Joint Stabilizing Sealer vs Polymeric Sand: Which to Choose?

Joint Stabilizing Sealer vs Polymeric Sand: Which to Choose?

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If you are looking to lock papers down into place, you have a few materials at your disposal. Two of the most popular materials for this purpose include joint stabilizing sealer and polymeric sand.

Although they do share some of the same purposes, they are very different things. Let’s figure out what both joint stabilizing sealer and polymeric sand are, what makes these similar and different, and which one is best for you to use.

Joint Stabilizing Sealer and Polymeric Sand: The Basics

Before we talk about similarities and differences, let’s first determine what both joint stabilizing sealer and polymeric sand are.

What Is Joint Stabilizing Sealer?

Joint stabilizing sealer is a special type of liquid that is applied to pavers and in between paver joints. This liquid is generally a clear acrylic water-based sealer, although it may be made out of varying materials.

This substance is applied to the sand in between pavers and causes it to harden. This, therefore, helps to keep pavers in place.

Joint stabilizing sealer also helps to preserve paver color and helps to protect against stains. It also helps to reduce color fading in the pavers.

What Is Polymeric Sand?

We then have polymeric sand, which is a special man-made type of sand. Polymeric sand consists of finely crushed stone, silica, quartz, and organic and synthetic binders. More often than not, one of these binders will be Portland cement.

When mixed with water, the curing process will begin. Polymeric sand is designed to be used between paver joints to lock them down into place.

When it dries, it becomes a monolithic and rock-hard substance that is very long-lasting, up to 10 or 15 years. This long-lasting durability is one of the main benefits that you get with polymeric sand.

Similarities of Joint Stabilizing Sealer and Polymeric Sand

Now that we know what both joint stabilizing sealer and polymeric sand are, let’s figure out what makes them similar.

1. They Share the Same Purpose

One main similarity shared by both of these products is that they share the same purpose. The number one main purpose that both polymeric sand and joint stabilizing sealer have is to seal and stabilize the joints between pavers.

2. They Both Involve Sand

Polymeric sand does consist of sand. While joint stabilizing sealer itself is a liquid, it is applied to the sand in between paver joints to stabilize it. Therefore, sand is involved in both of these processes.

3. They Dry Hard

Another similarity here is that both of these substances become extremely hard when they dry. Joint stabilizing sealer causes the sand to harden, while polymeric sand itself also hardens.

4. Good Weed Resistance

Another similarity shared by both products is that they both have great weed resistance. Because they form a rock-hard surface, weeds cannot really grow through them.

5. Waterproof

The other similarity shared by both of these products is that they are both waterproof. Because they form a rock-hard substance, they don’t allow water to flow through.

Differences Between Joint Stabilizing Sealer and Polymeric Sand

Now that we know what makes them similar, let’s determine what makes polymeric sand and joint stabilizing sealer different.

1. Composition

Perhaps the biggest difference here is that polymeric sand consists of sand, silica, quartz, and other binders, such as Portland cement. Joint stabilizing sealer is a liquid, usually a clear acrylic liquid, that hardens as it dries. They are two fundamentally different things.

2. Application Process

Another difference here has to do with the application process. Polymeric sand is mixed with water while it is simultaneously brushed in between the joints. With joint stabilizing sealer, you first brush regular sand down into the joints and then use a spray gun to spray on the sealer.

3. Durability and Longevity

While both of these products are quite durable, a joint stabilizing sealer will only last for three to four years, whereas polymeric sand can last for up to 10 or even 15 years.

4. Protection

Another major difference here is of course that polymeric sand is only used in between joints, whereas joint stabilizing sealer is also applied to the pavers themselves. Due to the hard acrylic surface that it creates, this substance has the ability to protect your pavers from stains, grease, oil, and fading.

5. Colors

Polymeric sand comes in a wide variety of colors, but joint stabilizing sealer is always clear. However, the sand that you may use along with joint stabilizing sealer may be a variety of colors.

6. Size of Joint

Joint stabilizing sealer is generally only recommended for use with joints that are up to 1/2 an inch in size. Polymeric sand on the other hand can easily handle joints that are up to 1.5 inches.

Joint Stabilizing Sealer vs. Polymeric Sand: Which of the Two Should You Use?

If your only purpose is to lock the pavers down, then polymeric sand is best, especially due to its durability and long-lasting nature. However, if you’re also looking to protect the pavers, then joint stabilizing sealer is your best bet.

Summary

When it comes to locking down paver joints, you should now know all of the main differences between these two substances to make the right choice.

How Does Polymeric Sand Compare with Other Materials?

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