The Hazards of Polymeric Sand: What You Need to Know

Polymeric sand, while widely used in construction projects for it’s benefits such as durability and stability, poses significant hazards that can’t be ignored. One of the most concerning hazards is it’s potential to cause serious damage and irritation to the eyes. The chemical composition of polymeric sand can lead to severe eye irritation upon contact, which can result in discomfort, pain, and in some cases, long-term damage. Moreover, individuals who come into direct contact with this substance may experience respiratory or skin sensitization, leading to allergic reactions and skin irritation. Although there’s no concrete evidence suggesting that polymeric sand possesses germ cell mutagenicity, it’s crucial to exercise caution and minimize exposure. Additionally, inhalation of this substance may increase the risk of developing cancer, raising serious concerns about it’s long-term effects on human health.

What Is the Downside to Polymeric Sand?

Polymeric sand is a popular choice for filling the joints between pavers and flagstones due to it’s numerous benefits. One of the major advantages of using polymeric sand is it’s ability to prevent weed growth and insect infestation. It acts as a barrier, minimizing the chances of unwanted plants and pests disrupting the appearance and stability of your paved surface.

However, while polymeric sand offers several advantages, there can be some downsides if the installation instructions provided by the manufacturer aren’t followed. The most significant drawback is the potential for failure if the sand isn’t applied correctly. It’s crucial to carefully read and understand the instructions before starting the installation process.

Improper application of polymeric sand can result in an unsuccessful bond between the sand particles and the pavers. This can lead to erosion, washouts, and the creation of unsightly gaps between the joints. Moreover, if excessive water is used during the installation or if precipitation occurs too soon after installation, the sand may not properly harden, compromising it’s effectiveness and longevity.

Another downside of polymeric sand is it’s sensitivity to temperature variations. During hot weather, polymeric sand can become overly dry, making it difficult to activate and properly bond. On the other hand, in cold temperatures, the sand may take longer to set and harden, affecting it’s ability to resist weed growth and erosion.

Furthermore, if the polymeric sand isn’t correctly mixed and evenly distributed throughout the joints, there may be inconsistencies in the strength and stability of the paved surface. This can result in an uneven appearance and an increased risk of joint failure over time.

Careful attention during installation, including proper mixing, even distribution, and adherence to temperature guidelines, will help ensure a successful and long-lasting application of polymeric sand for your paved surfaces.

Tips for Proper Installation of Polymeric Sand: This Article Could Provide Specific Guidelines and Tips for Properly Installing Polymeric Sand, Including Dos and Don’ts, to Help Readers Avoid the Downsides Mentioned in the Article.

Proper installation of polymeric sand is crucial to avoid the hazards mentioned in the article “The Hazards of Polymeric Sand: What You Need to Know”. To ensure a successful installation, follow these tips:

Firstly, make sure the pavers or stones are clean and dry before applying the polymeric sand. Remove any debris or weeds from the joints.

Next, evenly spread the sand over the surface, filling the joints completely. Use a broom or brush to push the sand into the gaps, ensuring it reaches the bottom.

Once the sand is in place, lightly mist the area with water, but be careful not to flood it. This activates the polymers and helps them bind the sand together.

Afterward, allow the sand to dry for a minimum of 24 hours. Avoid any foot traffic or rain during this time, as it may disrupt the curing process.

Lastly, sweep away any excess sand and gently rinse the surface to remove any residue. This final step will leave your pavers or stones looking clean and well-maintained.

By following these installation guidelines, you can avoid common issues associated with polymeric sand and ensure a long-lasting, beautiful finish for your outdoor space.

It’s important to note that storing unused polymeric sand properly is crucial for it’s longevity and effectiveness. By keeping the bags in a dry location and maintaining a low humidity environment, you can ensure that the sand remains usable for future projects for up to five years.

How Do You Store Unused Polymeric Sand?

However, it’s important to note that the shelf life of polymeric sand can vary depending on the brand and specific formulation. It’s always recommended to check the manufacturers instructions for the specific product you’re using.

When storing unused polymeric sand, it’s crucial to keep it in a dry location to prevent moisture absorption. Moisture can cause clumping and hardening of the sand, rendering it unusable. A garage or a shed with good ventilation and protection from the elements can be an ideal storage space.

The bags should be tightly sealed to ensure no air or moisture can enter. For added protection, you can place the bags in plastic bins or containers.

Before storing the sand, make sure you check for any tears or damage in the bags.

To maximize the shelf life of polymeric sand, it’s important to minimize exposure to humidity. High humidity can cause the sand to harden and clump even while stored in it’s original bags. Consider using desiccant packs or moisture-absorbing products such as silica gel packets in the storage area to help control humidity levels.

It’s also a good practice to check the quality of the polymeric sand before using it.

Investing in proper storage techniques will help you avoid unnecessary waste and ensure the best performance of the sand when you need it next.

The binder in polymeric sand plays a crucial role in it’s performance and durability. While some manufacturers use organic binders, others opt for man-made chemical binders. These binders ensure that the sand forms a strong, cohesive bond between pavers, preventing weed growth and resisting erosion. Now that we understand the key ingredients, let’s delve deeper into the benefits and applications of polymeric sand.

