You may only think of sand when you’re at the beach and it is beneath your feet or when it gets stuck in your bathing suit after a dip in the sea. However, sand has been here longer than we have and will be here long after we are gone. Humankind has always made effective use of this abundant resource – especially when building our cities, homes and societies.

Sand forms the basis of more applications than you may realise. It is the base product for multiple construction applications and can be used to build or fix almost anything. The use of sand in construction provides substance to the building materials. This is a suitable alternative to using more expensive or less readily available materials.


Sand results from the rubbing together of abrasive materials via the motion of water and/or wind until the structures are broken down into a granular state. For example in the sea, sand is made up of shells, barnacles and stone. River sand usually consists of residue from boulders, cobbles and pebbles that have been broken down by the movement of the water over long periods of time.



River sand is rounded particle sand taken from the banks of rivers. This is also used for plastering as sea bed sand is unavailable in landlocked regions. River sand is considered clean and ready for use as a building material if it is a very light grey and if it is free from any sediment that might otherwise have been left by the water.


This is usually used as an auxiliary sand option in construction when river sand is unavailable. It is made by crushing granite or basalt rock. This man-made sand is a great option to supplement available materials and create the right consistency. The process may take as many as three crushing sessions but the result has become a very popular substitute for river sand.


This is generally used for mixing things like bricks and fine grade plaster which is why it is also known as builder’s sand or bricklayer’s sand. It can be mixed with cement and water to create mortar for bricklaying. It has a basis of seabed sand which can be of a finer grade than river sand (depending on where it comes from). All aggregates used in construction need to be carefully considered to determine their best application when it comes to the building materials in South Africa. This is why Sand Shifters prides itself on always delivering the best!