Is M-Sand Good for Construction?

Published Categorized as Construction

High-quality sand that is workable and durable is at the core of all construction projects, such as building houses, public buildings, and even certain roads, concrete is everywhere, and construction companies need sand to create it. However, due to the global shortage of natural river sand, companies have started to manufacture sand. But is this good for construction?

M-sand is good for construction as it creates durable, workable, and high-strength concrete. Its disadvantages include the coarse texture and high levels of micro-fine particles. However, M-sand is sustainable, economical, and efficient, so most construction companies are using it today.

Are you thinking about using M-sand for your next construction project? Let’s dive into the properties, advantages, and disadvantages of this material!

What Is M-Sand?

M-sand, also known as manufactured sand, is an alternative to natural river sand. While river sand used to be the most common material used to create concrete, a global shortage of this material has made construction companies consider other alternatives.

Among the different materials emerging from the market, M-sand is one of the most durable, economical, and highly sustainable ones. While its texture makes it a little different from natural river sand, M-sand has certain advantages that have made it the preferable alternative in construction. 

M-sand is a sand-like material manufactured from the crushing of hard granite rocks, quarry stones, and various aggregates. During the manufacturing process, M-sand is crushed and blasted several times to achieve a similar consistency to natural river sand.

The sand that is generated from this process is then sieved to eliminate all impurities and then washed. Since M-sand does not naturally retain moisture like river sand, the washing process must add the necessary moisture for concrete blending. 

Once ready, the final product is tested through several audits to ensure that it can create high-strength, durable concrete.

What Is M-Sand Used For?

M-sand is considered a valid, more economical, and more sustainable substitute to natural river sand. It has become essential in construction processes following the increasing global shortage of natural sand. 

Since M-sand is readily available in most locations and the costs of transporting sand from a suitable river bed can be eliminated, an increasing number of construction companies have started to prefer it over standard natural sand. 

Why Use M-Sand in Construction?

There are several reasons for this product to be so popular in the construction industry and beyond. Here are some.

It Helps Tackle the Scarcity of Natural Sand

The construction industry must develop and grow, but the supply of natural sand has become incredibly scarce, especially because of the exploitation of resources that has been happening over the past years.

A lack of suitable natural river sand has encouraged construction companies to find suitable alternatives. And, since M-sand does not need to be transported for miles, it has become a readily available product that does not affect the environment.

The Construction Costs Can Be Better Controlled

Due to the scarcity of river sand, this product’s price has peaked over the past years. For larger construction projects, this means that the costs are not all so easily foreseeable. Additionally, the transportation cost has been heavily weighing on the projects’ budget. 

Absence of Silt and or Clay

Silt represents the biggest threat to concrete durability, and it may mainly be found in natural river sand. In such blends, the general percentage of silt allowed is below 3%.

While most river sand contains between 5% and 20% of silt, such high percentages translate into concrete that will easily brittle and break. So, the quantity of river sand usable for construction is minimal. Another percentage of such sand is composed of marine products such as shells and bark.Instead, M-sand does not contain any of these impurities, which allow constructors to have full control over the concrete quality.

Reduce By-Product Wastage

Nothing is wasted in the process of creating M-sand. Indeed, lower-quality aggregates and materials are also processed and turned into viable materials used in construction.

Properties of M-Sand in Construction

It Creates High-Quality Concrete

Unlike natural sand, manufactured sand has to follow very specific guidelines and requirements suitable for construction. Therefore, manufacturers can control the level of impurities and the physical properties of the sand. In turn, this helps them create high-quality concentre, which is controlled from start to end.

It Can Be Used to Increase the Workability of Concrete

The shape, size, and texture of the sand used in the blending of concrete can highly impact the final result’s quality. When producing M-sand, manufacturers have control over such aspects, and they can modify them to increase the strength and durability of concrete. 

High-Quality Sand Makes for Fewer Defects

M-sand has an ideal initial and final setting time. Along with the fact that the grains are perfectly shaped for producing high-quality concrete, the final result is less likely to suffer from common defects. These include honeycombing, segregation, breakage, voids, capillarity, and bleeding. 

It Is an Eco-Friendly Alternative

As the construction industry expanded and developed, the need for concrete also increased. And in turn, construction companies have exploited the use of natural sand, extracted from river beds. However, the too-high usage of such precious material has led to environmental disasters and river exploitation. 

Instead, M-sand, being constructed in a lab, does not require the dredging of rivers or natural areas for its production. Additionally, the by-products of the production process can also be used in construction, eliminating the possibility of wastage. 

It Is Economical

Due to the increasing scarcity of natural sand, the price of such precious material has been increasing over time. This has made it difficult for construction companies to acquire high-quality products that fit in the budget. 

Additionally, because only some rivers can still be dredged for sand, sometimes the sand would need to be transported across long distances to reach the construction site.

Instead, M-sand is readily available and extremely close to most construction sites. This makes costs much easier to keep under control.

M-Sand vs. River Sand in Construction

Unlike M-sand, river sand contains impurities mostly deriving from the surrounding natural area. These often include clay, silt, and marine products. River sand is also challenging to excavate, and only a small percentage of it is suitable for construction.

So, sand mining from river beds can be extremely disruptive for the environment, which, in turn, won’t find another usage once the results have been exploited. 

Oppositely, M-sand is a manufactured product deriving from a precise design process. While relatively new and long-term studies could not yet be completed, this material is tested for durability and strength. Therefore, it is not only suitable for construction, but it can also be considered a preferable choice over river sand.


M-sand is a type of manufactured sand that has started to replace natural river sand. This is mostly because of the global scarcity of this material, which is usually more expensive and harder to get. Instead, M-sand, being manufactured by crushing several rocks, quarry stones, and aggregates, is readily available, more sustainable, and advantageous for construction companies.

While its coarse texture and micro-fine particles’ presence might slightly decrease its workability, this sand gives birth to high-strength, high-durability concrete.


By Giovanni Valle

Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.

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