Moreover, one of the most significant disadvantages to normal sand is that it doesn’t help with weed growth. Sand allows weeds to grow and ant beds to run amuck. So, if you want to make your work last and keep it looking fantastic for years to come, you should consider using polymeric sand. But how do you do that?
Ultimately, as long as you do your research and follow instructions, polymeric sand could be the perfect solution for keeping your weeds at bay, and your patio and walkway looking great.
How to Install Polymeric Sand?
You’ve probably seen people use regular sand before to secure their pavers, and while it is an option – it’s not the best one. Regular sand comes with some significant downsides. The most significant drawback to real sand is that rain can wash it all away, creating a muddy, uneven mess.
Make sure your pavers and the ground is completely dry before you begin. Then, the steps are as follows:
1. Pour the polymeric sand on your pavers, and then carefully sweep it in between the cracks.
2. Using a blunt object, like the back of the broom handle, tap the pavers to consolidate the polymeric sand.
3. Continue filling the cracks until it reaches around one-eighth of an inch from the top. Be careful not to fill them all the way to the top.
4. Once every joint is full, sweep or use a leaf blower on the lowest setting to blow the polymeric sand off the tops of the pavers.
5. Now, it’s time to water the pavers. You need enough water to saturate the sand, but not so much that the polymers float. If you see a milky white substance floating on top of the water and pavers, you’ve used too much water. The best approach is to spray the sand a few seconds at a time, then wait and see if it continues to absorb. Repeat this process until the joints won’t absorb any more water.
6. Keep foot traffic off the pavers for twenty-four hours, and vehicular traffic off the pavers for seventy-two hours. Schedule this process when there’s no rain in the forecast for at least forty-eight hours.
Restoring Polymeric Sand?
The toughest part of restoring polymeric sand pavers is that you have to remove all traces of the old polymeric sand. If you just have a few joints or areas to fix, it’s not quite as challenging. However, if you’re redoing your whole patio or walkway, you’ll have to do a complete and thorough cleanout.
How Weed Resistant is Polymeric Sand?
The answer to “Is Polymeric Sand Weed Proof” is a definite no. Anybody that tells you it is, and a lot of contractors and manufacturers will tell you it is, doesn’t have the experience with it. Close to 10 years ago when we first starting using it we too had higher hopes for it and were let down. But that’s not to say it isn’t worth it because it is FAR better than regular joint sand and we continue to use it on most jobs. We believe in setting realistic expectations when restoring brick paver patios and driveways.
Polymeric sand is like regular joint sand. It is well graded to include different size particles of sand. It is different because it contains polymers and what most know as portland cement or the fine dust used to give concrete it’s strength. Once wetted the portland and polymers activate to bind the joint sand together. When dry it is hard and when wet is have minimal flexibility.
In the freeze thaw climate of Northern Illinois there is a lot of movement in the paver surface. The expansion and contraction will cause joints to open and close slightly and this also leads to the breakdown of polymeric sand. There is no preventing this, it’s just going to happen. The dges of the paver surface is where you will notice the most movement and where weeds will reappear the fastest.
Is there anything else I can do to make my brick patio weed resistant?
Once the sand is placed, take the time to mist the sand with water to help it strengthen and seal all of the gaps in the concrete. This will prevent determined plant roots from gaining hold and growing.
Once the weeds are dead remove all the plant matter from the concrete joints. It’s important that these cracks are completely clear before moving on to the next step.
The first step is always to kill the weeds. It’s incredibly difficult to remove live plants, and if any part of the root system remains they will grow back. We recommend either purchasing a weed killing mix, or combining water, white vinegar and dish soap in a spray bottle. Once you have sprayed the weeds, wait until the mixture has killed them.
Concrete is such a versatile and affordable building block that it’s not uncommon to see it used for patios, sidewalks and flooring in many modern homes. Its durability makes it the perfect choice for any type of project that is going to be exposed to the weather. However, like all things that stay outside they are prone to the whims of nature, in this case that means weeds. All homeowners with concrete pavers at some point find themselves asking the same question: “How do I stop weeds from growing in concrete cracks?”. We have the answers.
Make sure you have the tools you need to combat weeds quickly and effectively. This is a problem that will continue to recur every year as new plants grow and bloom. By investing in the proper tools upfront you can set yourself up for long-term success. Our suggestions for proper weed maintenance tools include:
Once the weeds have been removed and the concrete cracks have been cleared it’s time to make it so no weeds can grow back in that area. The best way to do this is to fill the cracks with polymeric sand. You can then use a broom to wipe off the excess sand.
As with anything that’s exposed to the elements, consistent maintenance is imperative. The reality is plants and weeds will continue to grow, which means the weed removal process is going to have to be repeated occasionally. The good news is the better you are at following these steps, the less often you’ll have to deal with weeds.