07 Aug

What Are The Different Types Of Aggregates & Their Uses?

There’s no doubt about it – aggregates are the foundation of any building or DIY project. Not only are they a key ingredient in concrete and screed, they are also essential for sub-bases, but plastering, rendering, drainage systems, and surfaces – not to mention they also look mighty good as a decorative touch for a garden. 

In this article, we’ll take you through some aggregate key players, exploring how they can help your project get off the ground. So, why not have a butcher’s? 

10mm Shingle 

10mm shingle picture

Characteristics: Also called pea gravel, 10mm shingle stones are small and colourful, so they can give your garden a bit of pizzazz. It can also be used for more practical applications, such as drainage, as water can easily move through the gaps. 

What is it used for: 

  • Decorative outdoor landscaping 
  • Borders & flowerbeds 
  • Driveways & pathways 
  • Drainage, soakaways and pipe beds 

20mm Shingle 

20mm shingle picture

Characteristics: Slightly larger than pea gravel, 20mm shingle is great for driveways, bedding for large pipes or simply to combine it with cement to make concrete – ta da! Thanks to the larger gaps in between the stones, more water can fill the voids before it is saturated, making it a key player for drainage applications. It’s also less likely to scatter than 10mm, which is worth bearing in mind. 

What is it used for: 

  • Bedding for large pipes 
  • Decorative outdoor landscaping e.g. flower beds 
  • Driveways 
  • Combined with cement to make concrete 

Coarse Sharp Sand 

Coarse Sharp Sand picture

Characteristics: The clue’s in the name. This sand has coarse particles which are quite angular, sharp and heavier than other types. 

What is it used for: 

  • Paving
  • Driveways
  • Block laying 
  • An ingredient of screed and concrete 

Fine Sharp Sand 

Fine sharp sand

Characteristics: As it has a finer grain than its coarse counterpart, fine sharp sand is used in plastering and rendering where a smoother finish is required. 

What is it used for: 

  • Plastering 
  • Rendering 
  • Pointing
  • Dry-packing 

Soft Sand 

Soft sand picture

Characteristics: Also called building sand or bricklaying sand, this aggregate is very fine and looks like it’s come straight from the beach. Close up, the grains are also round and smooth – this makes it ideal for plastering and rendering, though it is most commonly used in brickwork. 

What is it used for: 

  • Bricklaying and block work 
  • Pointing
  • Plastering, rendering 
  • Landscaping/gardening 

MOT Type 1 

MOT type 1 picture


Characteristics: As a multi-purpose crushed aggregate, MOT Type 1 can be used for a variety of commercial and domestic applications. It consists of a combination of limestone, granite and concrete, and sometimes other types of stone. This variety means that there is a range of particle sizes present, ranging from fine dust to bigger and more granular size stones. This makes it a stable, load-bearing aggregate, perfect for sub-bases. 

What is it used for: 

  • Sub-bases for driveways, patios, walkways, construction jobs etc. 
  • Trench fills and back fills 
  • High-traffic areas 

Crushed Concrete 

Crushed concrete picture


Characteristics: It is what it says on the tin – concrete that is crushed. Usually it is taken from recycled sources or collected from demolition sites or as excess from construction projects. 

What is it used for: 

  • Strong sub-base
  • Roads
  • Car parks 

Searching for some trusty aggregates for your next project? Here at Hitchcock & King, we’ve got your DIY and building supplies sorted, and can provide top quality aggregates for a variety of purposes. Just give us a ring and we’ll get cracking on your order – we serve a wide area of London and beyond.