Sands & Aggregates Analysis

Sand = the naturally occurring fine rock fragments and mineral grains that can be used in a mortar with grain sizes generally less than 4mm.

Aggregate = naturally occurring or mechanically crushed rock fragments and mineral grains that can be used as a bulk filler in mortars and for surface finishes.

Sands & Aggregates Analysis

Mortars are made from two key ingredients; a binder (e.g. lime/cement/clay) and an aggregate. Getting your aggregate choice right is essential for the success of your work; it dictates the appearance and, to a large extent, the physical properties of your mortar, plus workability for the contractor.

The SLCT Sands & Aggregates Database

At the Scottish Lime Centre Trust we believe we hold the UK’s only database of commercially available aggregates, which includes physical samples and gradings (carried out using British Standard sieves) of each of the materials. The Sands & Aggregates Database was started back in 1995 for Scotland but, along with our network of clients, it is expanding to cover the whole of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Our aggregate matching and identification services are still slightly limited outside of Scotland but whilst we’re building these services we’ll do our best to help you to identify the correct aggregates for your work, which may include directly sourcing and grading your locally available aggregates for you if they’re not already in our records. We are constantly updating our database to ensure that our data reflects the materials currently being produced.

Matching & Identification

We use our Sands & Aggregates Database to provide a unique matching service, which is automatically included as part of our standard mortar analysis service. This is also available as a standalone service if you provide us with an aggregate that you would like to match or if you would like to match the aggregate in an existing mortar without a full analysis. Further uses for the database have been to find matching harl chips to enable seamless patch repairs and also identifying where mortars have been mixed ‘off specification’ with regard to the aggregate.

This database is ideal for you if:

  • you want to find a currently available aggregate that matches the aggregate present in a historic mortar;
  • you want to locate a specific type of aggregate (e.g. concrete sand) near the site on which you’re working;
  • you would like the details of the aggregates being produced by a specific quarry.

Example of Information Provided from the SLCT Sands & Aggregates Database (1.4 MB)  



The map below shows all of the quarry locations for which we currently hold recent (2010 oldest) sand and aggregate samples. Each of these samples has been graded and additional observations made such as % void ratio. If you wish to enquire about a particular quarry marked on the map please quote our unique quarry number that will be displayed when you click on the marker.


View SLCT Sands & Aggregates Database in a larger map

Aggregate Sourcing

If you are looking for a specific grade of sand near your site then we can help you to locate a suitable material.

Perhaps you have a specific quarry in mind, get in touch and we can advise on the appropriateness of the materials being produced (based on our records) for use in your project.

Remember, no two aggregates are ever quite the same, even if they're both described in the same way:

Building Sand (SQ.8b)

Building Sand 1

Building Sand (SQ.27a)

Building Sand 2

Concrete Sand (SQ.224a)

Concrete Sand 1

Concrete Sand (SQ.140a)

Concrete Sand 2

Get in touch about sands & aggregates

Scottish Lime Centre Trust is a charity registered in Scotland No: SCO22692

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