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Old 08-02-2005, 09:14 PM
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Ok, we all talk about polymeric sand and what a great thing it is, but I have to ask if anyone else out there is finding it to be more of a nuisance than a good thing.

Here's my growing complaint list.

1. Weather dependent.......if its going to rain, did rain, might rain, there's a chance of rain, the sprinkler install tests his zones out before he leaves, your guys are sweathing alot, you get screwed.

2. Price.....it's sand with a little glue in it....is it really worth 4 times the cost of regular sand????

3. cleanup......what a major PITA....you have to sweep everything off perfectly and then lightly blow it off (and off the brick onto everything else in sight).......how much does it suck to get regular sand out of the corner of a SRW walled in patio to begin with....now you have to go into every nook and cranny with a hand dust broom, becase if you don't, it forever becomes a pile of sand under that first stair tread!

4. messy!!!!!.......it seems to get on everything....try blowing off a patio with it on it before you hose it down to set it.....it sticks to everything!!!! Then try doing it on a dewy moring where everything is slight wet.....it becomes airborne, and yes....that nice white sliding door frame is now painted with gray polymer.

5. repair work....ever try pulling out a few pavers or going back to fix a area that may have went a little low afer compacting!!!! another PITA. the stuff is stuck to all the sides of the brick, makes the already difficult task of pulling broken brick out even harder. Plus, there's nothing like the 'bubble gum' consistancy it turns into when trying to trowel out the section to be repaired........there's something they don't mention in the adds.

6. built in sink.....don't even get me started on how nice it adheres to that $3000 coctail centers bar sink.

7. not as 'permanent' as they make it seem to be. Try this. Have one of your guys leave a garden house running on top of you just sanded patio..(I know, no one has a employee that would do this) or, try haveing the homeower fill their hot tub up and walk away for a few hours.........again, something now one would have happen. Ever see what happens when that much water runs across a polymeric sanded patio???? How bout that gap where the paver meets the SRW face and is filled with about a 1" of sand......what happens when that meets Mr. 'leave the garden hose running on the patio man'????? I'll tell you........A FREAKIN MESS!

Ok, I guess you guys catch my drift. I think the bottom line is that polymeric sand shouldn't be priced out as just a increase in price of material.......A increase in the amount of PAIN and ANGUISH should also be figured into that price.


Admin edit: This discussion has been included in the site beginner's polymeric sand page.

Last edited by Stonehenge; 08-22-2007 at 12:10 PM..
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Old 08-02-2005, 10:00 PM
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Penn - are you using a sand with an organic binder or one with a manufactured/man-made chemical binder? Some of the stuff you're describing sounds like organic binder sands, which I swore off after I first tried them.

For repair work for the sand we use there's usually some hardened sand caked to the sides of the pavers, but it usually chips off pretty well. Sure, it's a ton harder to get the paver out in the first place, but it seems to clean up fine.
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Old 08-05-2006, 12:10 PM
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lets bring this to life again.

My question---

we just swept sand into the joints of a flagstone patio- blew everything off-
but you know how you have that real fine haze that doesnt blow or broom off?
are you supposed 2 wash it off as your misting it down(causes puddling)
wait until it hardens nice and scrub it with something?
while I was misting it down I was washing some off but I didnt want it to puddle too much.
So now there is a haze on it.

Thanks
Bruce
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Old 08-05-2006, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
My question---
we just swept sand into the joints of a flagstone patio- blew everything off-
but you know how you have that real fine haze that doesnt blow or broom off?
are you supposed 2 wash it off as your misting it down(causes puddling)
wait until it hardens nice and scrub it with something?
while I was misting it down I was washing some off but I didnt want it to puddle too much.
So now there is a haze on it.
My main reason for shying away from the stuff lately, unless a customer requests it. Last couple of installs we did using the stuff, I included a pressure washing of the patio a week after the install was complete. Nothing like leaving a nice coating of glue ontop of a brand new patio, then trying to get paid for it. I would agree on the "pita"
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Old 08-05-2006, 05:41 PM
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would muric acid(name? sp?) get rid of it?
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Old 08-05-2006, 09:19 PM
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I only use polymeric sand on my paver installs. Yes it is a little more work to use. But once i realized after you sweep it in you have to blow it off real good to get it below the paver joints, i have had great luck with it.

I only have once complaint about it. I'm on a big ep henry tenneyson blue stone job right now. I sanded in the first 1k sqft of patio and then it rained the next day. So when we walked over the sanded section mud got in the sand and now i got to take time to get it cleaned out.

I just don't think using play sand or mason sand in the joints is a quality job.

Matt
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Old 08-05-2006, 09:25 PM
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Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice Fine Edge is just really nice
Probably but you shouldn't have to go back and acid wash everything. Seems like an extra trip that you need to charge for.
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Old 08-05-2006, 10:31 PM
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Muriatic acid will also take some of the finish off the pavers, if it's not diluted.

We've actually changed our install method this year to have the poly sand reach to the very tops of the joints, so that tumbled pavers show very little of the divots some of them have at the corners.

