7 Polymeric Sand Alternatives: Pros, Cons, and Comparison

Many people believe that polymeric sand is the only option when it comes to hardscape projects. The utilization of this sand, however, raises certain concerns. Finding polymeric sand alternatives for pavers might help you transform the look of your driveway.

Polymeric sand produces a deposit on paving stones that causes a white haze. Chemicals are also known to crack quickly, causing them to wash away in a short amount of time. You'll have to come up with a new solution to avoid this. Alternatives to polymeric sand offer various options for the driveway you are building.

Alternatives to polymeric sand are made with formulae suitable for your hardscaping projects. Various mixtures will produce long-lasting and natural results. You'll discover that the alternatives can give durable and long-lasting solutions while using fewer chemicals. 

What is Polymeric sand?

What is Polymeric sand?

Polymeric sand is a special form of beach sand mixed with polymers, often polyethylene. It is widely used in industry to provide structural support or reinforcing material for concrete and masonry. A concrete mix that includes polymeric sand performs better than a mix of cement and sand for strength.

Polymeric sand is used for various purposes, including stabilizing soil in construction sites and industrial applications, making concrete waterproof, and providing a better grip for traction, especially on wet or icy surfaces.

Is There Any Alternative To Polymeric sand?  

01. Plain sand

Plain sand is sand that has been deposited by water flowing through an area. It can happen when a river, glacier, or other water source flows through an area, carrying sand.

Plain sand is sand that has been deposited by water flowing through an area.

FEATURES

  • It is often a drab brown.
  • Sharp, angular, and coarse grains are preferred.
  • The sand should be devoid of clay and organic materials.
  • The grains should be made of long-lasting minerals.
  • It should not include any salts.
  • The grain size gradation should be such that there are no voids.
  • It should be clean and devoid of silt and clay coats.
  • Organic stuff should not be present.
  • It must be chemically.
  • Sand is made up of loose particles of hard shattered rock and grains of dissolved rock.

Pros

Sand is a common byproduct of human activity.

  • First, it is a readily available, inexpensive material that is easy to transport and store. 
  • Second, sand is a good insulator and is fairly impervious to moisture, making sand a particularly good insulator in arid climates.
  • Third, sand is easy to shape into whatever shape is desired.

Cons

  • Prone to erosion.
  • It only comes in one color.
NOTE: As polymeric sand is a type of sand, many people may choose plain sand as a substitute. While this can work, sand isn't as good as regular sand for filling the gaps between pavers for various reasons.

02. Concrete sand

Concrete sand is a kind of sand used in concrete mixing as an aggregate.

FEATURES

Concrete sand's size and texture make it an excellent material for retaining septic tanks, stones, and pipes while permitting efficient drainage.

Concrete sand is a washed sand product, which means that any dirt on the sand particles or in the mixture has been removed.

The rough exterior of coarse sand gives a greater surface area for other elements to bind to, such as water and cement. It makes concrete sand a superior choice for building projects that require stronger material bonding to produce more durable and long-lasting concrete.

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to use.
  • Accessible.

Cons

  • It erodes easily.
NOTE: Concrete sand is generally less expensive than other alternatives of sand and comes at a lower cost per ton.

03. Concrete cement

Concrete is a construction material of a hard, chemically inert particle ingredient called aggregate (typically sand and gravel) and cement and water.

Concrete cement

FEATURES

  • Cement doesn't erode or anything of that sort.
  • Cement is very stable – more stable than most other options.

Pros

  • It will not erode.
  • Very stable.
  • Long-lasting.

Cons

  • It requires a bit of skill.
NOTE: Concrete cement is a low-cost alternative to polymeric sand that is widely used. However, because you don't receive a do-over, it requires more ability to use.

04. Stone Dust

Stone dust is produced when stones are crushed in a machine to produce crushed stone. The specific composition will be determined by the type of stone processed via the machine.

The extremely little pieces are the ones that don't make it into the finished product.

Stone Dust

FEATURES

It is non-porous so that it won't get wet. It also prevents water from seeping underneath the pavers, making them shift and slide.

Pros

  • Inexpensive.
  • Easy to use.
  • Versatile.

Cons

  • It erodes easily.
NOTE: Stone Dust is incredibly inexpensive compared to concrete sand.

05. White-Washed sand

White Washed Sand is silica sand that has been washed. This sand is used to help stabilize and "lock" in new pavers once laid.

