Polymeric Sand: What Is It? …and Other FAQs

Polymeric Sand: What Is It? ...and Other FAQs

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Launched in the early 2000s, polymeric sand is a material that is manufactured specifically for jointing paving slabs and brick pavers. It is made from a mix of fine sand and various additives that become a powerful bonding agent when it comes into contact with water. So, when it rains, instead of the sand washing out of the joints, the polymeric sand strengthens it.

What Is Polymeric Sand?

Polymeric sand is a specialist material used by paving installers to achieve even, durable joints. Combined with additives, including silica, that bind when exposed to water, it produces a strong, stable, durable surface. While it has become a popular material used by landscapers and other professionals, polymeric sand isn’t commonly used by DIYers. Nevertheless, it’s ideal for paths, patios, and driveways and it’s very easy to use.

6 Advantages of Polymeric Sand

There are some great advantages of polymeric sand, and there’s no doubt that it’s going to become increasingly popular in the non-professional sector.

1. Quick and Easy to Use

Jointing paving with polymeric sand is quick and easy, although it is vital to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When you use ordinary building sand (or any other cheap and easily accessible sand) for paving joints, all you do is throw the sand over the surface and brush it into the joints.

The caveat with polymeric sand is that there are some important rules when it comes to installation. This can become a disadvantage.

2. Increased Durability of Paving Joints

As the additives mix in with the fine sand and fuse when wet, they bind to create a strong, stable joint. Nothing is going to wash the sand out of the joints, and it will be a lot longer lasting than the sand traditionally used for jointing paving. Also, the joints won’t erode prematurely.

3. Unaffected by Rain

Once polymeric sand is in the joints and water has been sprayed over to activate the strength of the sand, it will set and be totally unaffected by rain. However, this must be done correctly so that it hardens in the joints and no sand remains on the surface of the paving.

4. No More Weeds

Because polymeric sand forms a strong joint that binds paving, there is no way for weeds to grow in the joints, as they simply have nowhere to grow. This also means that you won’t have to use any kind of weed killer or pull out weeds, so the joints won’t be damaged unnecessarily.

5. No More Ants

If weeds can’t grow in the joints, there’s not going to be anywhere for ants to get in either.

6. Choice of Joint Color

Manufacturers color polymeric sand, making it a popular choice with landscapers. Most are shades of brown, gray, buff, and red that will blend with the most common paving bricks on the market.

3 Disadvantages of Polymeric Sand

It’s difficult to find any disadvantages of polymeric sand because it really is such a fantastic building product. But if you don’t have basic building acumen or experience, there may be some problems.

I outline a few below, but for more in-depth information, check this article.

1. Polymeric Sand Hardens Very Quickly

The fact that polymeric sand hardens quickly is generally considered to be an advantage. But it also means that you can’t use it in wet weather.

If you ignore the instructions and advice about how to use polymeric sand, you’re very likely to end up with chunks of mortar-like material on your pavers. It is, though, a disadvantage that most people can overcome.

2. Polymeric Sand Can Be Tricky to Use

It is important to use polymeric sand the right way when filling joints. For example, if the paved surface is wet, or even damp, any of the sand left on the surface will harden when it rains and will look horrible. There is, though, a failsafe solution: read the instructions and follow them to the last letter.

You also need to be sure that you sprinkle the right amount of water over the joints to ensure that they harden. Too little, and the joint will be fragile and is likely to break. Too much, and you’re likely to wash out the sand and the polymers that it relies upon to harden.

It’s also good practice to compact the joints to stop them from settling, cracking, and breaking over time.

3. Polymeric Sand Contains Chemicals

Is this a disadvantage? Those who sell sand that doesn’t contain chemicals believe it is. But it’s the chemicals in polymeric sand that harden the joints and make it so durable.

Polymeric Sand: Frequently Asked Questions

Should you opt for polymeric sand when paving a patio or constructing a path? Why not? Just be sure you understand the basics.

What Is Polymeric Sand Made Of?

Polymeric sand is fine-grained sand that manufacturers combine with various additives so that it becomes a binding agent when it is combined with water. Silica is a common ingredient.

Is Polymeric Sand Toxic?

There are Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) warnings that specific polymeric sand products are hazardous. This means that they are toxic and can cause serious problems if you get the sand in your eyes or on your skin, or if you inhale it.

Does Polymeric Sand Harden?

Yes. This is the main appeal of polymeric sand. Once you have swept it into your paving joints and sprayed it with water, it will harden. But it must be done correctly to ensure that it hardens from the base up.

Does Polymeric Sand Get Soft When Wet?

Polymeric sand does soften when it gets wet, but it remains stable and will dry again, staying hard.

Does Polymeric Sand Allow Drainage?

Polymeric sand creates a relatively solid joint in paving, but it will allow water to drain off patios, paths, and driveways.

Is Polymeric Sand Necessary for Pavers?

You don’t have to use polymeric sand when you lay pavers. It’s a relatively new invention and millions of patios, driveways, and paths have been laid using all kinds of find sand that don’t incorporate additives. But it’s a great product for paving.

When Should You Not Use Polymeric Sand?

Never use polymeric sand when it’s raining. It’ll start to harden before you’ve got it into the joints and you’ll be stuck with lumps of hardened sand on your newly paved surface.

How Does Polymeric Sand Compare with Other Materials?

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


Polymeric sand is a relatively recent invention that enables us to improve the quality of paving in the most amazing way. As long as you follow the instructions, it’s very easy to use, and you’ll end up with a durable, long-lasting paved surface that will undoubtedly be better than anything else you’ve ever created.

In this article, we’ve examined the advantages of polymeric sand and worked out a few disadvantages. While it isn’t yet a well-known DIY product, it’s something that seasoned DIYers may want to try.