Pavers are paving stones or brick-like pieces of concrete that are commonly used as outdoor flooring. Concrete pavers are made in factories by pouring a mixture of concrete and a coloring agent into a mold of any shape. These are then given time to set. Pavers are most commonly made of brick, clay, stone, or concrete and are used to create patios, driveways, or walkways.
While laying down these pavers in the correct manner can seem like a tedious task, you can carry it out yourself at home. To get the pavers to look like they were professionally done, you will have to execute all the paver installation steps properly and with great care. In order to interlock the individual pavers correctly and sufficiently, you need to fill the spaces between pavers with sand.
This step is important because the sand helps keep the pavers in place for the entire lifespan of your patio or path – it can extend the lifespan for 20 to 30 years.
Table of Contents
- Types of Sand for Paver Joints
- Types of Sand That Can Be Used
- What Is Polymeric Sand?
- Step-By-Step Guide for Sealing the Pavers
- Things to Keep in Mind
Types of Sand for Paver Joints
Pavers have the effect of immediately upgrading the look of your property so you must make sure that your pavers are installed well. The most important tool when it comes to paver installation is the sand because the sand is used to join the pavers together. It might be interesting to note that sand is used twice during the installation process.
The first layer of sand is used as a “bedding” to act as a cushion for the pavers before they are laid. Then, the second layer of sand is used for the paver joints to seal the stones together so that you have a smooth paver surface and there is no chance of weeds growing through the gaps between pavers.
Both functions, however, are carried out by two different types of sand. This can be very confusing for many homeowners when it comes to which type of sand should be used for each function. To make sure that you do not get confused, below is a short guide on which types of sand should be used for each function.
Types of Sand That Can Be Used
First, we will briefly discuss the type of sand that can be used for paver bedding. The sand being used for this function should be coarse and grainy in texture so that when it is pushed together, its edges move together and lock the sand well in its place. This helps prevent any movement or erosion.
The sand used for bedding is not the same as the sand used for filling in the areas between pavers. If loose-fill sand is used for this purpose, it will wash away over time or upon exposure to water in case of heavy rains. To combat these issues, polymeric sand was developed specifically for paver joints. This type of sand holds its form and keeps your paver in place.
What Is Polymeric Sand?
Polymeric sand is a form of granular sand material that is placed between the cracks and joints of pavers. Using this sand helps interlock the paver units with greater ease, while preserving the integrity of the pavers and the look of your patio or walkway.
This type of sand is different from the regular versions because it has a water-activated polymer. When you apply the sand to the paved surface and go over it with a spray of water, the polymers in the sand start to harden. This helps in securing the sand in place and effectively sealing the paver. The polymeric sand is very durable and can actually be power washed with some amount of care.
What this means for you is that you will not be required to replace the material on a regular basis, even when it has been exposed to extreme weather conditions. Polymeric sand is also durable enough to ensure that water will not able to seep underneath the paver. This is important so that the water cannot wash away the base layer of sand.
If the integrity of that base layer is compromised, there is a chance that your pavers can easily move around or even sink because its foundation is compromised. It helps to also do some paver sealing efforts to ensure that this will not happen.
Step-By-Step Guide for Sealing the Pavers
In order to ensure that you have sealed the pavers in an effective manner and that they stay that way for a long period of time, follow these directions below:
Step One – Make Sure the Base Is Right
Inspect the surface for moisture. This is a critical step because polymeric sand needs to be installed on a completely dry surface. Therefore, it is important that you check for dampness before installing and sealing your pavers.
Step Two – Check the Weather
Clouds can cast a dreary shadow over your patio and this can make sealing the pavers in your driveway difficult. Sand installation day needs to be a clear day with no chance of rain. You also have to check the temperature before you start installing the sand. Polymeric sand should ideally be installed at a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Paver sealing also needs a good number of hours to completely dry and be effective.
Step Three – Start Spreading the Sand
Take out a limited amount of the sand and start spreading it evenly across the pavers. Make sure that the sand covers all the pavers.
Step Four – Sweep It In
With a sturdy broom, start from one corner and start sweeping the sand that you have spread over the pavers. Ensure that all the open spaces between pavers are filled in well. Slowly work your way through the other side as you utilize the broom to lodge the sand between the pavers. The sand should look relatively compact when you are done with this step.
Step Five – Clean the Excess
Once you are satisfied that the sand has settled between all the pavers, use a broom to remove any excess sand off the pavers. Sweep as lightly as possible. This is important so that the sand that has crept down the gaps in the pavers is not dislodged.
Step Six – Time to Water
Put on your garden hose with the spray nozzle set to low. It is important that you spritz the pavers with water because the sand needs to settle well in the gaps where the pavers meet. Once this is done, wash away any sand that is left on the surface and allow the area to dry.
Step Seven – Repeat It
Once you have gone through all the steps one by one, you will be required to start once again. Pour some extra sand onto the concrete pavers and repeat all the steps mentioned before. The reason behind doing this is to make sure that there is no spot left which hasn’t been packed with sand and sealed well.
Things to Keep in Mind
Once you have gone through all the steps, you will be required to repeat them. Pour some extra sand onto the concrete pavers and repeat all the steps mentioned before. The reason behind this is to make sure that there is no spot left between the pavers which has not been packed with sand and sealed well.
You may think that using a paver sealant is no longer necessary but sealing pavers help extend their lifespan. The main purpose of sealing the pavers with sand is to maintain the strength of the paver installation. The paver sand is important for preventing the pavers from shifting and sliding against each other. The paver seal is important so that if the sand is dislodged, the structural system of the pavers is not disturbed.
You can prevent the sand from being washed out by sealing the paver surface. Sealing the paver helps restore the beauty of pavers as it acts like a glue between the sand particles and holds the sand and paver together. A layer of paver sealer prevents the sand from being washed away even in the case of rainstorms or pressure washing.
Concrete sealers are not a permanent solution because they do tend to wear off after a few years. When you notice this happening, you will have to clean the pavers and place another layer of paver sealant on the surface. Not only does a paver sealer make the pavers look new but also it improves their resistance against weed and moss. So, go out there and buy yourself some sand and a good quality paver sealer!