Choosing the right jointing compound is vital to the success of your hardscaping project. Before Techniseal released polymeric sand in the early 2000s, options were limited for paving projects.
Contractors used products like silica sand and concrete for paver jointing, but they left gaps in the market. Polymeric sand filled in the gaps and became one of the top products for paver jointing.
Not everyone loves polymeric sand, though. Among contractors, some love it, and some hate it. While there’s nothing wrong with the product on the surface, problems lurk below.
We’re getting into the nitty gritty about polymeric sand today. We’ll discuss the pros and cons and whether it’s the right product for your project.
Let’s get into it!
What is polymeric sand?
Techniseal developed polymeric sand as a paver jointing product, first released in 1999. It combines fine-grained silica sand with additives that bind when exposed to water. Just like traditional sand applications, you simply brush the product onto your dry hardscape. Fill in the cracks and then apply water to activate the binder.
Once it cures, polymeric sand creates a tough yet durable bond that resists weeds and insects. These pests can ruin perfect joints and wreak havoc on a beautiful hardscape. As with any product, there are issues that some contractors encounter.
DIYers have the most problems with the product because the installation instructions are so specific. Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s easier to get wrong than to get right.
What are the benefits of using polymeric sand in between pavers?
Polymeric sand, when applied correctly and in the right environment, is a nearly flawless product. It’s easy to use incorrectly, however, so leave it to the professionals if you decide it’s right for your project. It’s a durable, versatile product that many contractors love.
Comes in a variety of colors
Using polymeric sand allows you to contrast or complement the colors in your design. The product comes in shades of gray, white, red, brown, and black to meet your needs. Regular sweeping sand doesn’t have nearly the diversity of colors of polymeric sand.
And while this doesn’t matter to everyone, matching your jointing compound to your hardscape makes it pop. Whether you’re working with concrete pavers or brick pavers, you’ll find the right shade for your project.
It’s cheaper material
As opposed to stone dust and other jointing products, polymeric sand is a cheaper alternative. Because it doesn’t need sealing, it’s also easier to maintain than regular sand or stone dust. Once it’s set, polymeric sand isn’t going anywhere!
Why we never use polymeric sand for paver sealing
All the positives aside, we never use polymeric sand in our projects. For our humid region, it doesn’t perform as well as other products and can cause more significant problems.
To be fair, some of these issues are common in other jointing products but appear more regularly with polymeric sand.
Polymeric sand is a breeding ground for mold
Joints are usually the low point in any hardscape design. Installing pavers over the wrong substrate or incorrectly applying the product can lead to mold and mildew. Especially in shaded areas or spots that are frequently wet with drainage water, polymeric sand is prone to discoloration and decay.
Less durable than sterile sand
When weeds sprout on polymeric sand, they can damage the entire joint. A tiny sand crack is enough for the product to begin peeling up, providing plenty of space for weeds and insects. For use in driveways or areas that take significant weight, it’s also not recommended.
During installation, under or over-watering can cause a breakdown in the polymer structures. Underwatering creates a crust on the surface that doesn’t allow for solid joints to form. Overwatering dilutes the compounds and degrades the structure.
In humid climates like Florida, polymeric sand breaks down quickly
One of the things that makes polymeric sand a good product also makes it susceptible to erosion. Within the sand grains, there are compounds that make them stick together when wet. Polymeric sand isn’t a great option for a humid climate like Florida.
If you install polymeric sand in the early morning or late afternoon, the humidity can cause it to activate prematurely. This weakens the jointing and can cause several other issues. You may have activated sand sticking to pavers or a haze from the compounds in the sand.
Our sealers have a stabilizing property that help harden and solidify the sand similar to polymeric sand, but with a lot less risk of failing.
Trust Premier Pro Wash & Seal to use the right materials for your pavers!
At Premier Pro Wash & Seal, we use our knowledge of jointing products to protect your investment. Using the wrong jointing compound for your project can result in thousands of dollars in damage. Our expert team knows exactly the right tools to prevent this from happening. If it’s too late, our state-of-the-art equipment can remove the problem.
Check out our website and let us solve your paver sealing project today!