But we've used the same method for cleaning - a good sweeping, a very light hit with a blower (which we always have on hand when building steps/walls anyway), then starting at the highest point of the project and gently washing everything downward, off the pavers.

The only problem I'm having (and is another reason for leaving the joints more full with poly sand) is that when weeds grow in this stuff, they are almost impossible to pull. So we're trying to ensure that there is no vertical seam at all for weed seeds to fall into, catch some moisture and germinate.
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Old 08-06-2006, 12:08 AM
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I am so glad to see this post. After fiddling with this stuff for days I am now of the opinion it still needs refinement. If anyone from Unilok reads this forum please take note, and get back in the lab and fix the formula. There is dust in the bag that is almost impossible to remove, at least from Brussels pavers. This has created 'fields' of lighter areas that look terrible next to areas that look normal. I can't pressure wash again for fear of removing the joint sand again. The bag states the product contains portland cement...I hope that is not what is causing this dusty appearance. It's the last thing you want to deal with on tumbled pavers.

This business about misting on the water 3 times is way too subjective. And it doesn't make sense when you consider how polymers cross link their molecules. The first hit of water starts to harden the binder which by all the laws of chemistry and physics will prevent any further penetration of subsequent mists of water. You need to create a formula that is far more forgiving, and tougher against rainfall, running hoses, etc. It ain't rocket science! Acrylic technology has been around for quite a while now.

I have areas where the product is still loose. I've had to blow it off, then re-apply it. I used the same technique and nozzle each time. Could the contents of the bag have been mixed poorly? Also, the 'gray' sand particles seem to wash away from the 'tan'. What's up with that?

I just did a test area on a walkway where I cleaned out all the old joint sand and vegetation. But this time I sealed it before putting in the polymeric sand. I will see in the morning if the dusty residue is more easily removed...keeping my fingers crossed. Instead of clean, sand, and seal...it is now clean, seal, and sand.

I could go on, but I just want to get this work done and move on to other projects. Maybe I can also save some of you from the same grief. Oh, and I predict here and now you will see a NEW IMPROVED version of this product soon, or see it discontinued as more of you encounter problems with it.
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Old 08-06-2006, 12:55 PM
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letsgetstoned thats the what I'm talking about the stuff that wont come off with the blower or broom. I'm only experiencing this with super polysand from unilock. Their regular poly sand is fine. Or the surface area of a paver is not so large as a flagstone, so Ive never noticed on the paver.
I'm going there tomorrow and finish up so I'll see what I can do.
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:28 PM
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I have not experienced it personally, but one of my guys sais it sticks to his contact lenses whenever he works with it.
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:38 PM
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I'm really surprised about hearing all the problems people had. I did get an odd call a few weeks ago, a client claiming the poly sand had washed out of a few places in their patio, but that's the first call I ever had like that, after using the stuff exclusively for 3-4 years. So maybe production is getting a little sloppy and mixing is bad, or the ingredients are being changed slightly.

But discoloration and sticking problems have never been an issue, and we don't have any special tricks or secrets beyond what everyone else here is already doing.

Re: the number of mistings - yeah, we've stopped misting it 3 times. We just do it once. The logic you use about water not penetrating deeper after mist #1 is the same thought process I had. And we've never had an issue with a single misting over multiple mistings.

As for Unilock working on it - I'm pretty sure Unilock's name on the bag is just that. I would hazard a guess that Techni-Seal makes their sand for them. It's not based on any fact, just a hunch.
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Old 08-08-2006, 09:55 PM
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Stonehenge, you are correct. It is a Techni-seal product with Unilock's logo on it. Local yard explained it to me.

I have a question for you and any of the other contractors on the board. I am going to try to remove the hazy dusty film with a floor scrubber. I can rent one cheap at HD. I need to know what to use with it as far as acid or detergent or ?, and what type of bristle to install. I have 2000 ft. sq. to do and I think this would be the best approach. Otherwise, I have to wait at least a year or more to see if the surface returns to an even appearance. I certainly can't seal it at this stage. My thought is a mechanical scrub would do the trick with the right etch/cleaner. Have you ever done this?
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Old 08-08-2006, 10:01 PM
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Stonehenge...have you ever had occasion to go back to some of the earlier jobs and look at the polymeric joints? Perhaps there are more than just the one call you had recently. You are right about the misting. The last section I did turned out better, I think , because I misted only 2 times. However, I still got some ants coming up and making hills after the sand had cured for 2 days. I think the mist just forms a 'skin' over the sand...a real tough situation to get it all moistened isn't it?
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Old 08-08-2006, 10:13 PM
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To your question of what chemical to use, one of our members here (Site) had success with household vinegar.

As for problems with other projects - I look at one project every single evening, and it's holding up just fine. The first one we ever did, just oover 4 years ago, we had the opportunity to visit last week when working at a neighbor's house. Looked great.

Hearing that ants are able to move that sand doesn't sound right to me. I've never, ever seen ants able to move this sand. Ever. I'm wondering if that sand is being made wrong somehow.

I have seen the 'skin' you're talking about, but that was where we were marrying stone to pavers and there was a joint that was about 1" wide.
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