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Common uses of washed sharp sand (grit)

Washed Sharp Sand Grit from Avon Material Supplies

Uses and benefits of washed sharp sand (grit) for various projects

Also known as ‘grit sand’ or ‘concrete sand’, washed sharp sand is more coarse and has larger particles than other construction sands such as builder’s sand, which consists of finer grains.

Having a larger grain size than other types of sand means sharp sand is slightly heavier.

Typically, sharp sand is used within applications where more strength and less flexibility is required. For example, it is ideal for mixing concrete and is commonly used for floor screeds and laying paving courses. In addition to construction projects, sharp sand can also be used as a top dressing for lawns, in general landscaping and in seed composts, because it enables moisture movement.

Below, we take a look at common uses of washed sharp sand for typical applications, including concreting, screeding and as a base for laying paving.

Our sharp sand is delivered loose or in bulk bags and is suitable for use in commercial and domestic projects. To talk to us today about our sand, call our friendly team on 01202 579579 

Common uses of washed sharp sand

Render and floor screeds

Screed is a thin layer of concrete, which is poured over the base concrete, to provide a flat and smooth surface that the final floor or wall covering can be applied to. Most screeds are made with cement and sharp sand.

Using sharp sand in screeds provides more strength compared to using other types of sand.

Laying paving courses

Sharp sand is commonly used when laying paving courses, such as driveways, paths and patios. When paving, the sand needs to be salt-free to avoid the paving slabs that lie on top of it being eroded and damaged. It’s also desirable to use a sand that provides good drainage.

Sharp sand is ideal for paving as it has a low salt and silt content and drains freely.


Sharp sand is mixed with concrete for a wide range of construction projects. Using sharp sand in concrete provides more strength and less flexibility compared to other types of sand.

Projects requiring tough mortar

Mortar is a mix of fine sand particles, cement and water, which can also include lime. Mortar is typically used for bricklaying and pointing. Sharp sand is ideal for mixing with other sands to increase the strength of the mortar and for when it needs to be less workable. A key benefit of adding sharp sand to the mortar mix is that it can prevent cracking during the drying process.

Sharp sand is typically used when a thicker layer of mortar is required, such as for chimney flaunching, bedding roof tiles and in garden projects.

Lawn care and in the garden

Sharp sand drains freely, making it an ideal aggregate for using on lawns and in landscaping. The large grain size, low silt and clay content make sharp sand a free-draining material.

Why use ‘washed’ sand

‘Washed’ refers to the process of removing clay, silt, dust and other unwanted particles from the sand. Once the excess materials have been removed, the sand is left to drain.

Washed sand is ideal for rendering, mixing concrete and for making a less malleable mortar that is often used for and flagstones.

Characteristics and benefits of sharp sand

The three main characteristics and benefits of sharp sand are:

  • The individual grains are jagged (angular) which creates an interlock between the grains. The interlocking of grains provides ‘strength’ in applications such as when mixing concrete or when using as a base layer under paving.
  • The larger grain size of sharp sand reduces the amount of retained water, making it very free draining. Excellent drainage properties make sharp sand ideal for using as a foundation layer for paving and patios or in landscaping.
  • Sharp sand has a low silt and clay content, which also makes it a freely draining material. Being free from silt is desirable for paving, as silt and salt erode paving slabs. Being silt and salt free also makes sharp sand suitable for mixing concrete.

Where to Buy Washed Sharp Sand in Bournemouth, Poole, Dorset and Hampshire

Avon Material Supplies (AMS) are leading suppliers of washed sharp sand (grit) to businesses, construction sites and members of the public throughout Bournemouth, Poole, Dorset and Hampshire. To learn more or to place an order, please contact our expert team on 01202 579579.


We’re hiring


Looking for an exciting new challenge? 

We are recruiting for the role of Campaign (Marketing) & Internal Sales Co-ordinator at our office on the Woolsbridge Industrial Estate near Three Legged Cross. 

