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The curing process is the final step of polymeric sand installation which has a major impact on the performance of the material, so giving it enough time to cure is crucial. But how long does it take for polymeric sand to cure? We’ve performed thorough research and here’s what we’ve found:
Polymer sand takes 12 hours to cure and 24 hours to dry. Avoid foot and vehicular traffic during this process to allow the sand to be fully set.
Incorrect application of polymeric sand ruins the pavers. Read more to learn the proper ways to install it and the common mistakes you should avoid.
Do You Really Need Polymeric Sand?
First off, polymeric sand fills the paver joints, locking them in place. It also deters the growth of weeds. Lastly, it inhibits rainwater from seeping underneath the pavers, keeping the foundation firm. It should be the last requirement for paver installation if any.
Is Polymeric Sand Better Than Regular Sand?
Regular sand doesn’t harden enough and is prone to scatter when it rains. On the other hand, polymeric sand solidifies and creates a strong bond between the paver joints.
This prevents shifting, despite heavy traffic and surface movement. Also, it provides a tidy and decorative appeal. These benefits give polymeric sand an edge over regular sand.
4 Tools Needed For Applying Polymeric Sand
Before applying polymeric sand, make sure to have the following tools ready to ensure a smooth workflow.
- Broom: to move the sand back and forth to fill each paver joint. Also, for gathering the sand when the application is done.
- Plate Compactor: for sand compaction, one of the crucial steps, which can be achieved using this tool.
- Hose: for watering and activating the sand
- Blower: to remove the remaining residue on the surface. However, G2 polymeric sand doesn’t need one because they neutralize dust already.
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How To Apply Polymeric Sand?
See the step-by-step instructions to install polymeric sand on the pavers:
- Check the weather conditions. As we’ve mentioned, it takes at least a day for the sand to cure and dry. Put off the application if it seems like it’s going to rain.
- Ensure that the pavers are dry. Moisture activates the sand too early, causing white dust on the surface. Also, it prevents pavers from settling properly.
- Pour the sand and spread it evenly on the surface with a hard bristle broom. Make sure to fill each joint with sand.
- Vibrate and push the sand further into the paver joints with the plate compactor. Sweep the surface, and refill joints as necessary, then compact the sand again.
- Sweep and blow away the residue.
- Water the surface with the hose. Note that you shouldn’t let the pavers dry out. After the initial shower, just wait three to four minutes, and water them again. You should only stop when you see puddles or foam buildup on the surface.
- Let the sand cure and the pavers dry.
- After a day or two, inspect if the sand is fully set, then remove the residue.
Mistakes To Avoid When Applying Polymeric Sand
1. Applying Sand On Damp Paver
This activates the sand prematurely, creating a huge mess on the pavers. This is difficult to fix.
2. Under Or Over Watering The Sand
Underwatering partially activates the sand and it will not harden enough. This leaves the joints fragile. On the other hand, overwatering can wash away the substance.
3. Not Removing Residue
Residue hardens on the surface which creates specks of white dust, ruining the aesthetic of the area. Also, it leaves the pavers with a rough and uneven texture.
4. Not Having Proper Drainage
Poor drainage results in puddles that can push the sand to the top, causing it to get washed out. The bedding or cushion between the paver joints should take care of it.
5. Under And Over Filling The Joints
Underfilling the joints will not stabilize the sand while overfilling will result in spills during the curing process.
4 Common Problems With Polymeric Sand
Here are the disadvantages of polymeric sand you might want to consider:
There’s always a tendency for polymeric sand to leave a polyhaze, or white dust on your paver despite your effort to remove the residue. So after your project, you might have to perform another cleaning session. Polyhaze can be removed with an acid-based cleaning solution such as vinegar.
Can Ruin Your Hardscape
As we've mentioned, if installed incorrectly, polymeric sand can ruin the hardscape. Because it bonds strongly to the surface, it is difficult to remove. So unless you are confident that you can do it properly, don’t hesitate to ask the help of professionals.
Difficult To Replace
Polymeric sand lasts for 10 years. Once it begins to erode, you would want to top it up. Unfortunately, you can’t just refill the paver joints, you have to remove the existing sand, and start from scratch.
This is done by power washing the pavers with hot water. If there is sand left in the joints, you have to get rid of it.
Polymeric sand isn’t cheap. It costs up to $40 per 55 pounds, depending on the brand. But it can offset the potential costs caused by unexpected repairs.
Does Polymeric Sand Need To Be Sealed?
Yes, the pavers still need to be sealed even after a polymeric sand application. Polymeric sand protects your paver from shifts and weeds, but the sealant makes it more resistant to corrosion brought about by extreme temperature, moisture, and high foot traffic. You need a 90 days interval between each process.
Can You Pressure Wash Pavers With Polymeric Sand?
Pressure washing the pavers filled with polymeric sand isn’t recommended as it can strip away the substance. The best way to clean your pavers is with a hose and mild detergent. Stubborn spots can be dealt with using a soft-bristle brush.
5 Ways To Maintain Your Paver
Check out these simple tips to maintain your paver:
Pavers without proper edging will likely sink and break away from each other, inviting the growth of weeds. With edging in place, you can prevent pavers from shifting.
As mentioned sealant adds another layer of protection, extending the lifespan of the pavers. As a general rule, you should reseal your pavers every two to three years.
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Just because the pavers are sealed, doesn’t necessarily mean that you can leave stagnant water on the pavers. If left unattended, water can get through the sealant, causing blisters. So, install drainage that can channel the water out of the pavers.
This keeps your pavers tidy and maintains their decorative appeal. Use only the recommended cleaning solutions to avoid hurting the aggregate.
Removing Oil Spills
Petroleum products dissolve sealants. So don’t let oil and gasoline spills sit on the pavers. Wipe them off as soon as you notice them.
To sum up, polymeric sand needs at least 24 hours to cure. Avoid foot or vehicular traffic during this process, otherwise; it won’t stabilize and develop strength. Try to find an alternative route instead.
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