The Best Sand for Pavers According to Industry Experts

The key to durable and long-lasting stone pavers lays in the sand used during the construction process. For best results, multiple types of sand should be used. This is because sand is used twice during installation, each time for different purposes. The best sand for pavers is dependent on it’s role whether it’s for bedding or filing joints.

Pavers are absolutely stunning in nearly any setting. Home and business owners enjoy the luxury of selecting the perfect pavers to complement their properties, and when installed correctly, these gorgeous units will enhance their property’s value for many years.

Choosing the Right Sand Counts

Many people make the mistake of believing that any type of sand will get the job done. While all types of sand have their own individual set of merits and practical uses, there are some that are better suited to masonry projects than others. It’s imperative that you understand which sand to use for each step of the installation process.

Working with the wrong sand could mean that your pavers will end up sinking, shifting, cracking or experiencing other problems over time. This will take away from the beauty of your project and will create expensive issues that you’ll need to address.

Sand for Pavers

As mentioned previously, sand is used in 2 parts of the installation process – the bedding and as a filler material. First, a bed for the pavers must be excavated and filled with crushed stone or gravel. A layer of bedding sand is then spread on top of the base material to cushion the pavers and keep them in place.

Once the pavers have been laid on the sand, the joints must be filled to create an even surface that will not slip or slide out of place. The sand selected for each of these purposes must be carefully chosen to meet these specific needs.

This will ensure that you’ll have the easiest time installing the stone pavers and will receive the most benefit from your project.

The Best Types of Sand for Pavers

Because sand is used in 2 ways, you will need 2 different types of sand for your project. Professionals agree on the best types of sand for bedding and joint filling.


When selecting the type of sand to use for your bedding layer, you should look for a material that is somewhat sharp, course, granular and features grains of sand in similar sizes. This is because, as you work to compact the bedding sand, you want the edges to grind together and lock it into place.

When this happens, you end up with a smooth surface upon which to lay down your pavers. The interlocking sand will tend not to shift or erode when it’s so tightly bound together. Concrete sand is quite course in nature and will meet these objectives. Another option is mason sand. Although it’s not as naturally course as concrete sand, it still offers interlocking properties. As a result, professionals are inclined to advise property owners to use either material, depending on personal preference.

Filling Joints

The right type of sand for filling in the joints between individual stone pavers will feature multiple grain sizes, as well as sharp edges. This is because, as in the case of bedding sand, you need the filler sand to bind together and create a smooth surface that will not slip, slide or otherwise move around. A very fine sand won’t be able to accomplish this, and is far more likely to wash out or be blown out of the joints after time has passed.

Because concrete sand is available in a number of sizes from 4.75 mm throughout to a #200 sieve it is often recommended for this purpose. More commonly, though, professionals will recommend that property owners work with polymeric sand. This material has become extremely popular in recent years. The sand is coated with a water-activated polymer. As soon as it is exposed to moisture it will bond together and create the strongest interlocking properties possible. Even when exposed to high volumes of water, the material won’t wash out.

In this way, you’ll have the longest lasting joint filler so that your pavers will look and function perfectly for the many years ahead. On top of everything else, polymeric sand is known for being extremely weather resistant – even when exposed to the harsh conditions that we are familiar with throughout NJ and NY. Finally, the sand is popular for its ability to prevent weeds from growing up through the pavers and detracting from their beauty or structural integrity.

Tips for Using Sand for Pavers

Simply knowing which type of sand to use isn’t enough. You also need how to properly work with the sand throughout the installation process. Here are a few useful tips for doing so:

Calculating Your Need

It’s imperative that you take the time to accurately calculate how much sand to purchase for your paving project. Typically, you’ll want your bedding sand to be at least 2″ in depth atop the crushed stone or gravel base. To determine how much to buy you’ll need to enter the length, width, and depth of the coverage area into a reliable materials calculator. This will tell you how many cubic yards and cubic tons of bedding sand to obtain and spread. Calculating your needs for winding paths or rounded coverage areas can be a bit trickier, so it’s best to seek out the help of an expert. The amount of joint filler sand that you’ll require can also be complicated to determine. It will vary based upon the pavers that you use and the desired space between each individual unit. Again, consider working with an expert to calculate your needs.

Spreading Bedding Sand

The function of bedding sand for pavers is twofold. First, the sand will work its way into the voids between the crushed stone base and help to hold the gravel in place. Secondly, it creates a soft bed for the pavers that will prevent the units from shifting and sliding. To ensure that these functions are met, you’ll need to take care to apply the sand evenly and smoothly. Be sure to compact it down so that it is as consistent and durable as possible.

Securing Joint Sand

All joint filler sand needs to be compacted down tightly to guarantee that it will keep pavers in place at all times. It also must be dampened in order to properly harden and cure. This will be more effective with polymeric sand, but is useful for all filler sand used during the installation process.

The Best Supplier of Sand For Pavers in NJ

Braen Stone is the leading supplier of sand for pavers throughout NJ and NY. For more than 110 years we have taken pride in helping customers to find the best materials for their needs. We manufacture our own sand and are able to answer any questions you may have about the material, as well as offer useful advice and input for your project.

Our sand can be picked up or bulk delivered to locations throughout parts of NJ, NY, NYC, and PA.

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By | 2020-04-01T12:52:29-04:00 June 4th, 2017|Sand|0 Comments

About the Author:

Dirk is a Project Manager at Braen Stone. He's an expert on a variety of construction materials and prides himself on helping the company meet the needs of companies large and small.