When it comes to construction and renovation, the type of materials you choose can make or break your project. One material often overlooked is plastering sand. The humble substance goes far beyond filling the gaps in your walls; it serves as the backbone of plasterwork, providing strength, stability, and a smooth finish. But did you know that all plastering sands are not made equal? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the different types of plastering sands that professionals swear by.

Understanding the Role of Plastering Sand

The Core Purpose

Before diving into the types of plastering sands, it’s crucial to understand its core purpose. Sand acts as an aggregate in plaster and mortar mixes, offering a range of textures and strengths depending on the type used. This seemingly simple material plays a pivotal role in ensuring a durable and quality finish.

Key Qualities to Look For

The optimal plastering sand should offer a balanced mixture of coarseness and fineness. It should be free of impurities like clay, silt, or organic matter, as these can negatively impact the strength and durability of the plaster. Furthermore, the sand must have good water retention properties to keep the plaster workable for a longer period.

Types of Plastering Sands the Pros Use

Grade A Fine

Unparalleled Smoothness

One of the most distinguished features of Grade A Fine sand is its smooth texture, which is especially desirable for interior plastering. The finer grains allow for a more even distribution of the material, resulting in a surface that’s both aesthetically pleasing and easier to paint or decorate.

Ideal for Intricate Work

If your project involves intricate architectural details, Grade A Fine sand is your best bet. Whether you’re creating elegant cornices, delicate mouldings, or other decorative features, the fine grains offer a level of precision that coarser sands can’t match.

Superior Adhesion

When it comes to ensuring that the plaster sticks well to the wall, Grade A Fine sand excels. Its fine particles create a higher surface area, which allows for excellent adhesion. This is particularly beneficial for interior walls, where peeling or flaking plaster can be both a visual and structural concern.

Quick Setting Times

The fine grains in Grade A Fine sand facilitate quicker setting times for your plaster, an attribute that can be crucial when working on tight deadlines. Faster setting times also reduce the risk of surface imperfections, as there’s less opportunity for the material to be disturbed once applied.

Low Shrinkage Rate

One common problem faced in plastering is shrinkage, which can result in cracks and a compromised finish. Grade A Fine sand has a lower tendency to shrink when it sets, thus maintaining the integrity of your work over time.

Grade A Course


Exceptional Durability

When it comes to external plastering, particularly in regions prone to inclement weather like Ireland, Grade A Course sand stands out as a robust choice. Its coarse texture offers unparalleled durability, making it capable of withstanding the effects of rain, wind, and temperature fluctuations. Structures built using Grade A Course sand are known for their longevity and resistance to natural wear and tear.

Versatility in Applications

Although most commonly used for external plastering, the adaptability of Grade A Course sand makes it suitable for a range of applications. Whether you’re looking to plaster an exterior wall, set up a façade, or even create decorative reliefs, this sand is versatile enough to meet various project demands.

Excellent Water Retention

One of the key attributes of Grade A Course sand is its excellent water retention properties. This ensures that the plaster remains workable for a longer period, allowing for adjustments and corrections during application. A workable mixture reduces the risk of cracks and enhances adhesion to the substrate, thereby offering a superior finish.

Easy to Source Locally

Being a staple in the industry, Grade A Course sand is often easily accessible from reputable suppliers like Loughrey Stoneworks. Its widespread availability means you won’t have to go out of your way to source it, thus making it a convenient option for contractors and DIYers alike.

Compliance with Irish Building Standards

In Ireland, construction materials are subject to rigorous quality checks to ensure they meet the local building codes and standards. Grade A Course sand usually complies with these stringent quality parameters, making it a reliable choice for projects that require adherence to Irish regulations.

Environmental Considerations

Another noteworthy aspect is its relatively lower environmental impact compared to some other types of sand. Given that construction is under increasing scrutiny for its environmental impact, opting for a sustainably-sourced Grade A Course sand can also be a more responsible choice.

Grade B Course


A Budget-Friendly Alternative

Grade B Course sand offers a cost-effective solution for your plastering needs. While it may not boast the premium attributes of Grade A sand, it provides a reliable option for general-purpose plastering at a more accessible price point.

Sufficient Strength and Durability

Though not as robust as its Grade A Course counterpart, Grade B Course still provides a commendable level of durability. It’s well-suited for non-critical applications where extreme weather resistance or architectural precision is not a primary concern.

Versatile Usage

Its versatile nature makes Grade B Course sand suitable for both internal and external plastering, albeit for less demanding conditions. It’s a go-to for residential projects, small renovations, or areas that will be subsequently painted or covered.

Quick Availability

One of the advantages of opting for Grade B Course sand is its widespread availability. Unlike more specialized types, you can easily find Grade B Course sand at most construction material suppliers, including Loughrey Stoneworks.

Grey Plastering Sand

Grey Plastering Sand

Distinctive Colour and Texture

Grey Plastering Sand offers a colour and texture that sets it apart from the more commonly used types of plastering sands. The grey hue provides a unique aesthetic that can either be a striking design feature or a match for older, heritage buildings.

Architectural Authenticity

When restoring or renovating period structures, the use of Grey Plastering Sand can add an authentic touch. Its unique properties make it the ideal choice for projects where historical accuracy is a primary consideration.

Compatible with Natural Stone

For projects involving natural stone facades or features, Grey Plastering Sand offers an excellent colour match. Its tones work harmoniously with various types of stone, making it a popular choice for projects supplied by Loughrey Stoneworks.

Resistant to Discoloration

Unlike lighter sands that may show staining more easily, the grey colour of this sand type helps mask minor stains or imperfections, offering a more forgiving surface over time.

The Irish Context

Loughrey Stoneworks, a well-known stone supplier in Ireland, understands the specific needs and challenges of the Irish market. Factors like local weather conditions, architectural styles, and building regulations can influence the type of plastering sand best suited for Irish projects. So, when sourcing your materials, consider these local nuances for the best outcome.


What sand is used for plastering?

Plastering sand is a specific type of washed sand that’s free from impurities and comes in various grades to suit different needs. The most commonly used types include Grade A Course, Grade A Fine, Grade B Course, and Grey Plastering Sand.

What’s the difference between building sand and plastering sand?

Building sand is a more general-purpose material used in various construction activities, but it may contain impurities not suitable for plasterwork. Plastering sand, on the other hand, is specifically processed to be free of impurities and comes in specific grades to suit plastering needs.

Is fine sharp sand the same as plastering sand?

No, fine sharp sand is coarser and is typically used for projects requiring higher strength, such as concrete mixing. Plastering sand is more refined and is specifically designed to offer a smooth, quality finish in plasterwork.

Is masonry sand the same as plaster sand?

While both masonry sand and plastering sand are used in construction, they serve different purposes. Masonry sand is often used in bricklaying and other masonry work, whereas plastering sand is designed specifically for plasterwork, offering finer textures and better water retention properties.

By equipping yourself with the right type of plastering sand, you’re setting your project up for success. Knowing the key differences can save you both time and money, ensuring that your build stands the test of time.