Paver patio question

We are having a paver patio installed in our back yard and have now gatjered all bids and designs.
One contractor, who has a great design and a quality line of pavers, has NOT bid poly sand as the medium to fill the spaces and lock in the whole patio. Everyone else has done so, but those who bid it have not had a real good explanation as to why they use it. "We've been doing it for years - it seems to work", but why did you switch drom regular sand?
The guy who did not bid the poly sand has gone into some detailed reasons that seem to be plausible. He is a well known contractor, with tenure in the area, and he says all his pavers (driveway, patio, pool surround, etc.) were done without the poly sand and with no problems over a 12 year period.
th From what I've read both will "lock" in the pavers, each will require some maintenance - poly needing less, etc. I don't have an opinion one way or another. I will get a guarantee, but sometimes the process of fixing a guarantee is a big hassle which I always try to avoid. I would rather pay to have the job done right the first time.
Can anyone talk of their experiences or if you are a contractor, what do you bid on your jobs?
Thanks John Carter
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I think the biggest factor is where you live. Is there a lot of freezing and thawing? If so, it doesn't matter which you use, it will require more maintenance than places that don't freeze. I have used both here in Ohio and I can't see any difference other than price. No matter what, water will get between the pavers and freeze, pushing them up and outwards.
Getting the base compacted and good drainage is the biggest factor concerning longevity.
As a side note.......... When I deal with a contractor, I always ask them when they can have it done. I then double the time limit for weather and such and put in a clause that states if not all work is completed by that date, no labor charges will apply. Just something to think about. Good luck.
Hank
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Not a contractor, but have done many paver projects, some with plain sand ( sharp sand) and some with polymer sand. I'm in northern Ohio, btw.
Now that I've used polymer sand, I'd never go back. The first patio area I did with polymer sand is now going on 4 years and I haven't had to touch it. No grass or weeds growing in the sand, or areas where the sand washed out and dirt settled in, like always happened with plain sand.
All my pavers have been by the book: geotex fabric, 4-8+" of compacted base (depending on whether it's foot or light vehicle traffic), an inch or so of sand, and the pavers. Enough pitch for drainage. I always vibrate the pavers as I'm laying in the sand so it really fills the gaps between.
I've never had a problem with frost heave; I credit that to the base prep, but the projects done with plain sand always end up with some of the sand washing out in heavy rains. then dirt settles in and stuff starts growing.
I will say this, the polymer sand is somewhat fussy. After you sweep it in and vibrate and sweep it in and vibrate, and so on, you have to really take care to get the powder off the surface before you wet it. Otherwise it stains the surface. And you have to wet it carefully, several times over a few hours. I can see why a contrator may not want to bother, or might take short cuts. I found a gentle touch with a leaf blower held very low to the surface blows off residual powder without blasting out the sand.
Oh yeah, the polymer sand is quite a bit more expensive, but kind of lost in the noise compared to total cost of your typical paver project.
HTH,
Paul F.
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