It is no longer a secret that pavers are the best option in hardscape design. The versatility they provide in combination with the wide array of options of materials makes pavers a top-end choice for the vast majority of projects. When it comes to the installation process of pavers, one of the most common questions people have is if they should use polymeric sand for pavers. So let’s answer that in this article.
To understand the impacts of using regular sand or polymeric sand on pavers, first, there are some things we need to talk about in regards to the maintenance and installation of pavers. Once that is clear, we can discuss how each sand performs differently.
Polymeric Sand for Pavers: Why do We Use Sand?
Pavers are independent blocks of a certain type of material, but when used together they become part of a larger structure.
This structure that pavers form is incredibly resistant. Mainly due to the natural sturdiness of the individual blocks, but also because the pavers can slightly move around between each other. Because of that movement, the weight on top of the structure is better distributed and the pavers deform slightly rather than withstanding the full pressure of the weight.
For that effect to happen optimally and the pavers perform at full capacity, they are installed in what is called an interlocking system, where sand is added between each paver so they are free to move as they need, yet are firmly locked in place.
This sand is added both at the bottom of the pavers before they are set in place at the moment of the installation as well as between them at the last step of the installation. And that’s where the difference between regular sand and polymeric sand becomes important.
The Function of Sand in Paver Installation
Sand is the perfect material to create that interlocking system that allows pavers to move while maintaining them secure in place.
Technically, you can use any kind of sand for that purpose. However, there’s an important piece of information regarding the durability of your paver installation that will give you some clarity about the difference between regular sand and polymeric sand.
The grout lines between the pavers are a perfect environment for weeds, mold, and mildew to grow. They are a dark and humid place, often filled with leaves and all kinds of biological material. That is the ideal spot for mold and weeds to grow, and those are things that can completely ruin your pavers if left unchecked.
Since pavers are so dependent on good bedding and good conditions of the sand between them, the development of mold and weed can deteriorate the whole structure. That’s why the maintenance and regular cleaning of pavers are so important.
In this aspect lies the pivotal difference between regular sand and polymeric sand.
Why is Polymeric Sand the Best Option
Putting it very simply, polymeric sand prevents the growth of any biological life amongst the grout lines of pavers. That includes mold, mildew, weeds, and even insects.
Polymeric sand, unlike regular sand, is not a natural material. While regular sand is made out of a combination of tiny particles of several different minerals, polymeric sand is a mand made material. To be more precise, it is a combination of selected small minerals with the addition of silica.
That creates a special kind of sand that forms a very powerful bond when in contact with water. This, as well as the silica additives, creates an airtight locked space between the pavers, which prevents weeds and mold from growing altogether.
Regular sand works well, but it does not prevent biological life from growing on the grout lines and it doesn’t keep the pavers as tightly locked as polymeric sand. Polymeric sand also lasts much longer than regular sand, for years and years with proper care and maintenance.
Professional Installation and Maitenance
So, as we discussed, the right kind of sand is pivotal for the successful installation of pavers. And a good installation is the first step to ensure your investment pays off and your pavers last for years on end. The second step is the appropriate maintenance of the pavers, taking special care against the mold and weed that might appear in the grout lines.
That’s why polymeric sand is the correct choice of sand for paver installation. It helps with all that and is the better long-term option. Aside from that, a professional installation is also a must if you want to be absolutely sure you will end up having the best possible project.
We here at S&S Pavers can help with the installation and maintenance of pavers, amongst any other paver needs you might have. We have been providing only the best work throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties, in FL, for the last ten years.