May 15, 2011

Polymeric Sand....Oversold?

Being touted as the "savior" for Brick Pavers is not true

The marketing machine for Polymeric Sand for brick pavers is in full force. Homeowners are embracing  the use of polymeric sand as the savior of brick pavers. Though there are some very good benefits, Polymeric Sand is NOT going to eliminate or prevent the need for ongoing paver maintenance.

Back 25+ years ago, I was frustrated with the perception that unqualified contractors gave homeowners...."Brick Pavers are NO maintenance !".  This could not be further from the truth and I had to spend needless appointment time explaining the myths these contractors created.

Polymeric Sand touting is the new frustrating "myth" that I have to spend countless time explaining the benefits and limitations.  Just this past week, I was frustrated with a customer who repeatedly said she wanted polymeric sand in the paver joints ..."so her bricks will never move!".

If she wanted to greatly reduce the chance of weeds or grass growing in the paver joints, if she wanted to reduce the chance of tracking any joint sand into the house, if she wanted to reduce the amount of sand sweeping each Spring of the paver joints, if she wanted to greatly reduce the erosion of any base material from rains, snow, & ice, then Polymeric Sand is a viable solution. In cases of extreme slope or water run off requires the use of bonding sand or permeable pavers.

But to keep your brick pavers in place for all time to come, well you are greatly misinformed. If that were true, we would fill all our road cracks & potholes in Michigan with Polymeric Sand and you would have a smooth ride from Detroit to Sault St. Marie.

Polymeric Sand is definitely beneficial in reducing the negative aspects of paving stones but you need to weigh the cost & benefits of it's use. If you can spend a half hour each Spring sweeping paver joint sand into open joints of your patio & walk, then Polymeric Sand is not necessary. Keeping paver joints filled already reduces weed & grass growth, loose pavers, and erosion damage.

Polymeric Sand requires patience and in most cases should be installed by a qualified brick paver contractor. Done wrong or sloppy, polymeric sand repair or removal can become a costly & tedious experience. Once winter frost goes through your brick paver paito, walk, driveway, porch, etc.. you will still need to touch-up areas each Spring.