How to Choose Sand for your Paver Patio Projects

Sand is a critical part of creating a beautiful and durable paver patios and walkways. Selecting the proper type and depth of sand to use with Brock PaverBase will make the instillation easier and ensure your patio lasts for years to come. There are two different types of sand used when building paver patios. The first is called by many names: all-purpose, leveling, or paver sand. These are all the same sand and are spread over the leveled ground on top of the landscape fabric, but beneath the PaverBase and pavers. This sand can also be used as the second type of sand, joint sand, which fills the gaps between the paving stones if they have spacer bars or gaps. Flat-sided paving stones do not need joint sand.

Selecting the right type of sand for your project base:

All-purpose/Leveling/Paver Sand: This sand, along with long-lasting landscape fabric, is a necessary part of filtration when used in a Brock system.  Do not use this type of sand as a way to fix high and low spots of the ground. The sand should be an even, 1/2 inch across and never more than 1 inch. You can use 1/2 inch rebar or pipe to screed the sand needed.  Some people find low spots and choose to add more than an inch of sand to compensate and this can lead to failure and shifting.

  • Tip: Play sand should NEVER be used to construct a paver patio. Play sand is too fine, and moves when compressed. Over time, this can lead to uneven sand distribution and paver displacement.

If needed, selecting the right joint sand:

Joint sand: This sand is only used if you have gaps between your pave stones. You can use All-Purpose/Leveling/Paver sand or Polymeric sand, which permanently adheres the paving stones together. Problems in the ground leveling can cause major issues if you use Polymeric sand because you will not be able to fix your project if issues arise. Joint sand can be poured over the pavers, and then swept into the joints. A hand tamp should be used to vibrate the sand further into the joints, but be careful not to tamp too hard because you crack your stones. Never use a plate compacter on your paving stones. A non-polymeric joint sand may have to be re-applied every year if some gets washed out.

Tip: When using polymeric joint sand should be swept into the joints and the dust blown off the surface before spraying the surface with water. This will prevent a shiny layer or haze from forming over the top of the patio. Follow label instructions carefully.

Selecting the right type and amount of sand is critical to constructing a long-lasting patio. If you have any other questions about your project, please contact Tim Newton