Types of Sand Used in Construction

Sand is an important construction material. Not all sand is the same, and each types has its own purpose.  Sand used for construction must be clean and free of waste stones and other impurities.  It is an important construction component because it provides strength and sustaining ability.  

What is Sand?

Sand is a natural material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.  It can be found covering beaches, in riverbeds and in deserts throughout the world.  Though all classified as sand, it can come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.  The most common component of sand is silicon dioxide, which is usually in the form of quartz.  Wind and rain breaks down rocks into smaller pieces forming sand. Since quartz is hard, doesn’t decompose easily, and is insoluble in water, wind and rivers carry the sand until it accumulates.  Areas with a lot of quartz will have sand that is light colored and looks like the beach sand that is what most people think of when they picture sand.  Other areas that have little quartz such as tropical islands like Hawaii, will have sand of a different color.  Tropical islands often have sand that looks more white because it is composed of calcium carbonate which comes from the shells and skeletons of reef living organisms.  Bermuda’s famous pink sand is mostly calcium carbonate tinged with pink from the red foraminifera (a marine organism) that is common there. 

Types of Sand

There are three different types of naturally occurring sand based on the materials that it is formed by.  Sand can also be manufactured.  Different sand types include: 

  • Pit Sand. This sand is found in deposits in the soil.  It is excavated by forming pits in the soil at least 1 to 2 meters deep.  Pit sand is a reddish orange color,  angular and free of salt. Once separated from clay, other organic materials and a coating of iron oxide, this sand is perfect for mortar or concrete work.  
  • River Sand. This is sand removed from rivers, streams and banks.  It is made up of fine, round grains that are white-grey.  River sand is an all purpose sand that can be used in construction for plastering.  
  • Sea Sand (Beach Sand). This is sand taken from seashores.  It is also fine and round, but has a distinct brown color.  Since it is taken from the seashore, it contains salt.  The salt causes the sand to attract moisture and makes it unusable in construction.  
  • Artificial Sand. This sand is manufactured by crushing granite or basalt rock.  Since it is manufactured, it can be created based on IS codes and can be used instead of river sand for construction purposes. 

Size of Sand

Sand can also be differentiated by size of sand.  Smaller sand is considered fine, while larger particles are considered coarse. 

  • Fine Sand. Used for plastering. 
  • Medium Sand. Used for masonry work. 
  • Coarse Sand.  Used for concrete work. 

Properties of Quality Sand

No matter your construction project, you will want to use quality sand.  Each type of project uses a different type and size of sand, but it all requires clean, quality sand without impurities.  Quality sand is:

  • Clean
  • Free of Organic Material
  • Chemically Inert
  • Without Salt
  • Strong
  • Durable
  • Free of Clay and Silt

Buy Quality Sand Today!

Shoreline provides only the best sand available.  For your next construction project, buy your sand at Shoreline. Contact us today to learn about more of our quality products. 

*We do not deliver to residential customers.*

Shoreline Delivers

If you are looking for the right company that offers supply and transport for your construction business, contact Shoreline Aggregate today. Shoreline offers a wide selection of limestone, sand and gravel products for road construction, golf courses and sports field projects. We deliver aggregates throughout Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Quarries are strategically located for quick delivery and competitive pricing.