What Is Bedding Sand, and What Is it Used For?
Unless you’re a professional farmer, builder, or landscaper, you’ve probably never heard of bedding sand before.
So what is bedding sand? And what do people use it for?
In this post, we’ll be providing a plain-English definition, highlighting its primary landscaping and agriculture uses and explaining why bedding sand is ubiquitous in the construction industry.
We’ll also describe the key differences between bedding sand and play sand in case you were thinking about recycling your disused sandpit.
What is Bedding Sand?
Bedding sand is a construction aggregate that serves as an effective base layer in the construction, landscaping, and agricultural industry.
A construction aggregate, or just an “aggregate,” is a type of course or medium-grained particulate material, such as sand, gravel, crushed stone, and slag. As aggregates play a major role in the construction industry, they’re the most heavily mined materials on earth.
Bedding sand is a naturally occurring aggregate commonly found in mine sites and quarries. Mining companies collect, clean, and process bedding sand before shipping it to building and landscaping suppliers (like us) for retail.
Bedding sand has a high clay and fine silt content, which keeps it firm underneath heavy materials like pavers and concrete slabs.
The Different Types of Bedding Sand
Not all bedding sand is the same—the nifty aggregate comes in four unique types. Upon collection in a quarry, the workers screen and divide the aggregate according to its type.
The finest is Number 1, known for its soft, powdery-like consistency. The coarsest is Number 4, which has a rough texture suitable for concrete mixes.
Bedding sand also comes in two distinct shapes, either rounded or flat-edged. Rounded bedding sand feels softer to the touch (or on the hoof), so it’s more suitable for agricultural use. The flat-edged variety offers better support for heavy loads, making it the preferred option for pavers and concrete blocks.
What is Bedding Sand Used For?
Landscapers, farmers, and construction workers commonly use bedding sand as a base layer to replace the natural topsoil. Bedding sand creates a smooth, firm surface, which is much easier to work on than uneven natural terrain.
In the landscaping world, bedding sand creates a nice level surface to serve as a sturdy base for paving and patio stone projects. The worker first digs out the natural dirt surface with a shovel, anywhere between one inch and one foot deep. Next, they lay the bedding sand on top, sometimes using gravel underneath.
One inch of bedding sand is typically enough for standard patio and paving projects. Note that bedding sand differs from joint sand, a fine aggregate sprinkled between the paving stones.
Another clever landscaping trick is to place bedding sand between stiffening beams. This method achieves an even firm base at a lower cost than concrete.
In the agricultural sector, farmers frequently place bedding sand on the surface of their cattle stalls. The coarse particulate drains quickly, thus preventing water from pooling on the surface. It also remains relatively cool throughout the day, a considerable advantage in Australia’s harsh climate. Finally, its low organic matter content inhibits the growth of bacteria, which helps prevent diseases from spreading among the livestock.
Why Is Bedding Sand Used in Construction?
Much like in landscaping, bedding sand is a suitable base layer for construction projects. With the help of heavy machinery, workers extract the uneven natural surface and pour down a thick layer of firm bedding sand.
Due to its porous nature, bedding sand also serves as an effective drainage solution for work sites. Construction companies use it as a soil amendment to enhance the porousness of clay, thus improving its drainage properties.
Another typical construction application is using bedding sand as the primary material in the backfilling process. Backfilling involves replacing soil removed during foundation excavations or other groundwork to strengthen and support a structure. It’s quite a common procedure, so bedding sand is always in high demand.
As valuable as bedding sand may be in the construction sector, it’s not without its pitfalls. The big issue is wind and rain can wash or blow exposed bedding sand away. To combat this occurrence, a construction company might bond the aggregate into an enclosure and crush it down using a compactor.
Bedding Sand Versus Play Sand: What’s the difference?
If you’re a budget-orientated DIYer, you might be wondering whether you can use play sand for your upcoming paving projects. After all, you’ve got an entire sandpit of the stuff just sitting there.
Unfortunately, your sandy stockpile isn’t suitable for landscaping use. The difference between bedding sand and play sand lies in its consistency.
Play sand is a soft, ultra-fine product that’s been heavily processed to ensure it’s safe for toddlers. The material is washed to remove unwanted debris and harmful bacteria and then pressure blasted with a high-powered hose. In this latter process, any large or sharp grains get rounded down to avoid injuring delicate little hands.
Landscaping bedding sand, on the other hand, is a coarse construction aggregate with a sharp flat-edge shape. This specialist construction material has been sourced, screened, and sifted for its porous nature and ability to withstand heavy loads.
If you used play sand beneath your pavers, the brickwork wouldn’t hold its shape. Furthermore, rainwater wouldn’t properly drain to the soil underneath, creating a big mucky sandy mess.
We’d also recommend against using bedding sand in your sandpit. Not only would it be an expensive endeavour, but your little ones would get cuts and scratches all over their hands.
Get Your Bedding Sand from Wellers Hill Hardware
Bedding sand is a hit among landscapers, farmers, and builders alike. From backyard paving to cattle-rearing and large-scale construction projects, the versatile aggregate has a slew of nifty uses.
At Wellers Hill Hardware, we stock top-quality medium-washed bedding sand for tile bedding, paving, and laying down slabs.
As a family-run business with 50 years of experience in the hardware game, we pride ourselves on providing top-notch products at a reasonable price. Friendly, personable service and expert advice put Wellers Hill Hardware a cut above the competition.
Our convenient drive-through yards make it all-too-easy to pick up bulk orders of bedding sand from our Tarragindi store.
Can’t come to us? We deliver bedding sand in bulk Brisbane-wide.
Either way, pop in and see us today.