We all know that sand has been an extremely important material for the construction purpose such as buildings and roads, but how many of you know why we need sand and why not anything else.
It’s very simple! Sand is a hard material which is strong in nature and made up of fine mineral particles. It gives strength and sustaining ability to your building. You know what, we need to purchase such an important material to construct from the sand contractors. Also, it is suggested to be extra conscious while purchasing the sand.
Alright! Let’s discuss about the sand’s types and its characteristics. There are three types of sand namely;
- Pit sand –It’s in reddish orange color. This sand is usually sharp, angular and certainly free from salts and so on which is mostly used in concretes.
- River sand –This is generally gathered from the banks of the river. It has a fine quality unlike pit sand. This sand is usually whitish grey in color and has rounded particles. This sand is very much useful for the construction purpose such as plastering and so on.
- Sea/Beach sand – This sand has been alienated for the construction purpose, since it contains salt within itself by nature and tend to absorb moisture from atmosphere and brings stickiness to the building. It also has higher proportion of chloride ions that causes corrosion in steel. Beach sand is in fact finer than river sand, even though it is not suitable for the construction purpose since it fail to give the durability for the building or roads. For all these reasons, it has been alienated for the construction purpose.
- Manufactured Sand/Artificial Sand– This is a sand that has been manufactured by crushing either granite or basalt rock using 3 stage crushing process. Many people use this sand as a substitute for river sand for the construction purpose. These sands are manufactured by few companies around the world. This sand is manufactured in conformance to IS Codes.
Well… The sand used for construction purpose should be neat, clean and free of stones, clay balls and other impurities.
You can check out the grades of sands into 5 categories given below.
- Very fine sand (1/16 – 1/8 mm diameter)
- Fine sand (1/8 mm – 1/4 mm)
- Medium sand (1/4 mm – 1/2 mm)
- Coarse sand (1/2 mm – 1 mm), and
- Very coarse sand (1 mm – 2 mm)
You can always give the preference in selecting very fine sand for your construction, since the finer the sand is, the greater sustainability the building gets. So, it is always recommended to use the very fine sand for your construction purpose.
|Property||Manufactured Sand/Artificial Sand||River Sand|
|Gradation||Good Control||Poor Control|
|Water absorption||2% – 4%||1.5% – 3%|
|Ability to hold surface moisture||Upto 10%||Upto 7%|
|Grading zone||Zone II||Zone II and III|
|Compressive strength||Marginally higher||Normal|
|Cracks||Tend to surface crack||–|
We are planning to construct our new home. My friends say that river sand harms the environment. Is there any alternatives?
We have got two alternative one is manufactured sand and another one is powdered glass. You can use any of them.
The reason for not to use river sand is that the in-stream mining causes the degradation of the river, and lowers the stream bottom which actually leads to river bank erosion. It also affects the adjoining ground water system, and hence the local people who make use of the river.
How to find out whether it is a good sand or not?
It’s very simple! You could check its quality in 2 methods.
- Take some sand in your hands. If it’s sticky it’s not a qualified sand.
- Take a glass of clean water and mix some sand in it. If the sand contains clay in it, its distinct layer is formed on top of the water.
Can I use all-purpose sand in my construction? I’ve been told not to use.
You can actually use it. All-purpose sand, river sand, pit sand, artificial sand all are good choices.
Can I use sea sand for my construction?
Not exactly! The reason is, the sea sand usually contains salt within itself and tend to absorb moisture from atmosphere and brings stickiness to the building. Secondly, it has higher proportion of chloride ions that causes corrosion in steel. Beach sand is in fact finer than river sand, even though it is not suitable for the construction purpose and fail to give the durability for the building or roads.
For all these reasons, it has been alienated for the construction purpose.
If river sand is not good for environment, why not beach sand?
Alike river sand, beach/sea sand can also harm our environment. Too much excavation of beach sand can actually accelerate beach erosion and degrade or destroy coastal vegetation by uprooting it or flooding the ground with sea water.