What is Polymeric Sands guide, Building pavers locking advice, Home landscape design advice

What Is Polymeric Sand

7 February 2022

Thinking of installing a new walkway or patio this coming summer?

If so, it’s best to learn a few important things about polymeric sand as there is a high chance you will be using it. Often relied upon by landscape professionals and contractors, polymeric sand locks pavers in place and helps achieve flawless results throughout landscapes.

Not just that, it also prevents insect infestations and weed growth, offering all-around protection and durability to concrete floors. But what exactly is polymer sand, and how is it different from regular sand?

Keep reading this article to get all the answers to your questions.

What is Polymeric Sands

What Is Polymeric Sand?

Polymeric sand, also called jointing sand, is a type of sand used to fill the empty paver joints. It comprises fine grains of sand combined with various additives that form a binding agent when in contact with water. One such additive is silica, which is often used to help lock the fine sand particles together.

Now, as the sand particles start fusing, the joint between the empty spaces of each paver becomes more robust, which ensures that they stay locked together in one place. This makes the pavers durable and eliminates the risk of ant infestation and weed growth, thereby retaining their overall aesthetic appeal.

That is why landscape contractors mainly use polymeric sand for most of their paver projects.

How To Use Polymeric Sand?

Polymeric sand is mainly used when the landscape contractors need to lock each paver in place.

The first step is applying polymeric sand properly into the gaps between the pavers. Then, compact the pavers to ensure that the poly sand spreads evenly into each crack. You can repeat this process a few times so that the sand surrounds the pavers completely.

Next, add a final layer between the pavers without any compaction. Also, ensure that there is no excess polymeric sand on the surface of the pavers as it can harden and create an unpleasant blemish. You can clear the excess polymeric sand away using a leaf blower or a sweeper.

Once you have a clear surface, spray a light mist of water over the pavers to activate the binding agent and wait for 24 hours for the paver to lock.

What is Polymeric Sands

What Is Regular Sand?

The issue with polymeric sand is that it requires extreme precision and attention to detail when applied, so it is not used in all landscaping projects. And that is where regular sand comes into the picture. This construction material doesn’t feature bonding agents but only fine sand particles that work to form a long-lasting and tough crack filler.

So, why would one opt for polymeric sand instead of regular sand? Let’s find out in the next section.

Why Choose Polymeric Sand Over Regular Sand?

These are the reasons polymeric sand is preferred over regular sand for paver installation:
1. Quick And Simple Installation
Installing polymeric sand is faster and more simple. Furthermore, there is hardly any room for error, just follow the instructions, and you are good to go. However, remember that you need to activate the bonding agents with water after the application process for it to work.

Also, don’t forget to clear the excess polymeric sand for a durable surface and polished finish.
2. Insect/Weed Control
Polymeric sand can prevent weeds and burrowing insects from ruining paver joints, which, in our opinion, is one of its greatest benefits. On the other hand, regular sand will most likely slow down the infestation of insects and weed growth after installation but will not stop them permanently.

What is Polymeric Sands
3. Appearance
Once paver sand or polymeric sand are applied, it is tough to tell the difference without looking closely. However, with regular sand, you can easily point out the difference between the surface and the sand. Here, polymeric sand, which blends in with the surface, has the edge over regular sand.

Furthermore, polymeric sand provides a cleaner look than regular sand as the binding agents of the former ensure that the sand particles stay intact. On the other hand, regular sand can easily be blown or kicked out of the joints.

Thus, it’s safe to say that polymeric sand does a better job than regular sand in terms of the appearance of the paver. Not to mention, it comes in different colors, allowing the users to choose from a vast range as per their requirements.
4. Increased Durability
There is no denying that landscaping is a tough task. And hence you would want to ensure that the life expectancy of your project is maximized to avoid working on it again in the near future. So, the durability of the joint of your sand is a crucial factor that you should consider.

While regular paver sand needs a touch-up every two years, polymeric sand can stay intact for up to a decade if applied properly. But having said that, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that regular paver sand will wash away entirely in just two years.

Additionally, you’ll have to ensure that your pavers are well-maintained to prevent any type of shifting.
5. Price
As far as the prices are concerned, polymeric sand is more expensive than regular paver sand. However, it’s worth every buck you spend because it ensures you get an increased life expectancy and durability of the project.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some of the frequently asked questions that we have answered in an attempt to clear any further doubts that you might be having. We hope you find them helpful.

1. When should I not use polymeric sand?

It is best not to use polymeric sand on narrow joints because the sand often gets pushed. Similarly, you should avoid using this sand on joints that are too wide as they allow too much water flow, which could lead to a washout.

2. Is polymeric sand permeable?

Generally, polymeric sand is semi-permeable because the amount of water that passes through them often varies. That said, by nature, polymeric sand is less permeable than regular paver sand, which makes it more durable than the latter.

3. Can I use polymeric sand for travertine pavers?

Yes, you can do it, but it might not be the best idea as travertine pavers must be laid with small joint gaps. While regular sand can be pushed through these small cracks, polymeric sand needs a larger space to produce a strong bond.

4. What is paver sealant?

Often used with polymeric sand, a paver sealant is a material applied to pavers and the joints. It protects your pavers from color fading and stains. In addition to that, it can even enhance the strength of your patio and walkway joints.

5. How long before I can walk on polymeric sand?

The best result is achieved only when all the polymeric sand is removed from the surface. Therefore, we strongly recommend you allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before walking on it.

6. How many times do I need to water polymeric sand?

To activate it fully, you need to water the Polymeric Sand at least three to four times. If you want to make sure if the bond has received enough water or not, pull out some sand and check if it is moist throughout the joint.

7. Does polymeric sand soften during heavy rain?

It doesn’t get washed away or removed that easily during heavy rain, unlike regular sand. In fact, it remains stable and in place.

What is Polymeric Sands Final Thoughts

On that note, we have come to the end of our informative guide. And we hope that it has helped you gain some valuable insights into the uses of polymeric sand and its advantages.

Besides a quick and straightforward installation process, polymeric sand offers better durability, aesthetic appeal, and weed control than regular paver sand. So, if you are looking to install a paver patio in the near future, be sure to apply polymeric sand. With that last bit of advice, it is time for us to sign off.

Hope to see you soon!

Comments on this guide to what is Polymeric Sands article are welcome.

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