Polymeric Sand vs Regular Sand – What’s The Difference?

Laying pavers can create a stunning outdoor area like a driveway, path or patio. But if you want the structure to be strong then it’s essential that you put sand in the joints. This makes everything much more stable and secure. 

But there are a lot of different types of sand and each one has its own pros and cons. There are some sands that you shouldn’t use for jointing while others are ideal. 

Polymeric sand and regular sand are both used for paving but each one should be used in a different way. 

Polymeric sand is ideal for filling the gaps between pavers as it promotes better drainage and won’t wash away. On the other hand, regular sand is often used to create a base for pavers due to its easy distribution and low maintenance. 

In this guide, we will explore the differences between polymeric sand vs regular sand in a little more detail so you can understand which one to use and when. 

Polymeric Sand vs Regular Sand

Which sand you use largely comes down to personal preference. However, different types of sand are generally better for different uses. When it comes to whether to use polymeric sand or regular sand, you’ll really need to think about how you’re going to use it. What’s more, most people will find that they end up using both for a paving project. 

The reason for this is that regular sand is a great base for your pavers but doesn’t perform as well as a jointing sand. For this part of the project, polymeric sand is far superior. This is a much more durable and reliable type of sand for filling in the gaps between pavers especially if you’re looking for good structural stability. 

What’s more, polymeric sand is a better looking material that provides your paved area with a far more aesthetically pleasing finish when used in the joints. You have a great choice of colours and there are many benefits to this type of sand as we will find out shortly. 

What Are The Benefits Of Using Polymeric Sand For Pavers?

If you are looking for a sand to fill the joints between your pavers then there are a few options including kiln dried sand. But polymeric sand is an excellent choice for the following reasons. 

It’s Durable

There are binding agents in polymeric sand that make it ideal for locking the paving slabs together. Not only this but these agents ensure that the structure stays together for longer so there will be less maintenance involved. 

It Won’t Wash Away

One of the main problems when using something like regular sand for filling in paver gaps is that it will wash away when it rains. However, even during heavy rain, polymeric sand will be a lot more resistant and won’t wash away as easily. This is largely because it doesn’t allow as much water into the gaps. 

It’s Weed Resistant

Another great thing about polymeric sand is that it can help to prevent weeds. If you’ve previously had a paved area, you’ll know how annoying weeds can be and it feels as though you’re forever pulling them out. 

However, using polymeric sand can reduce the number of weeds you have to put up with. In fact, in a lot of cases, this type of sand will produce such an inhospitable environment that weeds won’t grow at all. 

If you’ve had problems with ants, then polymeric sand will likely stop them too as they find it too difficult to burrow through the material.


When you’re creating a paved area, you want to put your own stamp on it and make your house a home. One of the ways you can do this is by altering colours which is easy with polymeric sand as it comes in a whole host of shades.

Are There Any Downsides To Polymeric Sand?

Nothing in life is perfect so you have to be aware that there are a couple of downsides to using polymeric sand. Before making a decision, here is a very important point that you’ll need to consider. 

Using Polymeric Sand In The Rain

There are so many people who have inadvertently made the mistake of using polymeric sand in the rain. For starters, you aren’t going to want to spend time working outside when the heavens are open so that’s reason enough to hold off. 

But if you are super eager, let us warn you that using polymeric sand in wet conditions could be disastrous. This is because there are polymers in the sand which react to water. When it rains, the sand will harden before you’ve had the chance to properly brush it into the joints, leaving you with a mess that’s incredibly difficult to put right.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Regular Sand For Pavers?

Sometimes, regular sand is going to be the best material for the job. You wouldn’t use this in the gaps between pavers like you would with polymeric sand. But when it comes to creating a stable base for your patio, driveway or other paved area, regular sand is a great choice.

Great For A Level Base

Regular sand is really easy to distribute so many people opt for it when creating the base for their pavers. You’ll not only be able to spread it easily, but regular sand can also be made very level. Nobody wants an uneven patio which is why this is such an important point. 

Easy To Remove

While it’s unlikely that your paved area is going to be a temporary structure, it is worth noting that regular sand is a lot easier to get rid of than polymeric sand. When you’re removing a structure like a patio, the regular sand underneath can be easily taken away, allowing you to make adjustments where needed. 


Compared to other types of sand, regular sand is one of the most affordable. For something like creating a base, there’s no need to splash out on super expensive materials when affordable regular sand will do just as good, if not a better job.


When it comes to choosing the right sand for the job, you’ll see that there are a lot of options. Many people wonder what the difference between regular sand and polymeric sand is. 

The main difference between the two is how they are used. While polymeric sand will create a durable and reliable bond between pavers, regular sand is ideal for creating a stable and level base. 

Driveway Expert