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Choosing the Right Sand

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Choosing the right sand for your building project

Aggregates are the granular materials that are added to a compound to provide support, so that it can be used in different types of building projects. There are many different forms of aggregates, all with a wide range of uses… so it is therefore important to be aware of where each type of material is best utilized.

This blog will focus on sand as an aggregate, and how to know which sand is the most suitable to use in your building project.


Building Sand

Building sand is fine ungraded sand, with an admixture of silt and clay. It has a high water demand as an aggregate, and therefore is most useful when mixed with water and cement to make mortar for laying bricks/blocks.


Plastering Sand

Plastering sand is very fine, and can be mixed with cement and water to produce a render which can be used as an undercoat for plaster, or as an exterior coating. Plastering sand without silt should be used for rendering, as the silt will otherwise fill the voids in place of the binder, resulting in weak plasters


Sharp Sand

Sharp sand is a clean, washed river sand that is very coarse with large particles. It is used in mixing concrete and can also be used to mix a tough, extremely hard mortar which is useful for laying paving stones and patio slabs, and for laying foundations.


Kiln-dried silver sand

Kiln-dried sand is used in grouting the joints between exterior paving or patio slabs. This is because it has minimal clay content and therefore good stability, and it contains silicon dioxide so enables a close and tight bond. It’s dryness as an aggregate also means that the compound will be less sticky when it is added; so it is easier to fill small spaces.



Brick Works: fine modulus of fine sand should be used (1.2 to 1.5).

Plastering Works: fine modulus of fine sand should be used (not more than 1.5).

Concreting Works: coarse sand should be used (with finest modulus 2.5 to 3.5).

Silt content should never be more than 4% in any sand aggregate as the building project will otherwise be made unstable.

To access affordable sand aggregate for your building project, or to find out more information on the types of sands that are most suitable for your needs… visit Witchurch builders in store, or view our website online at