Power Washing; replacing sand between your Pavers is essential
When Power Washing pavers or interlocking bricks, it’s important to replace the sand that gets washed out from the cleaning process. The main reason is so that weeds and grass don’t start growing in the spaces between the pavers. This will happen very quickly if the sand isn’t replaced. Another reason is that sand may have been removed from underneath the pavers. Replacing sand will help prevent the pavers from shifting if this happens.
Not all sand is created equal
There are different kinds of sand. If you live on the West Side of Vancouver where we work mostly, Coe Lumber sells a play sand that is very fine and is blonde in colour. Kerrisdale Lumber sells a sand that is a little more coarse and is more grey in colour. We have found that the finer sand seems to be better because the small grains don’t settle and the sand stays pretty much where it is. The coarser sand seems to settle so after a rainfall you may see it has gone down half an inch from where it was when it was first swept in. Whichever way you go, simply pouring the bags onto the surface and using a push broom to sweep it into the spaces is all you need to do.
Polymer or Polymeric Sand (for ant problems)
There is another kind of sand that is designed to keep ants and weeds from coming through. There are lots of different companies that make this kind of sand. Coe lumber sells a Polymer sand that hardens in the spaces so that weeds and ants won’t come through. It’s applied the same way as other sand except when you’re done, you wet the surface to activate the bonding agent in the sand so it will harden. This sand is about triple the price around $21.00 a bag so for small areas it is cost effective. For a large driveway you’d have to weigh out the cost vs benefit. The problem is that this sand won’t withstand power washing so if you like to power wash every year, then you are blowing out pretty expensive sand. If it’s a small patio area where you have ant problems then the cost isn’t a big issue. Home Depot sells one too and it’s called CCI Century Polymeric Sand. It costs about $29.99 for 35lbs which doesn’t go far. In my opinion it would be too expensive for most people for a really large area. For a small area the benefit of this product is that it’s bonding agent is stronger so if you have really tenacious
ants, this will keep them from getting through. Keep in mind that the other sand products I’ve mentioned should really do the same thing.
The last step when replacing sand
If you’re doing it yourself it is really important that after the sweeping in of the sand that you get all of the sand off of the surface. The reason for this is that you have to mist the sand to activate the bonding agent so that it will harden. If there is any sand on the surface of the paver, it will harden and it is very difficult to get off. The only way to get it off is to use a leaf blower to gently blow off the surface without blowing the sand out from between the pavers. Once the surface is free of any sand then you use a mist setting on your garden nozzle to wet the sand. Any sand left over can be swept up or vacuumed up with a shop vac. That’s it. It will harden within 20 minutes but may take 24 hours to fully set and be ready for activity. If you have any questions I’d be happy to take your call. (604) 505-2663