If you have a paver patio, walkway, or driveway and the sand needs to be replenished between the pavers, there are two alternatives. The best alternative is to use polymeric sand, which bonds the pavers together, keeps out weeds, and is less susceptible to ants.
Polymeric sand is a granular material placed between the joints or seams in paver patios, walkways, and driveways. Its primary function is to improve the interlock and therefore the durability and stability of a paved surface. The sand would be swept between the joints of a paver patio or walkway, and its mere presence would enhance the interlock between pavers via friction between the pieces of pavement, thus resisting movement of the pavers. Regular jointing sand would be stabilized by applying a sealer to the pavement; the sealer would help maintain certain characteristics of the pavers or stone and would harden the uppermost layer of joint sand, making it resistant to water washouts, ants, and weeds. You can ask about sealers as it is an extra charge.
More recently, sand with polymers added to it has been quickly growing in popularity for this purpose. Its use has all but eliminated sand being washed out during a big rain storm. The polymeric sand provides a near-perfect prevention of weeds between pavers, washout resistance, and a barrier against ants.
In addition, polymeric sand provides greater durability of the pavement. With polymeric sand in place in a paver patio or pathway, water has less opportunity to seep below the hard wearing surface of the pavement and into the sand and/or crushed stone below. Without water beneath the pavement, silt and sand have no ability to migrate from one area to another, and the drier base and sub-base are less likely to deform under traffic loads because water, the great lubricator, is nowhere to be found. This means your paver patio or walkway look perfect longer when polymeric sand is used to fill the joints.
For the polymeric sand to adequately firm up in the seams between brick pavers or stone, the full depth of the joint needs to be filled with polymeric sand. Adding a bit of polymeric sand on top of existing joint sand will only provide a shallow depth of sand with an activated polymer, making it unable to resist ants, weeds, or washout/erosion. When we re-sand a patio or any interlocking brick work with poly jointing sand, we first clean out all existing sand and weeds from between the pavers. We will then apply a government approved weed killer between the pavers to ensure that any weed roots remaining are killed.
Once the sand has been swept in, we take special care to ensure that no stray sand is sitting on the face of the pavers. We check in corners, along steps, and anywhere else sand has a tendency to collect and use a blower to gently clean off that last bit of sand prior to wetting.
We start at the highest point of your interlocking brick work, gently spraying a water mist over the paved area, working toward the lowest part of the paved area, lightly soaking the pavers and sand. The objective is to try to wash any remaining poly sand dust or particles off the surface of the pavers while not washing the sand from between the joints. The water mist activates the polymers, which will begin to harden the sand. We then allow the sand to cure/set for 10-15 minutes, then mist the area again with a light spray of water.
The sand may take a full 24 hours to completely activate and harden, but it only takes 20 minutes or so in a sunny area for the joint sand to harden enough that it does not adhere to your boots and get deposited elsewhere on the face of the pavers.
Polymeric sand is the perfect solution for weeds, ants, and stabilizing your patio, but it must be installed properly. We do not recommend doing this job yourself, The other alternative is to use regular silica or common jointing sand but be prepared to redo the job again in about 2 years. You will also not get as good a weed control as with polymeric sand.
This process costs $1.98 per square foot, but we offer a three warranty against weeds returning. You should not have to re-apply the polymer for a minimum of five years.
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