In the freeze thaw climate of Northern Illinois there is a lot of movement in the paver surface. The expansion and contraction will cause joints to open and close slightly and this also leads to the breakdown of polymeric sand. There is no preventing this, it’s just going to happen. The dges of the paver surface is where you will notice the most movement and where weeds will reappear the fastest.
How Weed Resistant is Polymeric Sand?
What is Polymeric Sand?
In Northern Illinois one of the biggest complaints from homeowners with brick paver patios is weeds in the joints. We get daily calls and emails daily from homeowners that have heard of “Polymeric Sand” and that it hardens in the joints and will not allow weeds or insects through the sand and will never wash out. They ask us if the polymeric sand we use is “weed proof”. Unfortunately the answer is no. There’s is no miracle product that will eliminate all weeds, ants and washouts. The good news is Polymeric sand is the best product available to resist the nuisances that come along with the beauty of a paver patio.
Polymeric sand is like regular joint sand. It is well graded to include different size particles of sand. It is different because it contains polymers and what most know as portland cement or the fine dust used to give concrete it’s strength. Once wetted the portland and polymers activate to bind the joint sand together. When dry it is hard and when wet is have minimal flexibility.
The answer to “Is Polymeric Sand Weed Proof” is a definite no. Anybody that tells you it is, and a lot of contractors and manufacturers will tell you it is, doesn’t have the experience with it. Close to 10 years ago when we first starting using it we too had higher hopes for it and were let down. But that’s not to say it isn’t worth it because it is FAR better than regular joint sand and we continue to use it on most jobs. We believe in setting realistic expectations when restoring brick paver patios and driveways.
Is there anything else I can do to make my brick patio weed resistant?
While it’s hard to get rid of weeds on a patio once they’ve started to grow, you can set yourself up for success when you first install your pavers.
Regularly sweeping and maintaining your paved patio will prevent seeds from settling between the stones as well.
To prevent weeds from growing in your paving, you can pour baking soda all over the paved area and then sweep it into the cracks. You should re-apply every four to six weeks. This method works the fastest during spring and fall but can still work during summer.
The high concentration of salt in this formula prevents them from growing back.
Preventing Weeds From Growing on a Paver Patio
Let’s look at a couple of ways to prevent and get rid of weeds on a patio.
There are several ways to prevent weeds from growing on your patio again. Baking soda, vinegar, and herbicides can all be used to prevent them from growing back.
You can use chemical herbicides to treat weeds on pavers as well, and there are two general types: pre-emergent and post-emergent. Pre-emergent herbicides work on plant seeds and seedlings, and they form a barrier to prevent germination.
Method #1: Baking Soda
Weeds can grow in even the smallest cracks in a patio if you don’t take precautions to prevent them. When you properly install pavers, weeds have a difficult time growing up through the spaces between them.
Post-emergent herbicides work on actively growing weeds and are divided into two categories: selective and non-selective.