My Patio Was Installed In 1998
I had my paver patio installed in 1998 and when they installed it they just swept some sand (or blue stone dust) into the joints. Of course after a year the sand came out of the joints. For years I have struggled with the patio because of moss and weeds growing through the joints. I would hose it down, get on my hands and knees with a knife and physically remove the moss and weeds. It was a constant project and filling it with stone dust or sand didn’t really help much either.
What I had missed all these years was the proper way to care for my paved patio. I needed to seal it and no one ever told me to do it. I did try the Polymeric Sand approach one year, but I didn’t do it correctly and it didn’t really work out because the joints weren’t wide enough and I didn’t power wash the joints to make room for the sand.
The next few years I muddled along, trying to fill larger cracks in the stairs due to shifting with concrete. Of course that didn’t work either and I discovered that I was getting tiny ants entering my kitchen from that area where my sliding door was. They were coming through the cracks in the steps.
Now I Was Ready To Do It Right
This year I got ambitious and was tired of constantly bending over to pull weeds from the cracks. I decided to check out some videos on YouTube, read some articles and find the right way to tackle my problem.
Step One – Clean The Pavers
The first thing you must do is power wash your pavers. I do own a nice power washer and started to go through every crack and crevice on the patio to remove both the surface dirt and all the weeds, moss and soil in the joints. This did take some time but the final result was a spotless patio with most of the “stuff” in the joints gone. Now I did have to get on my hands and knees with a sharp razor knife and go over a number of these joints to get rid of stubborn moss or weeds.
Step Two – Sweep In Sand
Now that the patio and steps were clean and dry I brought in a couple of bags of paver sand. The paver sand is a very fine sand and produced for this purpose, to fill the joints in your paver projects. I spread the sand over the patio and began the task of sweeping it into all the joints.
I used a large push broom to do this and followed up with a regular broom to pick up any extra sand on the surface of the pavers. It is important to get the sand into every joint, so you may have to go over the pavers a few times and where you find a spot still open, drop some sand and fill it.
Now all of the directions I read said you should rent a vibrating plate compactor to get the sand settled and tight right to the bottom of each joint. Using the compactor is a must for new installations, but for this purpose and for smaller jobs you can do as I did, and use a rubber mallet and hit the pavers. Where pavers had sunk a bit, I pulled them up and added sand and hit it with the mallet until it was level with the rest of the patio.
Yes, I was on my hands and knees doing this, but my patio was not that large and it took me about an hour to do this. Then one more time with the sand to make sure all the joints were filled. The last step I took was taking my power blower set on a low setting and blew any residual sand off the pavers that I had missed with my broom. You don’t want to have any sand on the pavers when you seal them.
Step Three – Apply Sealant
I didn’t use the Polymeric sand on the patio because the gap between my paver’s were less then an 1/8″ which is what they should be if using Polymeric sand. However, I did use it on my steps where the gaps where wider then an inch in some places.
Now that the patio was clean, the sand between the joints were filled properly, I was now able to apply the joint stabilizing sealer. I did a lot of research and found that the best sealer to do the job for my patio. Here is a link for more info on the various types of sealers.
After all my research I selected SureBond SB-7000 and ordered it from Jet.com because they offered a 15% discount on your first three orders. At $214 for 5 gallons, I saved over $30 and shipping was FREE. It was actually shipped by Zoro.com and I see they carry many items for the home and garden. Check both sites to see the best deal you can find.
Application was the easiest part of the job. I used my garden sprayer to apply the sealant and with a rubber squeegee I also bought, I ran over the pavers and pushed the excess sealant into the joints.
The sealant is meant to be a one coat sealant. They warn that any additional coats can make the surface very slippery when wet and it is a waste of money as well. This sealant is easy to work with it looks like white water and there is no mess and clean up is a breeze. There are other solvent based sealers, but for my use which is very light vs. a driveway that would take heavy traffic this was fine.
Step Four – Use Polymeric Sand For Wide Openings
So now lets talk about those nasty steps I have. After years the paver’s on the steps shifted and there were some wide gaps that I had previously tried to fill with cement, but that didn’t work. It was messy and the cement eventually cracked and fell out of the joints.
I decided to use the Polymeric sand for these wider joints. First I filled the joints with the sand I had used for the patio. I had some fine gravel left over from another project and used them as well. The openings I had to fill were quite deep and wide. I brought the level of the fill up to about 1″ from the top of the paver step and then filled the rest with the Polymeric sand. The manufacturer states you can can fill gaps with a depth of 4″ deep.
I had a problem when I started to fill the joints in the steps. The fill sand was pouring out of some of the sides of the stairs. So I taped those cracks and openings with duct tape in an attempt to keep the sand from pouring out of those openings. It was touch and go with those openings but I finally got it right and was ready for the final step.
I cleaned the steps and took my blower set for low and blew off any of the Polymeric sand dust on the stone. This is an important step and prevents any stone dust sticking to the stone once it is wet.
With the garden hose set for “Shower” I sprayed the steps and areas where I used the polymeric sand to fill some joints. Once it had dried, I then used my SB-7000 sealant to seal the steps as well.
I am extremely happy with the end result of this week-end project. My total cost was around $250 for everything including the cost of the squeegee, sand, sealant and polymeric sand.
Now weeks later, when it rains or water hits my patio, the water just sits on the stones until they dry out. They no longer seep into the joints and my patio is much cleaner now and doesn’t need to be swept or washed as often as before, It is clean and ealed. I hope I won’t ever had to power wash or restore the patio again now that it is sealed properly.
Now onto the next home improvement project…