Why My Polymeric Sand Did Not Set

Polymeric Sand patioEveryone dreams of a maintenance free patio that always looks amazing, so yes, of course you used polymeric sand in between your joints to make this scenario more likely. You followed all the directions, and yet…it’s still soft! Why? People are quick to yell “bad batch” for the failure; turns out, that outcome is actually rare. The following variables are most likely one of the reasons your poly is still soft:

1)      Wrong Poly Choice for the Job

Regular poly sand frequently won’t work on a concrete overlay or larger job with larger joints. Make sure you’ve used the appropriate poly for your installation.

2)      Shade

If your patio is completely shaded, this area will likely be cooler and moisture laden making it difficult for the poly sand to set. Try to add some HEAT!

3)      Did you use your sprinkler system? Or did it rain?

Most poly sands are considered “rain proof” after one hour, but I wouldn’t bet the bank on that. You really want at least 24 hours of warm, dry air to ensure that the poly sand completely sets.  Sustained dampness prior to setting may damage the poly sand to the point it will never set. There are tons of variables when it comes to how fast a poly sand will set, rule of thumb…if it might rain within 24 hours, it’s not the day to poly.

4)      Use of improper base material

Did you level with screenings? Poly sand was designed for concrete sand as the leveling agent under a project. Why? Moisture retention. Again, sustained dampness may ruin the probability of ever obtaining a successful set.

5)      Improper Patio Pitch

If water collects in low points instead of flowing off of the pavers, guess what, that key problem – dampness – strikes again.

6)      Lack of Compaction

It’s imperative to have compacted, otherwise that leveling sand is holding more water.

7)      Seasonal Conditions

It has to be at least 32 F or above to sand, and account for spring and fall being so much more moisture prone.

Although this long list makes it sound hard to install polymeric sand, it really isn’t.  You just need a day or two of warm dry weather.  And read the instructions!

Have further questions about polymeric sand? Contact us today!


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