Principal job responsibilities: 

To deal with all web-based enquiries and new business related emails sent to our main email account.In addition, the Campaign (Marketing) & Internal Co-ordinator will be required to distribute regular email campaigns to our existing customer database.

Day to day responsibilities will include generating new business from incoming enquiries, following up on live on-going enquiries, requesting online reviews from clients, updating CRM (customer relationship management) / IT systems and reporting on success levels. Alongside the completion of daily tasks, the successful candidate will be required to provide occasional cover for the AMS Sales Office, specifically on Thursday afternoons until 5pm.

Days flexible to suit the successful candidate, with hours in the region of 16 to 20 hours per week.

More information and how to apply

For further details and information please download our job description and apply by email to enquiries@avonmaterialsupplies.co.uk.

We’re celebrating 25 years in business

This year sees Avon Material Supplies (AMS) celebrate its 25th year in business.

AMS is 25 years old

Humble beginnings… 

From a cramped start within a shared portacabin on the former WH White landfill site near Wimborne, Ian Mariner began Avon Material Supplies (AMS) by selling recycled aggregates to local contractors.

Determination, hard work and some great products meant sales quickly grew to the point where Ian needed additional support for AMS to continue to flourish. Reinforcements came in the way of Ian’s wife Lyn, Teresa Branicki and Kevin Hawkins a former colleague, who was later to become a Director of the company.

The collective effort of the newly assembled ‘dream team’ resulted in AMS growing and moving to larger offices at the White House adjacent to Canford Magna Garden Centre. The proactive nature of the team and increasing demand for services offered by AMS resulted in the business supplying recycled aggregates for use on a number of high profile projects, including the remediation of Canford Park Arena.

It’s a family affair…

Between 2002 – 2006 Ian’s children, Stuart and Janette joined the business along with another one of his former colleagues, Richard Clarke, now Commercial Manager and Nicola Rogers, the daughter of family friends Ashley and Sharon Rogers.

Personal development, further education and a growing number of years with AMS has allowed Stuart to now assume full responsibility for all major waste management contracts for the business. Janette now occupies a senior environmental compliance position within the organisation, which allows her to utilise the Masters degree in Earth Science she received from the University of Manchester.

With the newer employees successfully working alongside the experienced members of the team, AMS became awash with a wave of new enthusiasm, ideas and opportunities. This resulted in the organisation moving to bigger premises on Canford Recycling Centre and being able to offer a more extensive range of materials.

“I will never operate a fleet of vehicles” famous last words…

With the order book more often than not remaining full, Ian and his staff faced regular challenges to ensure their clients from across Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset always received the materials they ordered on time. This situation coupled with the desire of AMS’s trusted sub-contractor Alan Everett to downsize, provided the perfect opportunity for Avon Material Supplies (Plant Hire) Ltd, an established AMS group company to make the bold step of purchasing Alan’s entire 20 vehicle tipper fleet.  To ensure the acquisition went smoothly and didn’t impact the day-to-day operations of AMS, the business also gained their ‘Goods Vehicle Operators Licence’ allowing it to operate up to 30 vehicles.

Now under the careful guidance of General Manager, Niall Roberts, the well established AMS fleet benefits from the inclusion of a number of new trucks and being operated through another group company, Avon Materials Supplies (Transport) Ltd.

Let’s ‘grab’ more of the market…

With construction sites springing up in more challenging locations, contractors started to ask if AMS operated grab trucks. Not wanting to disappoint their customers, AMS explored the idea of running grab trucks, starting small with the integration of a single 4 wheel Mini Grab into their fleet.  The ever-increasing demand for grab vehicles has resulted in AMS now operating 5 various sized grab trucks in the Bournemouth area alone.

Around the same time that AMS started to offer grab lorries and skip bags, the business also acquired Nationwide Direct, a national waste and aggregate brokerage operating from Woolsbridge Industrial Estate in Three Legged Cross. After a period of stabilisation, the business was relaunched as AMS Nationwide and is now a trusted supplier to a large number of customers throughout the UK.

