ConstructionStudent Guide

05 Easy Sand Tests To Find Best Sand For Construction Or Concrete

Sand tests to determine the best sand for concrete is really important role during construction. Usually, civil engineers or site supervisors don’t even bother about the quality of building material (like cement, sand or crush). In this article, we will explain some quick handy tips to check the quality of sand on-site physically by performing simple sand tests rather than sending the samples to the laboratory.

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What Is Sand OR M Sand?

Sand or Manufactured sand (M sand) is included among the primary construction materials. It is widely used in concreting, plastering & others. As per ACI (American Concrete Institute) specification, sand particles should vary between 150 microns (finest) to 4.75 mm (coarser) particles. it is one of the primary sand tests that you need to follow in order to verify the quality of material on-site.

Different Types Of Sand For Construction:

  1. River Sand: An ideal sand uses for all types of construction. Usually in greyish-white color.
  2. M-Sand (Manufactured Sand): This sand is formed manually by crushing of coarse aggregate into finer material. This is also a good choice for construction purposes.
  3. Pit Sand: It is excavated from deep wells and really dangerous for construction use because of its coarser particles.

How to Perform 05 Easy Sand Tests?

  1. Clean and free from dust particles – It should be free from dust particles, uniformly graded.
  1. Presence of clay – The presence of clay in the sand will decrease the strength of concrete because clay possesses cohesive strength while m sand is cohesionless.

Sand Test: Hold some sand in your hand and rub with your palm! If sand stick to your hand it shows the presence of clay and changes the color of your hand.


  1. Presence Of Silt – the presence of silt above 8% is really dangerous for concrete strength.

Sand Test: Take a glass of water, add some sand, mix and stir well and left for an hour. You will notice coarser particle will settle immediately but a fine particle of m sand settles at the top. Now calculate the percentage if its above 8% then wash sand prior to use for construction.

If you have not enough time for the above test! Then hold some amount of sand and shake forward-backward, finer particles will separate from the sand and you can analyze the percentage quickly.

  1. Moisture Content – This is the test which you need to pay special attention while checking the quality of sand because excessive moisture content will affect the design mix of concrete.
  1. Salty Sand – Salty sand is really dangerous for concrete, so if you ever find the presence of salt then don’t use it in construction.

Sand Test: Taste a pinch of sand, if it gives you salty taste then the presence of salt is there.


These are some quick physical on-site sand tests which you can perform to find the quality of sand immediately but if you are still unsure about the sand quality then send some sample to a laboratory for a professional assessment.


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