Pavers with Polymeric Sand Now Look Dull?
March 25, 2011 12:38 PM   Subscribe

I had my back terrace tiles replaced with nice techo bloc paresean pavers. The contractor used polymeric sand. After he put the polymeric sand down the pavers now look dusty and the color dulled. Contractor swears he must come back and "seal" the pavers and that is why pavers look dull. I don't think he is right. What do you think? Can the polymeric be cleaned off? Should he rip it all out and do it again for free? Check out the photos.
posted by wheats to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Best answer: I think you are fretting over nothing. The main difference I see between the last 2 pictures, aside from the sand between the stones, is that stones are damp in picture four and dry in picture five. They may also be dusty, but dust is inevitable when you're working with sand. The sealer may very well darken and warm up the color of the stone even when dry.

No, I don't think your contractor owes you a redo.
posted by jon1270 at 12:45 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Go rub one of your new pavers down with water, see the pretty color change? It will be mroe like that after its sealed, or it can be. You should not ask him to rip it all out and do it for free. He did a lovely job of laying all that tile down.
posted by stormygrey at 12:46 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

It'll be fine once he finishes the job by sealing it.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:52 PM on March 25, 2011

I have a small rock collection, and there are many stones that are completely dull when dry but gorgeous when wet. I'm sure your stones will be lovely when they're sealed into a permanently wet look.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:13 PM on March 25, 2011

And yes, colored rock can look that pale when dry despite being very colorful when wetted.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:14 PM on March 25, 2011

Sealing will help but I can guarantee you that those leaves are going to end up making the pavers look much worse if you don't seal them. Damp leaves will stain pavers and concrete.
posted by JJ86 at 1:30 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can't you let him seal them, and if you still don't like it you can ask for some compensation like a re-do? Why is it important to rip them out right away?

Reading about polymeric sand, I'm a little more troubled than other posters because you say it got wet the night before the sand was applied - if the bricks were still wet when the sand was swept in, then this would case sand adhesion. However, it sounds like it can be cleaned off with vinegar and scrubbing, so maybe you can ask the pavers to clean the bricks thoroughly before sealing, or do it yourself. But yes, those bricks need to be sealed in either case and will give them a "wet look".
posted by muddgirl at 1:47 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Dude looks like he knows what he's doing.
posted by rhizome at 1:58 PM on March 25, 2011

That looks like a great job to me. You'll be surprised at how good it looks once it's sealed. If you're really concerned, though, you might ask about staining them before sealing. That will guarantee nice coloring.
posted by snsranch at 2:05 PM on March 25, 2011

The pavers look wet, more than anything else. The dry pavers close to the fence in the "before" picture are probably representative of the natural color, and look pretty similar to the "after" pic .
posted by electroboy at 2:05 PM on March 25, 2011

Sorry, just thinking about it little more. Just to satisfy your curiosity and make sure your going to be satisfied, ask your contractor to illustrate what it's going to look like by dirtying up and sealing one of the paver scraps.
posted by snsranch at 2:13 PM on March 25, 2011

Response by poster: Believe me, Im not looking for a free rip out and replace. But from what I read the polymeric sand if not cleaned off properly coats the pavers and makes em look dull, like in the last photo. Noone else I know has pavers that look like the last photo wet or dry. However I must say the workmanship, the pitch, etc is great!
posted by wheats at 3:16 PM on March 25, 2011

I know nothing about pavers and sand. But, to me the guy has not screwed up until he has screwed up. So far, at every step (demolition, preparation, installation, etc) he has done what appears to be a good job. He presumably does this for a living. Pitch is good, workmanship is good, etc. I would wait for him to finish the job before I did anything further. You are on record of being aware of a potential problem. He stated after sealing it would be as you want it. Well, wait for him to seal and see.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:33 PM on March 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

From what I've seen of sealer on stamped driveways, it really brings up the shine but you need to reapply it every couple of years. I personally think shiny paving stones look a bit tacky and unnatural.

From your photos, it looks like a great job. Even if he applys sealer, it's going to look matte eventually.
posted by bonobothegreat at 7:13 PM on March 25, 2011

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