When it comes to sealing pavers, polymeric sand is absolutely one of the best materials at your disposal. With that being said, there are some things that you need to know about polymeric sand, such as how long it lasts. Today we want to talk about how permanent polymeric sand is, if it degrades over time, and what you can do to make it last longer.
Is Polymeric Sand Permanent?
Whether or not polymeric sand is permanent really depends on what your definition of the word permanent is. If we follow the strict definition of the word permanent, which means that something will last forever, no, polymeric sand is not permanent.
It will not last until the end of time. However, as far as joint sealing materials for pavers go, polymeric sand is fairly permanent in the sense that it does last for quite some time. Typically, if properly applied, polymeric sand should last for at least a decade.
It is certainly more permanent than other substances that may be used, although also less permanent than something like actual cement-based mortar. Mortar is going to last up to 30 years, if not longer if properly applied.
Does Polymeric Sand Degrade Over Time?
Yes, just like most other building materials out there, polymeric sand will wear down over time. It should stay in top condition for at least five years before it starts to degrade. However, there are a variety of factors that can cause polymeric sand to degrade.
First and foremost, if the polymeric sand has not been applied properly, then it will start to degrade much sooner. For instance, if not properly applied, such as if the sand did not all get wet, it may not have hardened. Small sections or large sections of the polymeric sand may not have hardened, which means that loose sand particles can actually blow right out from in between the paver joints.
Moreover, because polymeric sand hardens into a monolithic material, it’s not great in terms of resistance to cracking and water. Over time, due to movement, extreme temperatures, as well as freeze and thaw cycles, polymeric sand can crack. Also, having heavy vehicles constantly rolling over the papers won’t do the polymeric sand any favors either.
Freeze and thaw cycles are one of the biggest threats to the longevity of your polymeric sand. Freezing can cause it to contract, and thawing will cause expansion, which then results in cracking and chipping. Once it cracks, it will start to loosen itself from the pavers and will allow water to flow through.
How Long Does Polymeric Sand Last?
The general rule of thumb here is that decent polymeric sand should last for between 10 and 12 years. It’s only going to last for between five and seven years before it starts to degrade. However, after about 10 years, it is probably going to require a good deal of maintenance or even total replacement.
With that being said, there are some higher-end types of polymeric sand out there that come from trusted brand names, which are said to last up to up to 15 years. Whether or not polymeric sand can last for 15 years, however, is questionable. It could always just be a marketing tactic, as most experts say that 10 or 12 years at the most is the limit.
7 Things You Can Do to Make Polymeric Sand Last Longer
Let’s now talk about a few great ways to help you get the longest possible lifespan out of your polymeric sand.
1. Go for the Good Stuff
For the longest-lasting results, you will need the best possible polymeric sand your money can buy. Some brands are known for using high-quality polymers and sand, which allows their products to last longer. Therefore, we recommend doing some research on what the best polymeric sand brands are.
2. Always Read the Label
Needless to say, different products have to be applied in slightly different ways. Therefore, to make your polymeric sand last longer, always read the label and follow the instructions as closely as possible.
3. Compact the Pavers
One of the most important steps when using polymeric sand to seal paver joints is to compact everything down. Whatever method you use, the sand and the pavers need to be compacted. This will ensure that the sand forms one monolithic structure so that there are no cracks.
4. The Right Amount of Water
Although it will vary from one type of polymeric sand to another, using the exact amount of water as instructed is essential. Using either too little or too much water can have disastrous consequences for the overall result.
5. The Weather On and After Application Day
Polymeric sand won’t properly dry or cure if it rains within about 48 hours after application. Therefore, when applying it, you absolutely need to make sure that the weather is dry and that there is no rain in the forecast.
6. Avoid Heavy Machinery
Polymeric sand is strong, but it also has its limits. Therefore, to prevent it from cracking, avoid having heavy machinery driving over the pavers too much.
7. Use a Joint Sealer
As a final step, to make your polymeric sand last longer, you can always use something like a joint sealer overtop. Now, this is something that most people won’t recommend, as it is generally seen as overkill. However, a good joint sealer for bricks and masonry will add an extra layer of protection overtop the polymeric sand.
You should now know everything there is to know about how long polymeric sand will last and how to make it last longer.