Polymeric sand vs. regular

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Gr8WhiteNorth, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Gr8WhiteNorth

    Gr8WhiteNorth LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 465

    My pavingstone supplier has been pushing a new brand of polymeric sand and I've used it on a few jobs that I thought it applied for. I have been wondering about its effects in the long term. If I had to lift and relay a driveway that polymeric sand was used on, would it hold things together too much to lift and reuse the bricks, or would it be possible to scrape the stuff off the bricks if I could lift them?
  2. JJS

    JJS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    It scrapes out about the same as if you were scraping out caulk or something between joints. Once it rains and sets it acts very similiar to that. You can scrape, chisel, or cut out some pieces and just brush in new sand.
  3. PerfiCut L&L

    PerfiCut L&L LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 458

    We use it on most of our jobs. It does take a little effort if you have to back and pull a stone or two, but nothing a dull screwdriver can't handle. Like Gr8 said, it handles a lot like calk. Its firm but has a little give to it.

    One downfall I have noticed is it certainly slows drainage. If you have any dips or low spots in your pavers the water tends to puddle for a long time after any rain event. With regular sand, atleast it affords you some error in your leveling skills, by allowing the water to drain through. I've had call backs with as little as three stones which were either stepped on, or compacted slightly more than the others and create a concaved surface. With the polly sand it resulted in a small puddle which sat for as long as two days after a rain storm. (Shadded) area.

    I'm thinking of switching back to using the regular sand myself, and reserving the poly sand for those jobs that really benefit from it.
  4. BOEpavers

    BOEpavers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    For the past 5 years we've used nothing but poly sand on our work - we don't offer our customers a choice. As others have said, it does make pulling pavers more difficult - you will not use a paver extractor. We typically use an angle grinder/diamond blade to cut one and take it out in pieces. You can then pry out the remainder. The poly sand will scrape off the pavers so you can reuse them. It does drain slower but we've never had a call back for washed out joint sand on a driveway or dissatisfied customers with weeds growing in the joints, etc.
  5. JJS

    JJS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    the extra time it takes to drain doesn't warrant switching back to regular sand, and risking weed seed germinating into a nightmare. Poly is the best thing that ever happen to pavers, my biggest gripe about selling pavers to people are weeds grow in the joints, been using poly for 6 years with 99.9% weed free.
  6. amazingscapes

    amazingscapes LawnSite Member
    from England
    Messages: 4

    Are you guys talking about poly sand on block-paving? Over here in the UK there is a German product called Rompox that we use on flag paving joints. It drains well and is incredible durable. It is based on granite sand with some bonding agent. You just brush it in, wait a while, then brush off the excess and voila! It tackles that landscapers nightmare of a big pointing ( or jointing??! whatever you'd call it) job. It is a bit pricey but saves on labour and is very quick to use. Less messy than a bad pointing job too.
  7. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Our EP Henry guy told us (after a repair, of course) that the fastest way to free pavers from the poly sand was to wash the patio down with a hot water pressure washer. Haven't tried it, but thought I'd throw it out there.
  8. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    oh yeah I'll remember to put it on the truck next time we need to take out couple pavers. it's being sitting at the shop just collecting dust.
  9. BOEpavers

    BOEpavers LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Hot water definitely works. Our EP Henry guy carried a burner from a turkey fryer in his truck to heat water. Just need enough hot water to loosen the sand around one or two pavers to get them out, then you can pry the others as needed. The one or two times we've needed we've just had the homeowner heat up a tea kettle of water for us.

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