Polymeric Sand Vs Mortar: Which To Choose For Your Project

It's vital to understand whether to choose polymeric sand or mortar for your project to ensure it looks good and lasts. Would you like to know whether to choose polymeric sand or mortar for your project? Well, we have researched this topic and have answers for you.

You should use polymeric sand over mortar if you want your project to be easy to repair. Mortar is best used when you want your project to last many years without repairs.

In this article, we will learn whether to choose polymeric sand or mortar for your project. We will also learn the answers to other interesting related questions, such as how do you install a patio with polymeric sand, and how do you install a patio with mortar? Keep reading to learn more!

A collage of Polymeric sand and mortar mixed, Polymeric Sand Vs Mortar: Which To Choose For Your Project

Polymeric Sand Vs. Mortar

Whether you're building a rock pathway or a brick patio, you must hold your building materials together. Your best options are polymeric sand or mortar, but choosing will depend on a few factors.

Let's look into the pros and cons of polymeric sand and mortar to help you know which you need for your project below:

Polymeric Sand

Polymeric sand is a type of sand blended with polymers that cause it to harden when water is added. One advantage polymeric sand has over mortar is its ability to shift without cracking.

When paths held together by polymeric sand are subjected to stress, the sand joints allow for some shifting which prevents cracks.

Another advantage to polymeric sand is how easy it is to repair. When a stone or brick becomes unaligned, it's much easy to repair than mortar.

One disadvantage of polymeric sand is settling.

Polymeric sand is less ridged than mortar and can settle over time. To keep them even, pathways and patios held together by polymeric sand must be reset every few years.


Mortar is a mix of cement powder and water, which creates a durable binding agent.

Rock paths and patios held together by mortar can last for years without needing to be reset. The reason mortar is so resilient is it creates a ridged walkway that holds its shape.

One drawback to mortar's rigidity is how it cracks. Where polymeric sand bends when under stress, mortar cracks, and repairing the cracks in mortar can also be a hassle.

Our Pick

Polymeric sand is the best choice for walkways in areas with lots of roots or water that can create shifting. Making frequent repairs in a polymeric sand walkway will be easier than a mortar walkway.

Mortar will be the best material if you want a walkway that won't need frequent repairs and live in an area with less water, and the walkway is away from trees that could create cracks.

How Do You Install A Patio With Polymeric Sand?

Pavers meets with patio island. Patio island have polymeric sand layed and job completion almost done when final pavers cut and placed

When installing a patio with polymeric sand, it's crucial to have the proper spacing between your bricks or stones. The correct distance between bricks and stones should be an eighth of an inch to four inches.

If you place the bricks or stones closer together, water won't properly penetrate the sand, and too far apart, and you can wash out the sand.

Once you have your bricks or stones laid out, fill in the gaps with polymeric sand to an eighth of an inch under to tops of the bricks.

It's vital not to fill the sand to the top so that when people walk, they don't wear down the sand.

After filling the gaps with polymeric sand, brush off any excess sand on your bricks or stones. Any sand on top will seal your bricks or stones and leave an unsightly finish.

Next, take a hose and either spray the water thinly through your thumb or use a shower attachment to create an even spray.

Spray down the polymeric sand for five to ten seconds and allow the water to soak in.

Now, spray the polymeric sand for another five to ten seconds. If you see foam starting to form, then stop watering. The foam is the polymers escaping, meaning the sand is fully saturated.

Allow your polymeric sand to dry for twenty-four hours before walking on your new walkway.

How Do You Repair A Polymeric Sand Patio?

Install polymeric sand by brooming it into the paver joints during construction works. Some motion blur present.

Repairing polymeric sand patios is very easy. To fix a part of your polymeric sand breaking apart, take a small amount of polymeric sand a sprinkle it into the hole that's formed.

Now brush away any excess sand on top of the bricks or stone. Removing as much excess sand as possible is vital to keep polymeric sand from hardening on the surface of your patio.

Next, take a spray bottle and spray the sand until it's thoroughly wet. If you see foam rising out of the patch, stop adding water.

Now allow your polymeric sand patch to dry for twenty-four hours before stepping on it, and it will look as good as new.

How Do You Install A Patio With Mortar?

Laying gray concrete paving slabs in house courtyard driveway patio.

When installing a patio with mortar, planning is everything.

Before you place any mortar, lay out your bricks and stones in the pattern you want and ensure they fit together nicely. Once you have the design figured out, you can start installing bricks or stones with mortar.

First, start by mixing a batch of mortar by combining cement powder with its recommended amount of water. You can mix your mortar in either a cement mixer or a wheelbarrow.

Once you have your mortar made, start building your patio.

Take a spreader and apply a liberal mortar to the base of your bricks or stones. Now gently press them into place. If any mortar squeezes above the surface of the bricks or stones, remove it.

It's okay if the mortar doesn't reach the desired height between bricks or stones because once all the bricks or stones are placed, you will go back through and mortar the gaps.

Once you have placed all the bricks or stones, allow the concrete to cure for a few days. When the bricks or stones are fully set, you can fill in the gaps with mortar.

Make a new batch of mortar and begin using a spreader to fill in the areas between bricks or stones with mortar. Be sure to scrape away any mortar that sticks above the bricks or stones.

After two or three days, the mortar between your bricks or stones will have cured, and you can enjoy your new patio.

How Do You Repair A Mortar Patio?

Person worker cleaning the outdoors floor.

When the mortar in your patio begins to break, or a brick or stone becomes loose, it can be quite a project to repair. First, you need to use chisels and break apart the mortar around the brick or stone that needs to be reset.

You must take your time with this step to avoid damaging nearby joints.

Once you have removed the brick or stone in question, take your chisel and chip away any excess mortar from the joints of that brick or stone and the mortar underneath.

After removing all the mortar, level the ground under the brick or stone so you can set it back correctly.

Once you have a level surface, make a batch of mortar and apply it to the base of your stone or brick. Now, place your brick or stone into place and ensure its level.

Allow it to dry for twenty-four hours before applying mortar to the joints.

Now that the brick or stone's mortar is dry, make another batch of mortar to fill in the area around the reset brick or stone. Be sure to keep any excess mortar from spilling over the surface of the brick or stone.

Once the mortar around the border has dried, your patio repair is finished.

If you are looking for an easier way to reset a brick or stone, you can opt for masonry glue. The steps are the same, but instead of removing all the mortar around the brick or stone, keep it there and dust it off with a brush.

Once you have removed all the dirt from the old mortar, apply a liberal coating of masonry glue to the mortar base. Now, press your brick or stone into place.

Take more masonry glue and apply a coat to the edge of the brick or stone to keep water out. Allow the masonry glue to cure for four to five days, and your repair is complete.

If you want to try masonry glue for yourself, here are two of the best on Amazon:

Xtreme Bond Masonry Adhesive

View it on Amazon here.

Loctite Masonry Glue

Check out this masonry glue on Amazon.

Our Final Thoughts

This article taught us that polymeric sand is easier to repair, but mortar lasts longer. We also learned how to install and repair polymeric sand and mortar patios.

Remember, if you want an easy way to repair a mortar patio try masonry glue.

Made it this far? Check out these helpful related posts!

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