Sand is an essential component in most modern buildings. It’s used to create foundations, construct columns, make plasters, and more. What many consumers don’t realize is that there are actually many types of sand, each of which is used for particular applications.
Before so much as beginning to lay a foundation, property owners and contractors new to their professions should take the time to familiarize themselves with the different sizes and shapes of sand available. They range from fill sand to frac sand, mason sand, and beyond. Read on to find out about frac sand and other available options and get some helpful tips for choosing the right one.
Tip #1: Learn the Types of Sand
Sand is a fine aggregate derived from natural sources such as the beach or created by crushing rock into tiny granules. Each type of sand is derived from different source materials, with frac sand on the finer end of the spectrum usually composed primarily of quartz, which produces a durable, uniform grain and concrete sand from a combination of gneiss, trap rock, granite, and limestone.
The types of sand used in construction are typically coarser and slightly larger. Pit sand, river sand, and concrete sand all play important roles in construction in that they are all frequently used for concrete foundations and pads. Their non-uniform shape and larger size create stronger cement.
Tip #2: Understand the Applications
Don’t just buy a bunch of sand and assume that it will be a good fit for any project. Determine exactly which building applications will require sand in advance and purchase one or more of the varieties of sand described above to meet the project’s unique needs.
Mixing concrete is just one application for sand in a building project. Fill sand, an aggregate composed of grains of many shapes and sizes is perfect for raising areas that need filling in since it can be compacted and it drains better than many other varieties. For finishing work that requires plastering, mason’s sand offers a consistently fine grit and uniform shape that provides a smoother finish.
Tip #3: Choose a Reputable Supplier
The best way to ensure that the sand being used in a building project is the right coarseness and size is to find a reliable supplier. Work with a company that offers a variety of different sands and will offer detailed information about each of its products.
Some suppliers produce their own sand, while others purchase it from mines or manufacturers. Don’t be afraid to ask about the source of the sand and what kinds of testing its manufacturer uses to ensure consistent quality.
This is especially relevant when buying manufactured sand, or M-sand, which comes in a wide variety of gradations, colors, and levels of purity. Even natural sand should undergo batch testing for potential impurities and careful screening to ensure that it meets buyers’ specifications.
The Bottom Line
There are a lot of different varieties of sand out there and each has a different intended application. When choosing sand for a new construction project, project managers should be particular about where their sand is coming from and how its manufacturer has tested its quality. They should work with a supplier that has representatives available to answer questions they may have and should be confident they’re working with the right materials to produce the best possible results.