Sand types for building and renovation

Sand comes in a wide range of sizes, colours and qualities. It is important to recognise these different types and the different projects that they are used for:

Building Sand

‘Normal’ grey building sand comes in two main categories. Sand to be used for making concrete contains a lot of large, very rough particles – strictly, particles larger than 6.3mm diameter. Sand to be used for mortar, as used for brick-laying etc has less of the large grit in it. Both of these types of sand are usually bought by the cubic metre, and are best suited to large building projects.

Quick tip

Paint effects

Try out different paint effects to give your home a new look, try rag rolling, stippling or marbling. If you’re handy with a paint brush and eager to let your inner artist out, then consider painting a trompe l’oeil effect on a wall. Remember you could simply project an image onto a wall and paint around it – you don’t need to be a great artist to have a go at this. So get your paint brushes out and get creative.


For smaller jobs, the choice is usually between medium, fine and very fine. Thes will have been carefully wahed, dried and graded. The fineness of the sand used determines how smooth the resultant mix is, since neither lime or cement add to the graininess of the mortar used.


“If you elect to have off-peak (heures creuses) electricity, then EDF will provide you with wiring controlled by their equipment to switch your off-peak system on and off. The EDF off-peak equipment is usually a relay located beside their meter and fusegear. This relay is meant for the control circuit functions of your contactor (contacteur) or off-peak relay (jour/nuit) only. It must not be used to directly control equipment. The EDF relay is timed to operate in the usual manner at the predetermined off-peak times”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


Very fine sand

Very fine sand comes from a quarry. It is very pale, with grains 0.1 – 0.3 mm in diameter. This sand is used occassionally for very fine cement work, but is used also for polishing and cleaning. There are few jobs which require a large quantity of this sand.

Fine sand

Comes from either a quarry or a river. Usually very pale brown, with grains 0.2 – 0.6mm. This fine sand is used for sandblasting and hydro-sandblasting (sandblasting with a mixture of sand and water), on materials such as wood and metal.

Sand for sandblasting is usually silicon rich – often labelled ‘sable naturel a quartz’ or similar.

Medium sand

Also from either a river or a quarry. Light brown, with grains of diameter 0.4 – 1.6mm. This is usually used for sandbasting stonework and masonry, when the wall is sufficiently stable to support it.

Sand colour

The colour of your sand is important when the final product will be visible – for example if you are repointing a wall. The colour of the sand that should be used is very specific to your immediate region so you will need to take advice from a local builders merchant.

DIY Tips

Want to add a personal touch to your home? Then get creative to add style that’s one of a kind to your home. Patchwork, knitting and crochet can all be used to add chic soft furnishings and accessories to your home, from cushions to throws and more. If you are new to crafting there’s lots of advice available online including helpful craft tutorials. Also take a make do and mend approach to upcycling existing pieces in your home with paint, decoupage or fabric.


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Electrical Tip

“Although at first glance lighting, sockets and off-peak heating in France may all appear familiar, closer investigation will reveal that the installation methods are different to those employed in the UK”

Excerpt From: Thomas Malcolm. “Electricity in your French house.” iBooks.


We are a new website, we are still growing our content, we want everyone that is renovating in France to help us feature what we all wanted to know when we all started, contact us with all your experience and tips, we live just south of Celles Sur Belle, in Deux Servre, 79, and are just about to start out on our next renovation, every job we start on, every problem, product or skill we need to learn about i will try and find some useful information on the internet and share it with you, yes I could do this by sharing it on facebook, but the problem is it just helps facebook and disappears down the timeline, here links and articles will be searchable and here permanently for you to book mark and refer to, so watch this space … and if you have links and articles that have helped you let us know !!1

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