Crushed Sand vs River Sand ? The Better Choice, read to learn more

Crushed Sand vs River Sand

Crushed sand versus River Sand picture in comparision on the Ongrid.Design blog post

The long-lasting confusion behind crushed sand and river sand. What to choose for my home? Why does river sand cost more? Will crushed sand affect my construction life? How to tell the difference between river sand and crushed sand? 

Don't worry; we hope to clear all the confusion and help you make the right choice to build your home.

Before we begin, you must understand why we need to add sand in making Concrete cement mortar and how it affects the different stages of the building process.

Concrete is a heterogeneous mixture consisting of cement, sand, water and aggregate. There are multiple variations and grades of Concrete, all of which depend on the raw materials used in the mixture.

The significant component in an RCC construction is Concrete, they help you build columns, slabs and beams.

Another critical use case of sand is in forming plaster mortar. It is used in plastering walls and joining bricks. As you can see, sand is needed in 70% of the construction of your home.

How do we decide when our contractor springs us the question, to choose between river sand or crushed sand?


  1. Availability: In many parts of our country, it is illegal to procure river sand for construction. The govt. has laid strict rules against them, and you can be fined for choosing river sand. In contrast, crushed sand is readily available without putting you at risk with the lawmakers.
  2. Cost: Simple rule of demand and supply makes river sand more expensive than crushed sand. Many still prefer making their homes with river sand where procurement is not the issue. However, river sand being organic is not an ideal construction material of choice.
  3. Performance: Crushed sand is made from the debris of construction waste and sieved to 4mm, perfect for application with cement. Since it is a mechanical process, the quality remains consistent. There are many more performance benefits of crushed sand which you will learn as we read along.


Availability, Cost and Performance are crucial aspects in determining the effectiveness of building material. 

Let us now learn how the choice of River sand or Crushed sand affects the overall strength and lifecycle of the project.

Crushed sand is made by mechanically crushing basalt, granites or other stones. The sieve is fixed, which allows the entire batch to be uniform. They also had lower chances of adulteration as proper methods of production is incorporated.

River sand, on the other hand, is organic. The particles are non-uniform and often mixed with organic debris, which undermines cement's bonding properties.

Many articles discuss compressive strength, fractural strength, specific gravity, and sieve sizes in a lot more detail. Unless you are a civil engineer and love to know the details. The baseline is mechanically produced sand is of higher quality and stands a better chance in performance against river sand.

River sands mining undermine our environment drastically. In 2021 who chose to build their homes with eco-friendly design choices should strongly consider M-sand or crushed sand.

Some basic differences between Crushed sand and River Sand

 Crushed Sand River Sand
Water Absorption 2 to 4% 1.5 to 3%
Adulteration Less Probability More Probability
Application Better for RCC Better for Plaster
Environment Friendly Harmful
Compressive Strength Higher Lower
Silt Content Nil Needs additional washing
Wastage No Waste Needs additional sieve 
Source Quarry River Bed

Other Articles that may interest you :

  1. Checklist to build a house in India
  2. How to decide on a good Layout for your home?
  3. 25 Common terms
  4. Building Codes Regulation


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