Home sweet home, finally…

Recently AMS relocated again to brand new, purpose-built offices at Canford Inert Recycling Facility near Wimborne, which is ideal because it’s where all their recycled aggregates are manufactured.

What does the future hold…

No one can accurately predict the future, but the business remains in a strong position to provide its growing customer base with services that include recycled & primary aggregates, soils, site clearances, cartaway, skip & rollonoff hire and skip bags.

Recent successes by AMS’s marketing provider, CW Marketing, have demonstrated that aggregates and waste services can be sold online and now the business plans to expand its ‘buy online’ range to include skip and grab truck.

“All that is left to say is a big thank you for supporting Avon Material Supplies over the last 25 years and we very much look forward to continuing to work with you and your colleagues in the future. “ Ian Mariner, Managing Director

AMS 25 year timeline

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AMS 25 years in business timeline


Take a look at some of our recent images

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Is green waste skip hire the right choice for you?

garden waste disposal in Bournemouth

Green waste skip hire, is it the best way to dispose of your garden waste?

Whether you’ve decided to finally tackle the jungle growing in your back garden or just to trim back your hedges and cut the lawn in preparation for the summer BBQ season, then you’ve probably been left with a pile of garden waste that you’re not quite sure what to do with.

Between Avon Material Supplies, Easy Bag and Commercial Recycling, we’ve got an answer; you can either ‘Bin it’, ‘Bag it’ or ‘Bring it in’.  

Skip it

If you require disposal of large amounts of garden waste, then green waste skip hire is probably your best option. We can accept the following in our garden waste skips;

  • Grass or flower cuttings
  • Hedge trimmings
  • Twigs and small branches
  • Weeds

Our reliable ‘next day’* green waste skip hire is fully licensed and if required, can include the provision of ‘on road’ permits, safety lights and cones, so is perfect for domestic and commercial use.

We offer three different sized skips for garden waste, which are:

  1. The smallest size is a 6-yard ‘builders’ skip and this will hold the equivalent of 60 filled black bin bags
  2. The medium sized green waste skip we offer is 8-yards and this will hold the equivalent of 80 filled black bin bags
  3. The biggest garden waste skip we provide is 12-yards and this is most often used for commercial purposes because each skip can hold around 120 black bin bags.

When hiring your garden waste skip, you can rest assured that all our prices include a 2 week hire period, so you can order your skip at the start of your project and fill it up as you go along. Longer hire periods are possible but may incur a small rental charge, to find out more please contact our friendly skip hire team on 01202 579579.

Once you’re ready for the skip to be exchanged or collected, just contact our team who will usually be able to arrange for the skip lorry to visit you the next working day!

Need something bigger? If a 12-yard skip is not going to be big enough then please contact our team so they can provide you information on grab truck hire and roro (rollonoff) containers.

Bag it

If you have a smaller amount of garden waste, say half a tonne, then a garden waste skip bag would be ideal because it is easy and cheap.

The process of ordering an empty bulk bag for filling with garden waste couldn’t be easier. Simply visit easy-bag.co.uk, order a garden waste collection bag and once your empty skip bag arrives, you fill it and contact Easy Bag again when you would like it collected.

Our skip bags measure 90cm x 90cm x 90cm and can hold just under 1-tonne (850-950 kg) of garden waste.

Bring it in

Alternatively, if you don’t wish to pay for a garden waste collection service you can transport and dispose of the unwanted garden waste at your local recycling centre.

Depending on the rules in place at your nearest household waste recycling centre (HWRC), you may be able to dispose of green waste free of charge. If there are restrictions or charges in place it may be more cost-effective to tip your waste at a commercial disposal facility such as Canford Recycling Centre. To find out more please visit: www.commercialrecycling.co.uk.

Need more advice on green waste skip hire?

If you think that green waste skip hire will be your best option, it’s best to speak to one of our experienced team to make sure you order the right garden waste skip for the job. Our team will take into consideration the amount of waste you have to dispose of and will recommend the best solution for you.

