Installing pavers is not exactly easy, but it is far from impossible. With planning and patience, a paver patio installation can become a fun DIY project over a long weekend. And a paver installation is only complete when you sand the entire area, preferably with polymeric sand, which is a kind of sand designed for that purpose. So how to apply polymeric sand to your paver installation?
Before talking about how to apply the polymeric sand itself, we want to expand on the importance of using it over regular sand and the importance of properly sanding pavers as a whole.
How to Apply Polymeric Sand? – The Importance of Sanding a Paver Installation
Sanding a paver patio is a pivotal part of its installation process. The combination of sand and pavers is what actually makes the interlocking system that pavers provide so efficient and sought after. Without the proper sanding, the entire objective of choosing pavers in the first place might go unfulfilled.
This is due to the fact that the malleable system that distributes force and makes pavers one of the best long-term choices in hardscape design is only possible due to the combination of sand and pavers. While the sand keeps the pavers tightly locked in place, it allows them to slightly move around and withstand heavyweights.
So, as you can see, sanding is extremely important and can be the difference between a long-lasting installation and one that can give you headaches sooner than you expect.
Why use Polymeric Sand?
Regular sand and polymeric sand are almost completely different materials. Polymeric sand is created with a unique combination of minerals and silica additives. That creates a type of sand that, when mixed with water, creates a powerful binding agent. This is what makes polymeric sand superior to regular sand from a structural perspective.
Besides that structural superiority, polymeric sand creates an airtight space between the pavers where no biological life can grow. That means it also prevents mold, mildew, and weeds to grow between the grout lines of your paver installation. These things, if left unchecked, can completely ruin your installation.
Another advantage of polymeric sand, now from an aesthetic point of view, is that it can come in different colors. You can pick one that better fits your hardscape design, or even incorporate it in your project altogether.
How to Apply Polymeric Sand: Tools and Warnings
To sand your paver installation like a pro you’re going to need the following tools:
- Hard Bristle Broom
- Plate Compactor
- Fine Bristle Broom
- Leaf Blower
- Hose (Shower Setting)
Now that you know the tools you’re going to need, there’s a very important disclaimer before starting your sanding project: check the forecast.
Polymeric sand should be installed in dry conditions, so rain is a big factor. It must not have rained at least 24 hours before your sanding day. Always check to see if your pavers are completely dry before starting the sand process.
How to Apply Polymeric Sand: 6 Easy Steps
1 – Pour the Sand
To start, pour the sand into the grout lines between the pavers, letting it overflow as you go.
2 – First Sweep
Using the hard bristle broom, sweep the sand all around the pavers, directing them to the grout lines and spreading it evenly across the entire area.
3 – Plate Compactor
Time to put the plate compactor to work and force the sand even further down the grout lines of the pavers. You can go back and forth between sweeping and compacting as many times as needed to make sure the joints are fully compacted with sand.
4 – Second Sweep and Blowing
You’re going to sweep again, but this time using the fine bristle broom. The objective of this second sweep is to get rid of the excess sand in the pavers. Use the leaf blower to get rid of difficult patches of sand that are resistant to the broom.
5 – Water
Setting your garden hose to shower mode, now it’s time to add water to the sand so the polymers can activate and do their job. Carefully wet the pavers, one small area at a time. When you see small puddles forming on that pavers, that’s when you know when to stop.
6 – Dry Clean
Here the leaf blower appears again to help you dry the entire patio. Get rid of any remaining water and any excess sand, and congratulate yourself for a job well done.
As you could see, sanding your pavers, unlike the full installation process, is easy. Installing pavers can get tricky. It involves a lot of calculations, digging, and planning. Again, is not impossible to DIY, but get ready to do a lot of heavy work. And even so, you might end up with a not optimal installation.
The best way to make sure you will have the paver patio of your dreams is to hire professional help. And if you happen to be around the Sarasota and Manatee Counties, in FL, you’re in luck, because here at S&S Pavers we work with the best professionals in the area.