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I've been watching Brits prepare and lay patio stone on Youtube, and have been reading blogs by Brits. They recommend using "sharp sand" to make the mortar for laying sandstone rectangles. The sand has a dark grayish color and fairly large grains. When I ask local supply houses here in the US if they stock "sharp sand" they think I am talking about a yellowish finer-grained sand for making concrete. If sharp sand is available in the US, what's the term for the coarser-grained gray variety?

P.S. This sand would be for making mortar, 6 parts sand to 1 part cement.

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"Washed concrete sand", or "masonry sand" is sharp-edged so it packs well and holds its shape to some extent. It also tends to be coarser than playground sand, for example. Common beach sand is rounded due to wave action and therefore slippery, making for a less stable substrate.

This is not to be confused with "polymeric sand", which is designed to harden to some extent and is used as a grout between pavers.

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The color varies by what the rock it came from was. The sharp .vs. rounded aspect is what matters, not the color.

River sand is generally too rounded.

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  • Yes, but the yellow sand is also a lot finer.
    – mr blint
    Jul 7, 2023 at 17:34

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