WHAT IS POLYMERIC SAND AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT
There are many materials that are crucial to construction that few outside the industry understand. Polymeric sand definitely falls into this category. While its name sounds technical, what it is and what it does is pretty simple. It’s the material should be used as the final step for any hardscaping project utilizing pavers.
Having your hardscaping installed by a professional hardscape contractor is important. Working with a pro ensures that your project is installed correctly from the excavation to the finishing step, polymeric sand.
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Let’s look at what it is, what it’s used for and why professional installation is essential when it comes to patio design and construction.
WHAT IS POLYMERIC SAND?
Polymeric sand is used to fill in the joints of a concrete, brick or stone paver project. It’s made from fine sand combined with various additives and chemicals like silica. When it is brushed into the joints of your patio and mixed with water, a chemical reaction occurs forming a binding agent. The binding agent locks the sand particles together, which helps to lock and stabilize the pavers together.
WHY POLYMERIC SAND IS IMPORTANT
While you can use plain sand in paver joints, polymeric sand is a better material. Polymeric sand is superior to regular sand in many key ways including:
• It improves durability – the binding agents in the sand act to lock your pavers together. This gives your patio more strength over the long term.
• Heavy rain will not wash it away – Regular sand can wash away causing water to seep into the base materials which can become unstable over time. Polymeric sand significantly reduces the amount of water that can make its way between pavers.
• Polymeric sand can reduce weed growth – Weeds can grow almost anywhere, including in paver joints. While polymeric sand will not guarantee that weeds will not grow, it can considerably reduce weed growth.
• It is resistant to pests like ants – Ants have a difficult time making their home in paver joints where polymeric sand is used.
• It comes in a variety of colors – Polymeric sand comes in a variety of shades of beige and gray. That means you can use the perfect shade that goes best with your hardscape design. For example, shades in the gray family look great with flagstones, or lighter colored porcelain tiles.
Professional installation of your patio should include the use of polymeric sand as the finishing step. However, there is one slight drawback you should be aware of, polymeric sand can stain certain paver materials, but stains can be removed by scrubbing with vinegar.
FIVE MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN USING POLYMERIC SAND
You’d think that installing polymeric sand is easy, and it is, however, some common mistakes can degrade the effectiveness of the material that must be avoided to ensure proper performance. Here are the five most common mistakes to avoid when using polymeric sand.
1. Choosing substandard material
Not all polymeric sand is the same. A cheaper price point is often a sign that the materials used are of lesser quality. Avoid brands that use portland cement as a binding agent. It can cause staining or leave a haze on pavers. Look for brands that use only high quality clear polymers.
2. Improper watering
Under-watering or over-watering can also cause problems, Too much water applied too quickly can wash away the polymers. To little water can cause topping – which is where the top level of the sand sets – leaving you with a fragile joint. Water so that it reaches at least 2/3rds of the way to the base in order to properly set.
3. Not properly compacting
A tightly compacted joint has the best chances of long-term success. Under-compaction can leave air pockets which can create weak joints that can crack and settle a few years after installation.
4. Don’t Ignore the Weather Forecast
If rain shows up just before or after installation you can have a problem. Installing polymeric sand on a wet or damp surface can cause the sand and polymers to stick to the surface of the pavers where it becomes difficult to remove. Make sure the surface is dry during installation and no rain is in the forecast for 24 to 48 hours after installation.
5. Improper Surface Prep
After sweeping the sand into the joints, use a leaf blower to carefully remove any excess particles. Once the water is applied it can be difficult to clean the surface of the patio if there is polymeric sand left on the surface. When using the leaf blower be careful to not blow the sand out of the joints.
Working with a professional hardscaping contractor can help ensure that your project is installed correctly. If you’re planning a hardscaping project for your Sonoma County home, give the experts at Bayside Pavers a call at 1-866-287-2837. We can help you design the perfect patio, walkway, driveway or pool deck to meet your family’s unique needs. Our knowledgeable team members are ready to help you create the outdoor living space you’ve been dreaming about!
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, our location in Concord, CA at 2455 Bates Ave, Ste K, services East Bay and South Bay homeowners. Our Santa Rosa, CA location at 1619 4th Street Ste 12 can help you with your North Bay hardscaping projects.