Polymeric Sand vs. Grout: Which to Choose?

Polymeric Sand vs. Grout: Which to Choose?

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If you are looking to seal the joints in between pavers that you have just freshly laid down, there are many different materials you may use. Two of these materials include polymeric sand and grout. However, they’re not the same things, and that’s what we’re here to discuss today.

Let’s determine whether to use polymeric and or grout to seal your paver joints.

Polymeric Sand and Grout: The Basics

Let’s first quickly figure out what both of these substances are.

What Is Polymeric Sand?

Polymeric sand is a man-made type of sand that is created by mixing very fine sand particles, quartz and silica sand, and various organic or synthetic binders, which will often include Portland cement.

When water mixes with polymeric sand, it starts to cure and harden and then forms a very hard, dense, and monolithic substance. The number one main use, and really the only use of polymeric sand is for sealing the joints in between pavers.

It is perhaps the number one most popular material to use to seal paver joints. It does not allow water to penetrate between pavers, and also helps stop weeds from growing. On average, polymeric sand will last for 10 to 15 years.

What Is Grout?

Grout, on the other hand, is a mixture of Portland cement and sand, combined with water. The cement acts as a binder, and just like polymeric sand, it starts to cure and harden once mixed with water.

Grout is generally used to fill voids in between kitchen and bathroom tiles. Grout is fairly resistant to water, although not 100% waterproof over a prolonged period of time.

For this reason, grout is generally used for interior applications and isn’t typically used for outdoor purposes. That said, there have been instances where people used grout to seal the joints in between their pavers.

Similarities of Polymeric Sand and Grout

Now that we know what they are, let’s figure out what makes polymeric sand and grout similar.

1. They Contain Binders

Both polymeric sand and grout contain binders that cause them to harden into a solid material. More often than not, both materials will contain Portland cement, which acts as the main binder and curing agent. When mixed with water, the cement reacts and causes everything to bind together.

2. They Fill Joints

The other similarity here is that both grout and polymeric sand are used to fill joints. That said, they generally are not used to fill the same types of joints.

Differences Between Polymeric Sand and Grout

Let’s now figure out what makes polymeric sand and grout different.

1. Composition

Grout is usually just made out of sand and cement. On the other hand, polymeric sand is made out of fine sand, quartz and silica, and various organic and inorganic binders, which may also include cement.

2. Primary Applications

Grout is generally used to fill the gaps and seal tiles in kitchens and bathrooms. Polymeric sand, on the other hand, is generally used to fill the joints in between outdoor pavers.

3. Water Resistance

Although grout is designed to be used with indoor tiles, such as for showers and bathtubs, it’s not 100% waterproof over a prolonged period of time, while polymeric sand does remain waterproof for quite a bit longer.

4. Interior vs. Exterior Use

Grout is generally an interior joint sealer, whereas polymeric sand is usually an outdoor joint sealer.

5. Durability and Longevity

When used for something like sealing paver joints, polymeric sand should last for 10 or 15 years, whereas grout will only last for three to five years.

6. The Application Process

With grout, you first mix it with water and then apply it. To use polymeric sand, you mix it with water as you are applying it, as well as apply water to it after.

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

If you are sealing joints in between kitchen and bathroom tiles, you need grout, and if you are sealing joints in between pavers, you need polymeric sand.

Can You Grout Pavers?

Technically speaking, you could grout pavers, but it won’t end very well. Polymeric sand will outperform grout when it comes to this purpose.

Summary

As you can see, although grout does have its uses, it’s not something you would use to seal the joints in between pavers, especially when compared to polymeric sand.

How Does Polymeric Sand Compare with Other Materials?

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