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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 17, 2007

    Default Need help quick: River sand or masonry sand for footing??

    Always heard masonry sand, ridden on it a ton, now my ring guy is trying to talk me into river sand, which I've heard is rough/abrasive. Help! They are priced similarly where I live.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2009
    Lyman, ME

    Default river vs masonry sand

    Sorry! Wrote an answer for construction footing!. Boy did I read your posting wrong!
    Back to the sand: Underfoot written and provided by the USDF, argues that river sand has rounded edges and will be a bit "soupy/soft" to ride on. It has little or no packing quality. This would be as opposed to sharp edged quarry sand or stonedust which I would think would be rough and abrasive and would pack down too hard. The material recommended by Underfoot is a putty sand which has minor packing ability but will not pack down to hardpack no-give footing. Masonry sand sounds like quarry sand...something that would pack hard. A blend of the 2 yields the type of putty sand I think Underfoot is speaking of.
    Last edited by Rabtfarm; Sep. 20, 2010 at 11:30 AM. Reason: wrong answer!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2004
    Ontario, Canada


    Masonry sand. River sand will roll underfoot, feel deep and loose, and lead to tendon/ligament injuries! Stay AWAY from river sand!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2008
    Sonoma County, California


    River sand particles tend to be worn round by the water, hence 'roll' too much. You want angular footing, or at least a blend of sizes and shapes.

    You want to avoid fines (aka dust) as they make dust and limit drainage.

    Look for a washed, manufactured product that has a variety sizes and shapes of mostly angular grains 1/8" and under. A good blend is washed river sand with some waste birdeye pea gravel.

    Read this, it explains soil dynamics in footing:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar. 27, 2008


    I think you need to go look at the sands. What is called river or masonry by one person is not the same somewhere else. In our area masonry sand is very fine and white, I used concrete sand which is coarser. Lots of people here use what is called bank sand which comes from sand pits but I thought it packed too much.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2002
    Henrico, NC 36 30'50.49" N 77 50'17.47" W


    The term "River Sand" means nothing. If it's just dredged from the bottom of a river it can even be worse than beach sand. If it's what ends up in the outside of bends in a fast flowing river from ground up river rocks it can be ideal.

    Near a beach, masonry sand is little different than beach sand. In most places it's the same as the second description in the above paragraph.

    I always want to run my hands trough it.

    Quite simply, you want "coarse, angulated sand". Forget what anyone calls it or says that you need. Anyone who simply designates it as "river sand" or "masonry sand" doesn't know what they are talking about. I don't care where it's written down. It will vary from one place to another even 30 miles apart in the same county. Most people just call it what it's called locally, which may be the exact opposite of something by the same name 30 miles away.

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