Uni-stone Pavers and Polymeric Sand

Polymeric sand is what professional uni-stone installers use to ensure a filler that is not bothered by the erosion of seasonal weather.

Wnen you open up a bag of polymeric sand and you find it looks like ordinary, free-flowing sand, but it is how it behaves when you put it down. But unlike regular sand, the polymeric product firms up in reaction with water and forms a barrier unlike using normal sand.

Installing polymeric sand is not that complicated and if you follow the instructions below will be fairly simple.

When you are installing polymeric sand in a new paving brick installation? There’s nothing different you need to do while putting the bricks down. If you’ve got an existing pathway that had ordinary sand applied originally, then you need to clean out all the gaps of old sand with a pressure washer. You must create a brand new installation, minus the laying of pavers of course. The main thing to understand about polymeric sand is that it must be installed on a dry surface.

Polymeric sand is activated by water, and it turns quite liquid even with a little moisture. You need dry conditions, with no chance of rain for a day. Check with weather man before starting project.

Spreading polymeric sand begins the same as with normal paver installation. Pour a thin layer as smoothly as possible over the whole pathway surface, then use a stiff-bristled push broom to spread the sand around and begin working it into the gaps.

The trick is to use a a gas-powered vibrator afterwards. This vibrates the sand deep down into the gaps, an essential part of any long-lasting installation.

The broom alone might seem to do a good job, but don’t be fooled. It actually leaves behind hidden gaps that lead to sand collapse later. Don’t skip the compactor.

With all brick gaps fully filled with sand, you’re about to face the most important part of the job: pre-activation cleaning. Since poly sand turns goopy when wet, you must have the surface of the bricks completely and absolutely clean before applying water.

Any sand remaining on the surface will mar the appearance of the brick, so be diligent. Use a soft-bristled broom to move all remaining surface sand into the gaps, going over the surface at least twice, just to make sure.

Now it’s time to activate the sand, and success here requires finesse. You need to gently apply a fine spray of water to moisten the sand, but not so much that it moves any sand up and out of the brick gaps.

It’s a balancing act, so be careful. After an initial misting, let the sand begin to firm up for 15 or 20 minutes, then add more water while watching carefully. Before you’re done, you need to apply enough water to wet the entire depth of sand you’ve added. This could take three or four or five wettings, just be careful.

The danger is that you apply water too fast, causing surface sand to be washed out of the gaps and onto the bricks. When you think you’ve wet the surface enough, take a framing nail or three-inch deck screw and burrow down into a joint gap just to be sure. If it’s not wet all the way, keep up the misting and pausing cycle.

Polymeric sand isn’t foolproof, and it doesn’t eliminate all the problems encountered with regular sand, but it’s still more than worthwhile. Use it to get the most from your paving brick installation and you’ll spend more time enjoying the look, without fretting that ordinary sand washes away so easily.

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