What Are the Ingredients in Polymeric Sand?

The binder in polymeric sand serves as the glue that holds the sand particles together, creating a solid and durable joint between pavers or bricks. Organic binders are often made from natural materials such as water-soluble resins or cellulose derivatives. On the other hand, man-made binders are typically synthetic polymers that are designed to resist degradation from weathering, UV radiation, and water exposure.

Crystalline silica and quartz are essential components of polymeric sand due to their abrasive nature and ability to enhance the durability of the joint. Silica is a naturally occurring mineral found in many types of sand, while quartz is a specific type of silica known for it’s hardness and resistance to chemical reactions. These ingredients ensure that the sand remains stable, preventing erosion or shifting of the joint over time.

It’s important to note that while polymeric sand is widely used in landscaping and construction projects, it does come with some hazards. Inhalation of crystalline silica dust, especially during the installation process, can pose health risks such as silicosis, a lung disease. To mitigate these risks, it’s recommended to wear protective gear such as masks and goggles and to use the sand in well-ventilated areas.

By taking proper precautions and selecting the right type of sand for your specific needs, you can enjoy the benefits of a strong and long-lasting joint between your pavers or bricks.

The composition of polymeric sand is what sets it apart from traditional torpedo sand. It consists of fine quartz and silica sand, which provide a strong foundation. But what really makes it effective is the proprietary polymer, a water-activated binder that holds the sand firmly in place. Some manufacturers may also add additional ingredients like portland cement and colourants for enhanced performance and aesthetic appeal.

What Is the Composition of Polymeric Sand?

Polymeric sand is a widely used material in construction and landscaping projects. Composed of fine quartz and silica sand, this sand proves to be a better option than traditional torpedo sand due to it’s unique composition. However, what truly sets polymeric sand apart is the inclusion of a proprietary polymer, which acts as a water-activated binder to firmly hold the sand in place, making it highly efficient and durable for various applications.

One of the benefits of using polymeric sand is it’s ability to prevent weed growth. The tight bond formed by the polymer and sand leaves no room for weed seeds to germinate and take root, effectively reducing the need for constant weeding and maintenance. Additionally, the fine texture of the sand ensures a smooth and even surface, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal of the area.

In some cases, manufacturers may add portland cement to the polymeric sand mixture. This addition further enhances the strength and durability of the sand, making it suitable for heavy-duty applications such as driveways and walkways. Some manufacturers may also incorporate colorants to offer a wide range of color options, allowing the sand to blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape or to create eye-catching patterns.

During the installation process, it’s crucial to carefully follow the manufacturers instructions, as improper application or excessive use of water during activation can lead to issues such as cracking, discoloration, or the formation of a weak bond. Moreover, polymeric sand shouldn’t be used for joints wider than the recommended width, as it may not hold up well and could lead to instability.

The composition of polymeric sand, including fine quartz and silica sand, a water-activated polymer binder, and potentially other ingredients like portland cement and colorants, makes it a versatile and practical choice for various construction and landscaping projects. It offers superior weed control, strength, durability, and aesthetic appeal. However, it’s important to understand and follow the manufacturers instructions to avoid potential hazards and ensure a successful application.

When using polymeric sand as a jointing material for your paving stones, there’s a risk of encountering a white haze known as polyhaze. Incorrect installation can lead to the formation of this residue. At Envirobond, we recognize the frustration that comes with dealing with polyhaze and offer environmentally friendly solutions through our range of quality products.

What Is the White Haze From Polymeric Sand?

The white haze that forms on paving stones after using polymeric sand can be a frustrating issue for homeowners. This residue, known as polyhaze, is a common problem that occurs when the jointing material isn’t installed correctly. Polyhaze can diminish the appearance of your patio or driveway and make it look dull and unattractive.

Polymeric sand is a popular choice for filling the gaps between pavers because it helps prevent weed growth and keeps the stones in place. However, if the sand isn’t properly applied, it can leave behind a white haze. This haze is caused by a combination of factors, including excess moisture, improper cleaning, or using too much water during the installation process.

To avoid the formation of polyhaze, it’s important to follow the manufacturers instructions and guidelines when using polymeric sand. This includes making sure the sand is evenly distributed and properly swept into the joints. It’s also crucial to remove any excess sand from the surface of the stones before activating the binding agent.

One method is to use a power washer or pressure washer to blast away the residue. Another option is to use a cleaning solution specifically designed to remove polymeric sand residue. It’s important to note that some cleaning products may be abrasive and could potentially damage the surface of the stones, so it’s best to test them in a small, inconspicuous area first.

At Envirobond, we understand the frustrations that come with dealing with polyhaze. That’s why we’ve developed environmentally friendly solutions, such as Envirosand, Envirostone, and Enviropath, which are scientifically designed to provide high-quality results without the risk of polyhaze formation. Our products are available at landscape supply locations across North America, Canada, and internationally, allowing homeowners to achieve beautiful and durable results for their outdoor projects.


In conclusion, it’s crucial to fully understand the hazards associated with polymeric sand in order to protect ourselves and our environment. These risks highlight the importance of proper safety precautions when working with polymeric sand, such as wearing protective eyewear and avoiding direct inhalation.

Scroll to Top