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What is Builder's Sand and What is it Used For?

Builder’s sand is one of the most commonly used construction materials around, but not everyone knows what it is or what the distinction is between the different types of sand in general. Here, we will be explaining what builder’s sand is, what it is used for, and what other types of sand you may find a use for in your building or DIY projects.

What is builder’s sand?

Builder’s sand, also known as plasterer’s, bricklayer’s or mason sand, is soft sand used for a range of building and construction applications.

Builder’s sand is usually found in riverbeds, lakes, ocean floors and beaches, formed over thousands of years, and is composed of silica from decomposed pieces of rock, coral, minerals, and shell, with the exact composition and colour depending on the local rock sources. The end result is soft, angular sand that interlocks well, making it especially useful in building applications.

Builder’s sand is different to sharp sand, as builder’s sand is less coarse, with a finer grade and smaller granules. Builder’s sand is also more likely to be free of unwanted additives.

What is builder’s sand used for?

Builder’s sand has a range of applications but is primarily used to provide bulk and strength to other construction materials due to its flexibility and smooth application. Builder’s sand can be mixed with water and cement to make concrete or a mortar that is perfect for bricklaying, as well as pointing applications.

Builder’s sand and the construction materials it helps to create can be used for a huge range of building applications, such as laying patios, block paving and concrete paving, plastering and rendering work, bedding pond liners, and many other general building processes.

What other types of sand can be used for building projects?

Washed sand – Washed sand refers to sand that has been washed to remove impurities such as clay, silt, and dust. Washed sand is often used for jointing, rendering and external plastering due to its smooth texture. Double washed sand has had all contaminants removed, and is used in recreational applications, such as children’s sandpits and golf bunkers.

Sharp/grit sand – as mentioned above, sharp sand is made from larger, more jagged aggregate granules than builder’s sand. Sharp sand can be used to mix concrete, floor screed, and for mixing strong mortars that don’t need to be as workable as those made with builder’s sand (such as when laying block paving or flagstones).

Dry Pavior Sand – this very fine type of sand (also known as paver sand or block filling sand), is composed of kiln-dried silica sand and is used to fill small joints between paving slabs, providing a close bond and preventing the growth of weeds.

Now that you’re better informed on what builder’s sand is and how to use it, is it time to start that DIY or building project you’ve been putting off? You can read more about the sands and aggregates we stock here or, to discuss an order, please contact us.


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