White-Washed sand

FEATURES

The use of limestone gives it a delicate texture and a brilliant white color. The white sand is difficult to come by because of its distinct texture and color, and it may have to be imported from regions where it is abundant.

Pros

  • White-washed sand does not form as much of a bond, but it still contains silica.

Cons

  • It does not form a tight bond.

06. Enviro sand

The Enviro sand has a unique, organic binder. Organic-Lock is the outcome of more than a decade of scientific research, both in the lab and on the ground, including agricultural, geotechnical, and geological scientists.

Enviro sand

FEATURES 

Natural (beige) and granite are the two-color options for the product (grey). This solution is simple to use, safe for the environment and does not include polymers, which can create a haze on brick surfaces if not applied properly.

Pros

It keeps the sand from washing away and keeps the weeds out.

Cons

It is a challenge with workability issues.

NOTE: The price is affordable as compared to other alternatives.

07. EASY JOINT

EASY Joint grout, a jointing compound, is a fast, practical, and visually acceptable technique to fill joints between natural stone or concrete flags. It may be used with pavement material as long as there is at least a 3mm broad and 25mm deep gap (narrow joint compound).

EASY JOINT

EASY Joint is simple to use; wet the pavement with water before beginning, then brush and wash the jointing compound into the joints while allowing the water to absorb the strain.

FEATURES

  • Truly an all-weather jointing compound.
  • Very fast to use.
  • Less Effort.
  • Technically advanced.
  • No staining or framing.
  • No Waste.
  • EASY Joint is permeable! Flow rates per ASTM 1781 of 50-70 ins/hr.

Pros

  • 10-20x faster than conventional mortar
  • Use rain or shine
  • Mark free paving surface (with use of water)
  • Easy to use
  • A solid joint that lasts for years

Cons

  • It may cause staining or frame to the paving.
NOTE: The price of EASY JOINT is quite high compared to the alternatives.

FAQs Regarding Polymeric Sand Alternatives

Q. Is polymeric sand necessary?

Answer: Yes, the added strength and durability of polymeric concrete are attributed largely to the polymer added to the mixture. Specifically, it enhances the tensile strength and compressive strength of the concrete.

FAQs Regarding Polymeric Sand Alternatives

Q. Does polymeric sand wash away?

Answer: Concrete sand will wash away from materials if it is constantly exposed to water for a long time. It is especially true for cement, lime, or other substances used to make concrete, containing cement and other substances that easily wash away in the water.

For this reason, cement can be used for underwater construction.

Q. What is the best sand to use between pavers?

Concrete sand is the ideal type of sand for this job. Cement is frequently mixed with concrete sand before building septic systems. Because of its great quality and longevity, it is the most widely used sand for pavers.

Other sands can be used, but they are not as robust and will break over time, destroying your pavers.

Q. Can you make your polymeric sand?

Yes. By combining 5 parts of sand with 1-part ConSANDtrate, you may create a more concentrated polymeric sand that can be used to patch cracks in concrete or exposed aggregate slabs.

Q. Can you put dry cement between pavers?

No, fill the spaces between paving slabs with 1-part cement and 3 parts sand. Mix and then spray it with water. 

Q. How do you harden sand between pavers?

By sealing the surface of the pavers, the material comes into touch with the sand. When these two materials come together, they produce an alloy comparable to mortar.

As a result, the sand is successfully hardened and repaired.

Q. Can I use Quikrete between pavers?

Over 1" thick, Quikrete Concrete Bonding Adhesive may be utilized for interior and outdoor applications. Concrete Bonding adhesives should not be used in areas that are always moist.

Before applying fresh concrete or Quikrete Sand Mix, a layer of Concrete Bonding Adhesive is placed on the surface of the existing concrete and allowed to cure.

Conclusion

Polymeric sand is the most common material for filling joints in pavers and natural stone. It is swept into the pavers and natural stone joints to lock in the product, prevent weed growth and insects, and provide the final touches of any hardscaping project.

The sand remains hard when dry and soft when wet to allow for it to remain intact if the surface moves, whether through frost cycles. It is what makes it an ideal product for the filling of joints.

The formula has improved over time as competition in the industry has increased, and we now have some amazing polymeric sands on the market. Still, there are issues with the market; most of them stem from the installation.

Craig Eaton
 

Good day. This is Craig Eaton. My friends call me the home expert because I love spending most of my time in my home, garden, lawn, and yard. I am a lawn and gardener enthusiast who pursued organic farming as a career.

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