Resand a Walkway With Polymeric Sand

2 Materials
1 Day

All good things must come to an end; nothing lasts forever. Today that sentiment is twofold: we've updated our logo and are replacing the sand in our front walkway!

After noticing some weeds starting to take hold in the joints between our pavers and some erosion over the years, it was time for joint replacement with new Polymeric sand.

The bag you see above was left over from when we initially sanded the walkway 11 years ago. We kept it for touchups which we never had to do! It’s incredible that it lasted as long as it did. I’m not sure if that’s the norm, but if you have used Polymeric sand, leave us a comment to let us know what your own experience with longevity has been! Keeping the bag in a tight air-sealed container will help it last (if you don’t keep it air tight it will get clumpy and be unusable).

Don’t Do As We Do!

Hubs used the old product and was almost finished the walkway when he ran out of sand! He had to run out in the middle of the job to find a replacement (the one we originally used was discontinued)!

Hubs had to remove all the sand and start all over again. Don’t you hate when a product you LOVE is no longer available?

Before you Start

If you're not familiar with polymeric sand, we explain the benefits on our blog. Don't apply polymeric sand if the surface is wet or damp; the binder will activate making it impossible for the sand to flow into the joints.

Wait to begin the job until the weather forecast is clear of rain for at least a day (this will depend on the product you buy so check the instructions)! If it rains when you're in the middle of resanding the pavers, polymeric sand will harden on the surface and ruin them! The temperature should be above 0 degrees celsius (32 degrees fahrenheit) during the 48-hour drying period.

Put on appropriate safety gear: a mask and goggles will keep fine particles of sand out of your eyes and lungs! This was me getting up close and personal with the pavers 11 years ago. I laid the patio and did the first sanding back then, so it's only fair that we swapped and Hubs took the lead this time!

You’ll need a scraper, a stiff broom and a few buckets to separate the old sand from the weeds.

Out with the Old and In with the New

The prep work is the most time consuming: you must have a clean, dry surface and joints. Unfortunately with polymeric sand replacement, you can’t just uproot any weeds and top it up. You have to completely remove all the pre-existing sand in the joints and start fresh.

For this step, Hubs had to get down and dirty with a scraper to remove the old sand between the pavers.

Hubs did all the work by hand. Some sites advise using a pressure washer for this step to help blast away at the sand. However, I don’t think that’s a good idea for a few reasons. First, you run the danger of disturbing your base/shifting your pavers. Secondly, you will have to wait a day while the surface dries before you can reapply your new sand. Remember polymeric sand and moisture don’t mix until after it's in the joints!

Hubs used a leaf blower to ensure all the debris was clear of the joints. We’ve never tried it, but a wet/dry vac might also be useful in removing the sand after scraping – instead of sweeping up by hand. At the edges, you can see that we’re right down to the high performance bedding underlay:

How to Apply

Hubs pours sand starting at the upper right side of the walkway. Concentrate the pouring and sweeping in each area before moving onto the next (i.e. don’t spread it out over long distances).

Spread the polymeric sand evenly over the joints, using a broom, ensuring the joints are filled completely. A smaller broom helps get into narrow spaces, like beside our front step.

Hubs transfers sand from the bag into a bucket first so it’s easier to pour small sections. However, if you have a large area – such as a driveway – you’ll probably want to pre-distribute the bags across the surface and pour directly from the bags as you go.

To ensure the sand doesn't form a haze on your pavers before it's wet, head to our blog to see our tips (below this post where you see our logo).

Wetting the Joints

Set the spray nozzle to ‘shower’. Hubs tests it out on the lawn first before starting. Once you start, you can’t stop in the middle; wet the entire project without interruption.

Ensure that the wetting of one section is finished before another section is started. Starting from the bottom of the slope, shower each section for 30 seconds.

Repeat the process on the same section again until the joints are fully saturated. Avoid excess flooding of the surface which could cause unwanted runoff! Move onto the next section and repeat until done.

Hubs brought out the leaf blower once again to blow any excess water off and into the joints. This also helps prevent a possible haze.

This time he started at the top and worked his way toward the bottom to draw water down the natural slope of the walkway.

Check for Saturation

Insert a screwdriver or key into a joint to verify that the water has penetrated at least 1 1/2″ inches deep – much like putting a toothpick into a cake to check for doneness.

Hubs was satisfied that the water had saturated deeply enough, so he patted the sand back in place.

Technology has improved over the last decade. The product we used this time becomes water resistant after only 90 minutes, whereas previously there couldn’t be rain in the forecast for several days after completion.

Lessons Learned

Purchase a product recommended by the manufacturer of your walkway pavers. In all honesty, I wish we had taken more time to research the product first (more about that on the blog). It never seems to works out well when you jump into a project spur of the moment!

If your stockyard already carries the product your paver manufacturer recommends, see if you can look at the actual colour before purchasing. Stockyards will have samples of stone you can look at before purchasing, but I’m not sure if that applies to sand too! If it does, take advantage of that to make sure you’re happy with the colour.

Anyway, before you go to the effort of replacing polymeric sand, do your own research and chase after the best product, and price, for your own application.

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Suggested materials:
  • Polymeric Sand   (Stone Yard)
  • Buckets   (Already had)
Birdz of a Feather
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  2 questions
  • LeeEllen Zahorsky LeeEllen Zahorsky on Jul 09, 2019

    can this product be used in the joints found in concrete sidewalks? the joints in my sidewalk have cracked and also shows some soil can this polymer still be used? this product is exactly what I need

  • Michelle Bellin Michelle Bellin on Jul 09, 2019

    can this be used for a brick walkway? The stuff between the bricks is terribly eroded & I want to fix it for my 80year old moms.

    thank you

Join the conversation
6 of 26 comments
  • Belizepassion Belizepassion on Jul 10, 2020

    Would this work for gravel? I did my walk away with gravel And wanted some thing that would make it more “together”. This is because the gravel tends to spill out into the driveway.

    • See 2 previous
    • Birdz of a Feather Birdz of a Feather on Jul 27, 2020

      There are a few things that might help. Probably too much work and expense, but you could do something along the lines of a railway tie or a course of stone along the driveway.

      I've seen metal and plastic barriers for flower beds, but something like that would be a trip hazard so I wouldn't recommend that.

      Another last idea would be to pour a decorative cement strip between the driveway and pathway to help contain the stone. Lastly, you could add a piece of flagstone between the gravel and driveway as a buffer. If you wanted to get more elaborate in the future, you could add flagstone randomly along the path but still keep a lot of the gravel; that would help contain it but of course add to the budget.

  • Belizepassion Belizepassion on Jul 27, 2020

    Thank you so much for answering me and for being so concise! Have a great day!