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Blog | Aggregates: Explained

Aggregates: Explained

Aggregates: Explained

Particles smaller than 10mm diameter are generally considered fine aggregates; with anything larger a coarse aggregate. Both materials are used in the making of mortar and concrete. Fine aggregate varies in colour depending on its origin, while ‘washed’ or ‘clean’ aggregate contains far fewer impurities that can diminish the adhesive qualities and even stain the mixture.

The aggregates used most in the building industry tend to fall into one of the below categories:

  • Gravel:
    Gravel consists of graded stone and can be used in concrete, as a surface for driveways & paths, or to aerate soils and improve drainage.
  • Crushed Stone:
    The coarsest aggregate, crushed stone is exactly what it says on the tin: Large pieces of crushed stone & gravel. Used as a base for hard-landscape surfacing and concrete.
  • Ballast:
    A ‘one-stop-shop’ blend of fine aggregate, larger stones and gravel, ballast is ideal for general concreting work where the exact proportions of aggregates have not been specified.
  • Sharp Sand:
    Extremely coarse sand with moderately large particles, sharp sand can be used to make a hard, durable mortar as well as being a key component in concrete mixes.
  • Building Sand:
    A very fine textured sand, most commonly used in mixes for laying blocks and bricks.

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