Q. I need to use polymeric sand on an upcoming job. I’ve never used it before and some of the instructions and videos I’ve watched are confusing and have conflicting information in them. Have you used this material before? Did you find it hard to work with? I’m terrified of having mottled stains on my new pavers! What did you do to ensure your job came out perfect?
A. Polymeric sand is a newer product that’s creating lots of interest among homeowners, contractors and material suppliers that sell the product. It’s fascinating to me to see how many building products mature as they march through time.
When concrete paving brick was first brought to market back in the early 1980s, the joints between the bricks were just filled with fine sand. It didn’t take long for homeowners to grow dissatisfied with this because weeds would quickly grow and any cleaning efforts washed away the sand.
Polymeric sand is best described as outdoor grout. Depending on the manufacturer, it’s a blend of different colored sand grains as well as chemical binders or glues that are activated by water. When the polymers dry and cure the sand between the joints gets quite hard and it cements the pavers together. Weeds won’t grow between the joints and the sand doesn’t wash away.
Some polymeric sand might have a blend of Portland cement and dry colored pigments as well as the polymer adhesives. The key point here is that you can get the sand mixture in different colors that will match or compliment the color of your pavers. You can even use the polymeric sand on existing paver installations that have just sand in the joints, but it’s…