How much seepage with patio blocks mortared and unmortered

The patio blocks around our pool are uneven due to roots and 30 years of wear.
I am planning to pick them up, relevel and rescreed and re-lay them.
They were originally put down with 3/8" mortared joints (probably dry mortar mix and misted).
I was wondering how much difference there would be in water intrusion through the pavers if I put them back without the mortar. I've found that a handheld air hammer will take the old mortar off very cleanly. I'm thinking that might even be a little more watertight than if the mortar joints crack.
I need this job to last about 3 or 4 years. My plan is to replace the pavers, then paint over them with an acrylic paint with nonskid.
I can recalc the size to make up for the loss of the mortar joints.
Also, I had thought of putting plastic under the sand or perhaps between the sand and the pavers but that seems like it might cause problems.
One final question. I'm assuming that 1/4 inch per foot would be sufficient. There are parts where it's about 1" in 1 foot right now.
Thanks, I'd really appreciate any input.
cg
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No mortar at all would be tighter than cracked mortar....? Howzat supposed to work?
Easiest thing is to use some of the modified paver sand that sets up - or add the additive to regular sand. BTW, the white play sand that is used in kids' sandboxes packs a lot tighter than the normal mason's sand.
R
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wrote:

I have no idea, but would it be a good idea to flip them over?
People here have talked about that for deck 2x4s, but I have no idea if it is a good idea here.
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