You can then arrange a day for delivery at a time that’s convenient to you. Contact us now on 01202 579579.

Tipper truck hire in your area

aggregate suppliers bournemouth

Local, low-cost tipper truck hire

Tipper truck hire in and around Bournemouth and Poole is what we do! As an operator of a large, modern fleet of tipper trucks, Avon Material Supplies (AMS) is perfectly placed to help you with your next project.

The 6 and 8 wheel tipper trucks we operate are predominantly hired by main contractors, subcontractors and individuals who require large volumes of material to be delivered to or removed from a site.

We offer competitive tipper truck rates, which are chargeable on either a per delivery/collection basis or on a full day hire rate. AMS also offers discounted tipper truck rates for larger jobs. To learn more, please contact our friendly sales team on 01202 579579.

Choosing the right sized tipper truck

The bodies of tippers when unfilled are completely empty and free from any equipment that takes up vital space. It is this fact that means a 6 or 8 wheel tipper will carry a far larger volume of material than an equivalently sized grab lorry (please see below).

Carrying capacities of our tipper trucks:

Tipper truck size Approx. carrying capacity Grab lorry size Approx. carrying capacity
6 Wheel 15 tonnes 6 Wheel 12 tonnes
8 Wheel 19.5 tonnes 8 Wheel 16 tonnes

So, when is it right to choose a tipper truck?  

In almost all circumstances we would advise a customer to choose a tipper truck when the following statements are true.

  • The access to the site or property is clear and at least 3m wide
  • There is a suitable space on-site to manoeuvre the lorry
  • The roadway is stable and suitable for lorries that can weigh up to (approximately) 32 tonnes
  • There are qualified people available on-site with the appropriate lifting equipment to be able to load the tipper truck if it has been hired for a muckaway or site clearance service

If some of the above statements can’t be applied to your project, it would be best to consider hiring a grab lorry, roro (rollonoff) or skip. For further advice, please contact our sales team on 01202 579579.  

Top 5 jobs our tipper trucks complete in and around Bournemouth

Further information and orders

To place an order or to discuss your own project with one of our experts, please contact our tipper truck sales team on 01202 579579

Why are more and more businesses using our bagged aggregates?

our bagged aggregates

Our selection of top quality primary and recycled bagged aggregates makes Avon Material Supplies the number one choice for businesses, contractors and individuals requiring aggregates in Dorset.

The recycled aggregates we sell are manufactured onsite at Canford Recycling Centre using a range of state of the art equipment including a washing plant, crushers and modern screeners.

Demand for our recycled materials continues to increase because contractors and their clients understand aggregates are affordable, ideal for many purposes and more environmentally friendly than harvesting further natural resources.

Uses of our bagged aggregates

Some of our aggregates serve functional purposes such as forming pipe bedding, acting as a capping layer, being used in bricklaying and mixing to produce a fine strong concrete.

Other aggregates are used for decorative purposes such as DIY applications, gardening and landscaping. These decorative aggregates Poole make for attractive additions to any garden or driveway.

AMS are bagged aggregates & washed sharp sand suppliers.

The most popular of our bagged aggregates includes:

To see our full selection of primary and recycled aggregates click here.

If you choose to buy one of our bulk bags of aggregates, your purchase will be delivered by one of our tipper trucks or grab lorries.

Our bagged aggregate delivery service is available to businesses and individuals throughout the BH postcode area including Poole, Bournemouth, Wimborne, Ringwood and beyond.


Alternatively, if you have an appropriate vehicle, you can collect Dorset aggregates from Canford Recycling Centre in Wimborne.

If you wish to visit our site to pick up your bagged aggregates, please ensure that you pre-order so that your purchase is all bagged up and ready for you to collect at an allocated time.

To learn more about our bulk bags of primary and recycled aggregates, contact the AMS team today on 01202 579579. If you would like to arrange a collection of bagged aggregates from our Canford site, call 01202 810935.