EnviroSand vs. Polymeric Sand: Which to Choose?

EnviroSand vs. Polymeric Sand: Which to Choose?

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If you are laying down pavers, stones, bricks, or anything else of the sort, then you need to seal the joints in between them. This is the case whether you are making a driveway, a walkway, or a nice garden patio.

Two options you have at your disposal for this purpose include EnviroSand and polymeric sand. These materials are both used for the same purpose, but they do have some fundamental differences. Let’s help you figure out which of these two products is best for your situation.

EnviroSand and Polymeric Sand: The Basics

Before we talk about similarities and differences, let’s first figure out what both of these substances are.

What Is EnviroSand?

EnviroSand, as the name implies, is a very special type of environmentally friendly sand designed for sealing the joints in between pavers. What makes it environmentally friendly is the fact that it incorporates an organic plant-based binder.

This is why it is quickly becoming a preferred alternative to polymeric sand. EnviroSand is actually environmentally friendly and completely non-toxic. When mixed with water, a special chemical reaction happens that causes it to form a dough-like substance. Then, as the water dries, the EnviroSand becomes hard.

What Is Polymeric Sand?

Polymeric sand is a man-made type of sand that consists of very fine sand particles, silica, quartz, and other binders, which may be organic or synthetic. One of these binders is usually going to be Portland cement.

When mixed with water, a chemical reaction occurs that then causes the curing process to begin. Curing here happens through drying. Polymeric sand forms an extremely hard and monolithic substance, or in other words, it becomes rock hard. Polymeric sand, like EnviroSand, is also used to seal the joints in between pavers.

Similarities of EnviroSand and Polymeric Sand

Now that we know what both of these paver stone joint sealing products are, let’s figure out what makes them similar.

1. They’re Both Sand

Although all of the other ingredients are different, the most basic ingredient of both of these products is sand, or in other words, very finely crushed stone.

2. The Same Application Process

The application process also makes both of these products similar. With both products, you use a broom to sweep them in between the pavers, then compact the sand down, and then mist the sand with water. The application process is more or less the same, and they should take about the same amount of time to be applied.

3. The Same Use

The main similarity here is that both EnviroSand and polymeric sand are used for the same purposes, sealing the joints in between pavers.

Differences Between EnviroSand and Polymeric Sand

Now that we know what makes these products similar, let’s determine what makes them different.

1. The Formulation

EnviroSand is made out of sand and a natural organic binder. Polymeric sand is made out of sand, silica, quartz, and various organic or synthetic binders, such as Portland cement. Although they do both contain sand, all of the other ingredients are very different.

2. Poly Haze

When using polymeric sand, something known as poly haze can occur. This is when the residue from the sand sticks to the top of the pavers, thus causing white marks. This is simply not an issue that happens within EnviroSand. EnviroSand leaves no such residue behind.

3. Safety Concerns

EnviroSand is safe for the environment and people due to its plant-based binder. However, because polymeric sand contains a lot of silica, inhaling too much of it can lead to a silica-induced lung disease known as silicosis.

4. The Texture and Final Result

Polymeric sand, when it dries and cures, forms a rock-hard monolithic substance. It’s one large piece and it is solid. EnviroSand, on the other hand, is not nearly as solid. It does get quite hard, but it’s actually more of a doughy substance. It retains a whole lot of flexibility.

5. Durability and Longevity

In terms of simple durability and longevity, EnviroSand will be maintenance-free for around two to three years, if not longer. On the other hand, polymeric sand can last for up to 10 or even 15 years before it needs to be replaced. However, as you will see below, EnviroSand is much easier to maintain.

6. Water Permeability

One of the biggest differences here is that polymeric sand is not water permeable. Water will pool up on top of it. EnviroSand, on the other hand, is water permeable, so water can flow away.

7. Weed Resistance

Polymeric sand will eventually crack, thus allowing weeds to grow through. EnviroSand does not crack, and will therefore not allow weeds to grow through. It is extremely weed resistant.

8. Flexibility

EnviroSand also remains extremely flexible when dried. This allows for greater durability and other benefits. Polymeric sand does not remain flexible once dry.

9. Ease of Maintenance – Topping Up

The best part about EnviroSand is the fact that you can easily top it up. When EnviroSand gets wet, it forms a gel-like substance. This, therefore, allows you to apply new sand on top of the old sand.

You simply have to make the whole mass wet, and it will all adhere to each other. As we said, EnviroSand is extremely easy to maintain. This is absolutely not something that can be done with polymeric sand.

EnviroSand vs. Polymeric Sand: Which of the Two Should You Use?

When it comes down to it, EnviroSand is better than polymeric sand in more or less every way. It’s easier to maintain, it’s water permeable, more weed resistant, more flexible, much safer, and more eco-friendly, and it doesn’t cause poly haze either. That said, polymeric sand does tend to be a bit longer-lasting, and much cheaper too, which can be a large factor when it comes to decision making.


EnviroSand and polymeric sand are excellent choices for sealing pavers. Now that you have all of the relevant information, you can make an informed choice between the two.

How Does Polymeric Sand Compare with Other Materials?

Read the articles below to see how polymeric sand compares with: