-graded, and it will compact properly.

Let’s take a closer look at the gradation specification for Stabilized Pathway Mix and how it works. First we must understand what U.S. Mesh sizing is. U.S. Mesh Sizing is defined as the number of openings per one square inch of a screen. Therefore, the larger the number, the smaller the screen size. The example below shows each sieve size translated to metric sizing, but you can also use a helpful screen size / sieve conversion chart

The first pass calls for 80-100% passing the #4 mesh screen. In other words, 80-100% of stone particles must fall through a #4 mesh screen. Then, 65-90% of the stone particles should pass through an #8 mesh screen. You can see the rest of the required pass percentages in the below table. Once you reach the bottom of the chart, you’ll see that 5-15% of the stone particles should fall through the #200 mesh screen, which is an extremely fine, dust-like material.. If this were a “clean” or “chip” aggregate, there would not be such fine material included in the mix. 

Sieve Sieve Size (mm) Percent Passing
4 4.75 80%-100%
8 2.36 65%-90%
16 1.18 40%-65%
30 0.6 25%-55%
50 0.3 15%-35%
100 0.15 10%-20%
200 0.075 5%-15%


It is important that the pathway mix meets the gradation requirement above; it is vital for the product’s functionality. In order for the binder to work properly, the surface to compact, and rain water to drain, the gradation must be consistent and within the defined tolerances.

This is, of course, just one of many sieve analyses we run at Kafka to check a product’s gradation, and only one of many tests used to analyze quality. Contact us to request a sieve analysis or other product information.

Galaxy Glitter and Ebony Glitter Thin Stone Veneer, and Starlight Black Granite Sills, Caps, Treads, Thermal Flagstone, Thermal-Top Steps, Hearth Stone, and Mantel.

New Home Building Spotlight: Pairing Natural Stone with a Modern Farmhouse Style

The modern farmhouse has been a new home trend for the last few years now, and the style shows no signs of slowing down. When you consider the farmhouse style, you likely think of typical features like a large family kitchen, an open and spacious porch, tall windows to fill the home with natural light, and nostalgic aesthetic designs that accentuate the style’s callback to a simpler time. The colors tend to be a simple, more neutral color palette with some natural color accents. And the homes are often built on a stretch of open greenery, providing ample opportunity for outdoor living created by dynamic and complementary natural stone hardscapes.

Architects and homeowners who want to give the modern farmhouse style an extra boost of that classic, yet upscale, appeal can look toward the various uses of natural stone in interior and exterior applications. While complimenting other natural products such as wood beams and shiplap, and providing a break in texture and color, the addition of stone products to your modern farmhouse design is one you won’t regret.

Incorporating Natural Thin Stone Veneer into the Farmhouse

Traditionally many farmhouses incorporated full stone veneer sourced from the surrounding fields. This look can be modernized and simplified with a much easier to install natural thin stone veneer. At less than 15 lbs per square foot, this product can easily ship throughout the country allowing you to source the perfect color and style for your project. It is an excellent choice for complementing the farmhouse style that’s both flexible in its uses and guaranteed to make a lasting impression.

Exterior Applications

When it comes to the home’s exterior, thin stone veneer may be used to bring the core organic elements of a farmhouse to the forefront. Thin stone veneer may be applied as the home’s façade feature and installed in lieu of siding or used as an accent for wainscoting or columns. Natural stone provides a beautiful contrast with metal roofs, a staple of the farmhouse style. Additionally, thin stone veneer can be used for a variety of applications around the property, including patios and outdoor kitchens, water features, and more, to tie your property together.

Interior Applications

It is a natural transition to bring the exterior stone selection inside for use in the fireplace or accent walls. With a wide range of cuts and colors available, you can also mix it up and choose a different stone inside to pair with interior design ideas, fixtures, and furniture.

Benefits of Natural Thin Stone Veneer

There are several benefits to thin stone veneer, especially when compared with full bed veneer. Perhaps most significant of its perks: this alternative veneer option may be installed without the need for support ledges or footings, greatly opening up the possibilities of where to take your natural stone accents. While the product is fabricated to be cut thin, which cuts down on transportation and labor costs, it still has the beauty and character of natural stone – which means no two pieces will be identical and the color is through and through. 

Outdoor Living at the Modern Farmhouse

There’s something about natural stone landscape projects that bring out the best in the farmhouse aesthetic. When you have a look at samples of modern designs, you’ll find that many of these homes don’t stop at the porch – outdoor living is an important part of the Modern Farmhouse Style.

Natural stone hardscapes bring unmatched beauty and functionality to landscapes and are perfect for the farmhouse style home. Kafka Granite offers the following hardscape products — available in Starlight Black Granite, Harvest Gold Sandstone, Sierra Granite, and Imperial Gray Granite — to create a showstopping addition to your outdoor living: 

Sawn Cut Drywall

A functional, yet desirable, outdoor oasis at your private residence may benefit from Kafka Granite’s 8” Sawn Cut Drywall. These solid stone retaining wall blocks are sawn to height, which enables a simpler installation and provides a sleek, yet natural, look. Kafka’s Sawn Cut Drywall is sure to add sophistication and elegance to dry stacked walls in your outdoor spaces.

Thermal-Top Steps

If you’re looking for steps with natural character to complement the farmhouse style landscape, look no further than Kafka’s Thermal-Top Steps. With a thermal top finish to provide necessary traction, these steps are a quality investment that will hold up against harsh weather conditions and maintain their integrity for decades. What’s more, while Kafka Thermal-Top Steps are sawn to height for installation efficiency and functionality, they are also rockfaced to accentuate the stone’s natural beauty and character.

Thermal Flagstone

Meander through your garden or enjoy a relaxing evening on your patio with the incorporation of Kafka Granite’s Thermal Flagstone. Available in four colors, Kafka’s Irregular and Pattern Flagstone have sawn heights with a ½” tolerance, which drastically cuts down on the installation time re-leveling. The thermal finish adds much needed traction, but also brings out the stone’s unique character and natural color. Kafka’s Thermal Flagstone is available as irregular shaped flagstone for a truly natural look, or in a sawn pattern option for a more sophisticated presence.

The Details Make the Difference

To truly tie your project together for a show stopping first impression, Kafka Granite also offers a variety of custom natural stone accents and accessories. Finish off your Thin Stone Veneer with a coordinating natural stone sill or cap, or include a natural stone hearth or mantle to take your fireplace to the next level. Kafka’s Natural Stone Sawn Edging can create the perfect border for your garden beds, while our custom cut treads can create a beautiful approach to your front door. With the inclusion of Kafka’s Natural Stone products, you will be welcomed home to a cohesive and enduring design for decades to come. 

Pair Your Farmhouse Style Project with Natural Stone from Kafka Granite

At Kafka, we source our natural stone from quarries throughout North America, and our product line is not limited to the products highlighted here. For over forty years, a wide variety of manufacturers, natural stone suppliers, and contractors have benefited from our quality products in a diverse range of residential and commercial projects. We will work with architects, contractors, and property owners to ensure our product meets the unique specifications that their project demands. Have questions? Give us a call or connect with us online today to learn more about our offerings.