Construction Glossary and Terms


Sand is a natural sediment of granular, mainly siliceous, products of rock weathering. Particles are smaller than 2 mm, are visible to the naked eye and the smallest size is 0.06 mm. Sand is gritty, has no real plasticity and can be easily powdered by hand when dry.

Dense, compact gravel and sand requires a pick to excavate for foundation trenches. A test of the suitability of these soils as a foundation is that it is difficult to drive a 5 mm wooden peg more than some 150 mm into compact gravel or sand.

As a foundation for small buildings, such as a house, it is sufficient to spread and level a continuous strip of concrete in the excavated trenches as a level base for load bearing walls.

Figure 2 is a diagram illustrating a strip foundation. The continuous strip of concrete is spread in the trenches excavated down to an undisturbed level of compact soil. The strip of concrete may well need to be no wider than the thickness of the wall. In practice the concrete strip will generally be wider than the thickness of the wall for the convenience of covering the whole width of the trench and to provide a wide enough level base for bricklaying below ground. A continuous strip foundation of concrete is the most economic form of foundation for small buildings on compact soils.

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