Can Cement Be Used to Fill Paver Joints? | Exploring Alternative Solutions

Pavement is a crucial aspect of architectural design, providing not just functionality but also aesthetic appeal to outdoor spaces. When it comes to filling the joints between patio pavers, the question arises whether cement can be used effectively. The answer lies in the use of cementitious-based slurry grouts, which prove to be one of the simplest methods in filling paver joints. Pavers, or paving stones, are solid pieces of concrete usually used for exterior flooring. They’re made by pouring a mixture of concrete and coloring agents into a mold, resulting in a durable and attractive surface. In the case of cementitious-based slurry grouts, a wet, flowable cement-based mortar is poured onto the pavers, quickly filling the gaps between them.

Should I Use Cement Between Pavers?

When it comes to filling in the cracks between pavers, many people question whether they should use cement or sand. While both options can work, cement presents a few challenges that sand alone does not. Therefore, it’s generally better to opt for using sand as the filler.

One of the main advantages of using sand is it’s simplicity. The process of filling in the cracks with sand is straightforward and easy to do on your own. You simply need to pour the sand into the gaps, sweep it into place, and then use a water spray to settle it evenly. On the other hand, cement requires a more complex application process, which often involves mixing and applying the cement carefully to prevent cracks and uneven surfaces.

Unlike cement, sand doesn’t require any drying time or potential spills during the application process. Moreover, if repairs or adjustments are needed in the future, sand can be easily removed or replaced without causing any damage to the pavers. Cement, on the other hand, can become extremely difficult to work with once it’s fully dried, making any necessary changes a much more time-consuming and challenging task.

The simplicity of the process, limited mess, and long-lasting and attractive outcome make sand the preferred option.

Pros and Cons of Using Cement Between Pavers

Cement is commonly used as a filler between pavers to provide stability and prevent shifting. It’s it’s advantages, such as enhanced durability and weed resistance. However, there are also drawbacks to consider, such as reduced flexibility and potential cracking from natural ground movement. It’s important to weigh these pros and cons before deciding to use cement between pavers.

However, it’s important to note that mortar sand and paver sand have different properties and aren’t interchangeable. In this article, we will explore the considerations and best practices for using mortar sand for pavers.

Can You Use Mortar Sand for Pavers?

Using sand for a paver base is a common practice in many areas. The sand acts as a stable and level surface on which the pavers can be installed. It helps to distribute the weight of the pavers evenly and prevent shifting or settling over time. However, it’s important to note that not all types of sand are suitable for this purpose. Mortar sand, also known as masonry sand, is one popular option.

Ensuring that there’s adequate slope and a way for water to escape will help to prevent water damage and prolong the lifespan of the pavers. This can be achieved by installing a layer of compacted gravel or crushed stone underneath the sand base.

When it comes to filling the gaps between pavers, one popular option is using dry cement. While dry mortar is typically recommended for this purpose, dry cement can also be used. By sweeping it into the cracks between pavers, the ambient moisture will gradually cause the dry cement to stiffen over time. This method provides a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution for maintaining the stability of your paved surfaces.

Can You Put Dry Cement Between Pavers?

Yes, it’s possible to use dry cement between pavers as an alternative to traditional wet mortar. Dry cement acts as a binding agent and helps secure the pavers in place. It’s commonly used in DIY projects and smaller paving jobs. This allows for proper adhesion and a solid bond.

When using dry cement or dry mortar between pavers, it’s crucial to apply the right amount. Excessive amounts may result in a messy appearance or difficulty in achieving a level surface. On the other hand, using too little mortar may not provide the necessary strength and stability for the pavers.

Before applying dry cement or mortar, it’s advisable to consult manufacturer instructions for the specific product being used. Some dry mixes require the addition of water to activate the bonding process, while others are specifically formulated to be used dry.

It offers an alternative to wet mortar, and the ambient moisture in the air aids in the hardening process. However, proper application and attention to detail are essential to ensure a durable and visually pleasing result.

When it comes to filling the gaps between pavers, tiles, or natural stones, polymeric sand is a popular choice. This versatile material, also known as jointing sand or hardscape sand, is specifically designed to fill and stabilize the joints, providing a firm and durable surface. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of using polymeric sand as a cement filler for pavers.

What Cement Filler for Pavers?

Polymeric sand is a popular choice for filling paver joints due to it’s numerous benefits and advantages. It’s a granular material that combines fine sand with additives, which when activated with water, create a hardened and durable compound. This compound acts like a flexible glue, bonding the paver joints together and preventing weed growth and insect infestation.

One of the main advantages of using polymeric sand is it’s ability to stabilize the pavers and prevent shifting and settling. This is especially important in areas with heavy foot traffic or where vehicles may be parked, as it helps to maintain the structural integrity and longevity of the paved surface.

Installation of polymeric sand is relatively easy and straightforward. It involves sweeping the sand into the joints, ensuring that it’s evenly distributed and compacted. The surface is then misted with water, which activates the binding agents within the sand and enables it to harden. Once hardened, the sand forms a solid barrier between the pavers, preventing the entry of weeds, insects, or other unwanted materials.

