White mortar.... suggested mixes

5 Nov 2013
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United Kingdom
Hi, I've just laid some white paving and am looking to fill the joints (~7/8" wide) with whitish mortar. However I'm having difficultly locating white sand anywhere. b&q list it but in reality no stores stock it. I tried a mix of white cement (snowcrete) and sand 1:1, but my builders sand is almost red and so the result is yellow.

Is there any alternative way to get white mortar that I'm missing? I've heard of cement dyes, but is it possible to turn a mix of red builders sand to white with a dye?
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A light yellow sand and white cement will be as near as you can get
Ok, think I've nailed it. Wickes sell it as "Paving Sand", also known as Silver or Gardening sand but other merchants.
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I noted (or presume) that you got your Builders Sand from B&Q.

Just for coment, at my local B&Q the Builders Sand is 'Red' (Left Bag) and at my local Wickes the Builders Sand is 'Yellow' (Right Bag). I understand that this is due to regional differences.

But if you are off to Wikes you might want to see what colour the Builders Sand is there and compare it with their Paving Sand.

s_Buliders Sand.jpg
Ok, you've caught me out. When I said my builder's sand "is almost red", it's actually much closer to your wickes sand than the stuff on the left. I had no idea sand came such a deep shade of red!
Robin, "I had no idea sand came such a deep shade of red!"
Neither did I until I bought this from B&Q in a rush as needed one last bag to finish my DIY at 3:45 on Sunday, and did not notice the colour change until too late.
I'm now still swearing at some pointing that is redder than the other, and have half a bag of bright red sand that I keep meaning to get rid of. :>
Mix ratio 1:1 is a bit strong ! 3:1 is better
Ok, I've since learnt that paving sand is washed sharp sand, whereas silver sand is whiter to start with (~pure silica sand). A local merchant sells silver sand and lime so I'm thinking a 1:1:2 snowcrete:lime:silver sand mix, or even 1:1:3
Job done. Wickes kiln dried paving sand is just over £5 a bag but when mixed with snowcrete 3:1 gives a light cream colour. Perfect for what I wanted


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Thanks for update - always good to know what works for future use.
Looks good, SFK

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