With the sand in place between the stones, our patio was looking beautiful. However, we wanted to keep the sand in the gaps and not have to worry about sand on top of the stones. We also wanted to insure our hard work would last through the extremes of heat and below freezing temps as well as wind and rain and snow.
The seller of our flagstone introduced us to a secret ingredient...
This sealant is a thermoplastic, all acrylic polymer which seals the stone, penetrates the jointing sand and binds the sand to the sides of the natural stone creating a stabilized surface. It is designed to be sprayed on to the sand in the joints between the stones, holding or locking the sand in place.
The five-gallon container of Stone Lock we purchased was quite pricey, but worth the cost and effort to apply. Here's what we did:
- We waited several days for the heat of the sun to completely dry the sand between stones.
- Not wanting to 'glue' any sand to the surface of the flagstones, we carefully swept any remaining sand from the face of EACH stone, back into the cracks. Then we used a shop vac to vacuum any remaining grains of sand from off the flagstone. This was a bit tedious, but not difficult.
- Next, using a pump sprayer, we sprayed the Stone Lock liberally to the sand in the cracks as well as on each stone. Initially the liquid looked like bluish milk, but dried clear. (I freaked out when I saw the blue, but my Honeyman assured me all would be well... and it was.) The patio was dry after 3 hours.
- Noticing that some of the joints were not quite hard, we applied a second coat to all joints.
- After waiting again for the Stone Lock to dry, our flagstone patio was finally complete.
♦ ♦ ♦
A few additional notes:
The Stone Lock was advertized to virtually eliminate weed and grass growth in the joints, which it did quite well during the first year. We now have a few weeds peaking out from the cracks but we have never re-applied the Stone Lock as was suggested. Perhaps we will do that this year.
We have on occasion been asked why we didn't use mortar to fill the gaps. The answer is quite simple. We don't like the looks of mortar. It tends to crack as the extreme temperature changes we experience here cause the stones to shift. Sand, even with the application of Stone Lock, is flexible enough to eliminate the unsightly cracks.
I would also like to note that my Honeyman is not a contractor or a builder, or anything of the sort. He is an engineer by trade and works at a computer. He has become, in the course of our almost 36 years together, The Builder of All My Dreams... if I can dream it, he figures out a way to build it. Wait till you see what we're working on now!
To see the completed project visit: You've Got to Have a Dream
You may wish to also visit:
Part One: Preparing the Foundation
Part Two: Laying the Stone
Part Three: Filling in the Gaps