It’s ability to stabilize, resist erosion, provide aesthetic appeal, and withstand various weather conditions make it a preferred choice for many hardscaping projects.

Other Alternatives to Polymeric Sand for Filling Paver Joints (Such as Crushed Stone or Gravel)

  • Crushed stone
  • Gravel

When it comes to choosing the best concrete mix for pavers, two options stand out: “Mortar” and “Sand Mix.” Both these combinations of sand and Portland cement are ideal for creating durable and sturdy pavers. Another option, Quikrete, which includes pebbles, can also be used but may result in a rougher texture. With a cost of around $3 per 60-pound bag and an ability to produce approximately 10 pavers, it offers a cost-effective solution.

What Is the Best Concrete Mix for Pavers?

When it comes to choosing the best concrete mix for pavers, two popular options to consider are “Mortar” and “Sand Mix.”

Mortar, specifically designed for masonry applications, is a versatile and reliable option. It’s a high cement content, resulting in excellent adhesion and bonding properties. This makes Mortar a suitable choice for both traditional and interlocking pavers. It ensures a strong bond between the pavers and also helps prevent the growth of weeds and the intrusion of insects.

If youre looking for a slightly economical alternative, Quikrete is a brand to consider. Their product also contains pebbles, which can result in a rougher texture. However, it’s still suitable for paver installations and provides adequate durability. One of the advantages of Quikrete is it’s affordability, with a 60-pound bag costing around $3, making it a cost-effective option for small to medium-sized paver projects.

Factors such as the type of pavers, climate conditions, and intended use should be considered when making your decision. Consulting with a professional or contacting the manufacturer for specific recommendations based on your project can help ensure the best results. Regardless of the mix you choose, following proper installation techniques and allowing ample curing time are essential for a long-lasting and visually appealing paver surface.

Different Types of Pavers and Their Specific Requirements for Concrete Mix

  • Interlocking concrete pavers: Requires a high-strength concrete mix with a compressive strength of at least 4,000 psi.
  • Brick pavers: Can be laid on a sand bed and require a standard concrete mix with a compressive strength of 2,500 to 3,000 psi.
  • Cobblestone pavers: Preferred to be set in mortar, requiring a mix with high strength and good adhesion, such as a polymer-modified mortar mix.
  • Permeable pavers: Should be installed on a permeable base and require a low-fines concrete mix to allow water infiltration.
  • Flagstone pavers: Typically set on a mortar bed, requiring a mortar mix with good workability and adhesion.
  • Rubber pavers: Can be set on a sand or concrete base, requiring a mix that ensures proper bonding to the substrate.
  • Grass pavers: Need a low-strength concrete mix combined with a porous stone aggregate to allow vegetation growth.

Source: How to Make Pavers for Your Garden – Homestead Gardens, Inc.

Using QUIKRETE® PowerLoc™ Jointing Sand is a popular and effective method for filling the gaps between interlocking pavers, brick, patio blocks, and concrete slabs. This polymer-modified graded sand is designed to create a firm and durable bond, ensuring that the pavers stay securely in place. By simply sweeping the sand into the joints and misting it with water, the sand hardens and effectively locks the pavers into position.

Can You Use Quikrete on Pavers?

Yes, you can definitely use QUIKRETE on pavers. Specifically, QUIKRETE PowerLoc Jointing Sand is a fantastic option for filling the gaps between interlocking pavers, patio blocks, brick, and concrete slabs. This particular product is made of a polymer-modified graded sand.

The process of using QUIKRETE PowerLoc Jointing Sand is straightforward. After sweeping the sand into the joints of your pavers, simply dampen it with a light mist of water. This step is essential because it activates the hardening process. Once the sand is dampened, it undergoes a transformation, solidifying and effectively locking the pavers into place.

It can resist erosion caused by wind, rain, and foot traffic, maintaining it’s position and integrity for an extended period. This means you won’t have to worry about constant maintenance or frequent repairs.

It’s polymer-modified composition and hardening capabilities make it an excellent choice for filling the gaps between interlocking pavers, brick, patio blocks, and concrete slabs. This product ensures that your pavers remain stable, enduring the test of time and unfavorable weather conditions without compromising their aesthetics.

Tips for Effectively Using QUIKRETE PowerLoc Jointing Sand on Pavers.

  • Properly prepare the paver surface by removing any debris, weeds, or old jointing material.
  • Moisten the paver surface with water before applying the PowerLoc Jointing Sand.
  • Pour the jointing sand onto the paver surface, ensuring it fills the joints evenly.
  • Use a broom or brush to sweep the sand into the joints, ensuring they’re completely filled.
  • Compact the sand by using a tamper or plate compactor, making sure it’s firmly set.
  • Remove any excess sand from the paver surface using a broom or leaf blower.
  • Mist the paver surface with water to activate the jointing sand and allow it to cure properly.
  • Avoid walking or driving on the newly sanded pavers for at least 24 hours.
  • Regularly maintain the jointing sand by topping it up periodically, especially after heavy rain or erosion.


By using cementitious-based slurry grouts, homeowners and contractors can achieve a polished and finished look for their outdoor spaces without the need for extensive manual labor.

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