What is Polymeric Sand?
Imagine that not long after installing a beautiful paver patio you walk outside to notice that the pavers are skewed slightly after a heavy rain, or there are little weeds sprouting up through the cracks between the pavers. The brand new project you thought was finished now needs even more work and repairs. This could have been avoided with the application of a simple product: polymeric sand. Despite sounding like a complicated product that would have a warning label on it, polymeric sand is actually quite the miracle to a paver patio. Polymeric sand is a combination of fine graded sand and extra additives such as silica and various polymers which, when activated with water, form a bonding material akin to a flexible concrete in between the pavers. It is a highly beneficial product to use, it is relatively easy to install, and comes in a couple different types and colors to match what your project needs.
Polymeric Sand Benefits
The primary benefit of polymeric sand over using regular sand is that it hardens up. By solidifying and bonding to the surround pavers, it provides an extra line of strength to keep the pavers together and to help prevent shifting. By sealing off the paver joints when it bonds it also prevents weed growth up through and burrowing insects from the top. It even helps prevent water damage from heavy rains as much of the rain water will not be able to seep under the pavers, therefore damaging the foundation underneath.
All of these benefits are only in effect if it is installed properly. While not being an overly complicated installation process, it needs to be done properly in order for it to work.
How to use Polymeric Sand
The first step is always to make sure the paver joints are cleaned out; any dirt, sand, or debris needs to be removed. Once cleaned the sand needs to be swept into the joints with a hard bristle broom and, if necessary, vibrated with a vibratory plate compactor. When the joints are filled properly, sweep off any excess polymeric sand as it can cause hazing once watered. Then the sand gets misted down with a garden hose which will activate the bonding agents and start hardening the sand which will be fully set in an hour or two.
Polymeric Sand vs Polymeric Dust
There are two kinds of polymeric sand to choose from which will depend on what kind of pavers you have installed; there is standard polymeric sand and polymeric dust. Polymeric sand is used in paver patios with joints up to around 2” where polymeric dust is used in joints larger than 2” and can work up to 6”. Polymeric dust is generally used in irregular flagstone installations where the joints are wider and varied. The sand and dust both come in a variety of colors to match your patio depending on the manufacturer.
Polymeric sand is an essential in most modern paver patios. It provides unparalleled protection for water damage, weed growth, and insects while being both easy to install and satisfying your personal color choices.