Try picturing the perfect execution of your dream outdoor living project. Do you see richly colored pavers that pop in the landscape? Perhaps, inspired by photos in a magazine or our Design Idea Catalog, you’re imagining that they are arranged in a classic pattern and feature timeless textures.
Beautiful pavers can take up most of your attention and focus (and rightly so). So it’s understandable that while planning your landscape project, you may not have given much thought as to what will go in between them. Unilock pavers are particularly stunning and available in styles that cannot be found anywhere else. They offer vibrant beauty, realistic textures, and a variety of hues to fit everyone’s preferences. Choosing the right pavers for the project is just one step. Careful thought should also be given to the jointing sand or compound that goes in between each one.
That is, unless your image of the perfect landscape project included weeds sprouting up through the patio or swarming insects crawling in and out of the paver joints. None of that is a concern when quality pavers are properly installed and the proper jointing material is used. The jointing compound, or polymeric sand if you choose, will preserve your paver investment by protecting your patio, pool deck, driveway, or other hardscape feature from the effects of frost, erosion, weeds, and insects. These heavy-duty materials can be used in between both pavers and slabs.
Beyond their protective qualities, poly sands and compounds also serve an aesthetic purpose. The right choice of color can change the look of your project dramatically. It can call attention to the pattern of pavers, blur the lines between them, or subtly complement the dominant colors in the pavers.
Ordinary jointing sand, polymeric sand, and epoxy resins each have particular properties that can make them the right or wrong choice for a particular job. To select the right jointing compound, thought needs to be given to the weather conditions, the pavers, and the gaps between them.
Properties of Compounds
Ordinary jointing sand, sometimes referred to as sweeping jointing sand, contains angular particles that help it stay in place. In some instances, that also means applying a sealer to finish the joint. It used to be the de facto standard for years, and it’s still favored for use with some types of pavers. But for most projects, it just can’t compete with the superior material properties of polymeric sand and modern compounds like Unilock Easy-Pro Jointing Compound.
Polymeric sand is a mixture of course-grained sand, polymers, and binders. It’s swept into the joints dry, only to be wetted down after the joints are filled and the paver surface swept clean to prevent hazing or staining.
Polymeric sands boast outstanding durability, weed and insect resistance, and a selection of colors to highlight or complement the paver, all the while enhancing the beauty of your project and completing the interlocking effect.
Choosing the Right Compound Material
Some paver materials don’t play well with polymerics, but the vast majority do, and polymeric sand has become the choice for most projects.
In addition to traditional jointing sand, Unilock offers two distinct polymeric compounds, one for regular joints and another specifically for large joints. Both are available in gray and tan hues.
If you have at least a 1/8-inch gap between pavers, there’s another option. The Easy-Pro epoxy resin compound offers four color choices and easy installation. Available in tan, gray, white, or black, Easy-Pro can be installed in light rain or sun and in cold and hot weather. It’s an excellent choice for all kinds of projects, including driveways, patios, and walkways. Its no-haze formula comes pre-mixed and is installed wet and squeegeed into the joints. Like polymeric compounds, a select few pavers are not recommended for use with Easy-Pro. Check our product page for additional information.
What about those few pavers that shouldn’t be used with polymerics or epoxy resin? If joint stabilization is a concern, regular sweeping sand can be used as the primary jointing material, followed by the application of a stabilizing sealer to keep the sand in place.
A Lasting Effect on Your Pavers
Jointing compound is one of the many details you’ll come across as you take on your outdoor living project. Unilock is your partner every step of the way, to guide you through the process and to help you make the right decisions for your unique landscape. We have a wide range of resources, like our Idea Design Catalog, to help guide your decisions as well as partnerships with trusted contractors in your area who will put your ideas into action. For a free estimate with a Unilock Authorized Contractor, go here.
Next time you browse through a gallery of project photos, take a closer look at the joint compound and note the way it accents the pavers. Is it understated or dramatic? Does it catch your eye, or is it helping to elevate the look of the already beautiful pavers? Also take note of the clean effect that results when proper materials are deployed. Your project can likewise keep unwanted growth at bay, and provide the kind of attention to detail worth admiring for many years.