Typically, a customer comes to us requesting to either have their pavers sealed or stabilized with polymeric sand. Rarely does the client know both options exist. So, I wanted to put this informational article to share what the differences are and which is the best for your situation.
In most cases, we prefer to use a joint stabilizing paver sealer over polymeric sand. A joint stabilizing sealer is a liquid product that penetrates into the surface of the concrete paver as well as the sand in the joint giving the paver protection from stains and an enhanced look as well as hardening the sand in the joint. The joint stabilizing sealers come in a natural or matt sheen, enhanced or semi-gloss sheen and a high gloss sheen.
If your only priority is to harden the sand in the joint of your pavers to prevent sand loss and weed growth, polymeric sand may be the better option. Both are going to cost the same price for installation, so it’s simply a preference. In some applications where the joints between the pavers are rather large (1/4″ or larger) we suggest using the polymeric sand over the joint stabilizing paver sealer because the polymeric sand tends to hold up better in larger joints.
Here is a picture of pavers that have been sealed vs pavers that have not. The pavers on the left are sealed using an enhanced joint stabilizing sealer. They have been freshly sealed and the sealer is still wet giving a wet look. When the enhancing joint stabilizing sealer dries, the it won’t be nearly as wet looking. It will have a nice, clean sheen to it.
Here is an image of pavers treated using polymeric sand:
Hopefully this has helped you understand the difference between paver sealer and polymeric sand. At least it’s made you aware that both options exist. We would be happy to discuss with you both options and give our recommendation for your project.