Joints too small for polymeric sand...what should I do?

jschepman

Member
Mar 26, 2020
5
Germantown, TN
Hello Everyone,

This is my first forum. Please help. Coming to you from Memphis, TN with questions and pics about what to do about my small grout joints on my pool deck. I have a concrete pad with what appears to be coral stone pavers with beveled edges mortared in place with no sand underneath nor room for poly grout in between the pavers except for the pavers around the pool perimeter which have what looks like mastic or mortar between them(see pics). There is also a 1/8 inch gap between pool brick coping and the first row of pavers. Most everywhere else, joint spaces are 1/32-1/16 of an inch. Pool was installed in 2004. When I purchased the house 3 years ago, 100 or so pavers were loose around the pool coping. I had them re-mortared. Deck appears to be holding up fine since. Two years ago I tried adding polymeric sand but 90% of it washed out because it just sat in between the beveled edges and did not have room to fall in and bond in the joints between most of the pavers.

My questions,
1. Is grouting the joints even necessary since the pavers are mortared in place? If not, great! I just wanted to do whatever is necessary to extend the life of my pool anyway.
2. If something needs to be done, what should I put in between the pavers since polymeric sand needs 1/8 inch to work and I do not have that much space?
3. What material is that in between the pavers along the pool edge in the pic attached?
4. Once I address the grouting questions above, I plan to seal the pavers with Eagle high gloss concrete sealer. Is that a good idea?
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
16,046
Northern NJ
Welcome to TFP.

1. Is grouting the joints even necessary since the pavers are mortared in place? If not, great! I just wanted to do whatever is necessary to extend the life of my pool anyway.

No.

3. What material is that in between the pavers along the pool edge in the pic attached?
I can't tell from the pics how your coping is designed and if it has an expansion joint or cantilevered coping.


4. Once I address the grouting questions above, I plan to seal the pavers with Eagle high gloss concrete sealer. Is that a good idea?
I think you will find the sealer will wear over time and it will start looking ratty and you will need to reseal it periodically.

I would keep it natural and you will need to powerwash the tiles every few years.
 

jschepman

Member
Mar 26, 2020
5
Germantown, TN
Thanks ajw22. Appreciate the awesome feedback! Few follow up questions if you don't mind. 4. Do you know why grout is not necessary? 5. Did they install it wrong by not leaving room for grout and mortaring it down to cement? I assumed yes but have no idea nor does anyone I have called locally. Its been there for almost 20 years though. The local pool contractors all just want me to rip it out and start over. (LOL Don't foresee me ever having money to do that)

6. What material could I put in the 1/32-1/16 inch joints, if anything?

Also, regarding question 3, sorry i was not very clear, I was wondering what material that is in and on top of the joints around the perimeter edge in the "grout material" pic. Also, I just attached a pic of my coping since you asked. In the coping pic, remnants of what is left of my polyermic sand from 2 years ago are visible as well.

Lastly, regarding your comments on keeping stone natural. I have huge oak trees over the pool which make the deck look terrible after only a few months. I waited two years to pressure washing this time and they were literally black pavers. Could not even see that they were coral colored originally. Knowing that, would you consider sealing with Eagle concrete sealer I mentioned previously?

Thanks Again. So glad to finally connect with someone about this that is not interested in ripping out my deck.

Jared
 

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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
16,046
Northern NJ
4. Do you know why grout is not necessary?
It depends how the paver is laid. Grout can keep pavers from moving and edges chipping and being a trip hazard.

Thick grout lines or thin grout lines or no grout is a style choice. Some people prefer one look over the other. With your pavers laid into mortar with tight spacing there is no need for grout. And your pavers have a rounded beveled edge so it will not chip.

Whoever specified your pavers choose that look and installation method.

5. Did they install it wrong by not leaving room for grout and mortaring it down to cement? I assumed yes but have no idea nor does anyone I have called locally. Its been there for almost 20 years though. The local pool contractors all just want me to rip it out and start over. (LOL Don't foresee me ever having money to do that)
Thyere is no right or wrong. It was the chosen style.

6. What material could I put in the 1/32-1/16 inch joints, if anything?
Why do you think you need to put anything in the joints?

You really need at least a 1/16" gap to put an adequate amount of grout that will hold up.

Also, regarding question 3, sorry i was not very clear, I was wondering what material that is in and on top of the joints around the perimeter edge in the "grout material" pic. Also, I just attached a pic of my coping since you asked. In the coping pic, remnants of what is left of my polyermic sand from 2 years ago are visible as well.
I can't tell from a pic what the material in the joint is.

Lastly, regarding your comments on keeping stone natural. I have huge oak trees over the pool which make the deck look terrible after only a few months. I waited two years to pressure washing this time and they were literally black pavers. Could not even see that they were coral colored originally. Knowing that, would you consider sealing with Eagle concrete sealer I mentioned previously?
I don't think the sealer will keep your area from turning black. You will just have whatever is black on the sealer surface.

That black could be black mold and mildew. I use Wet and Forget on my pavers and stone around my house to keep mold and mildew from turning things black.
 

jschepman

Member
Mar 26, 2020
5
Germantown, TN
sorry for the delay, thanks for the follow up. You asked...Why do you think you need to put anything in the joints?

I just figured since water was getting down in between the tiles that moisture would cause problems for the pool deck and shorten life span. Maybe that is not the case since it is over concrete??? Should I at least grout with polymeric sand up around the pool coping or can I just leave that without grout as well? I'm all about leaving it alone as long as that is what I am supposed to do.

If I decide to seal it, is Eagle Concrete sealer good to use or is there something better?
 

ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
16,046
Northern NJ
I would just leave it as is. Once you put grout on you will then need to maintain the grout as it cracks and gets dirty.

I have never done a sealer to have a recommendation. Here are some otehr comments about it...


 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
587
Cabool, Mo
Being mortared to concrete, there is no drainage. That means your gaps can hold water, giving gunk a place to grow, and freezing in the winter. That is probably why you had loose pavers.
If you are sealing it anyway, that might do the trick if the gap is small enough. Deck paint would cetainly seal it. Caulking the joints is your best bet for a long term repair in my opinion. That is probably the mastic you are seeing at the edge of your coping. Just google "pool deck caulking" and there are a bunch of how-to videos and products. But it is a painstaking project on a paver deck.
You might look into an epoxy coat. I have never worked with it myself, but have heard some good things about it. A former employer resurfaced his stores concrete floor with a clear epoxy and some kind of flakes and it looked like granite. I am sure that would seal your gaps. You wouldn't have to use the flakes, of course, the epoxy was clear. I have seen alot of epoxy/ stone pool decks in the field too. They were a fad for a few years.
Good luck!
 

jschepman

Member
Mar 26, 2020
5
Germantown, TN
Dear RDSpaGUY and Ajw22,

Two questions for each of you guys/gals. Thanks RDspaguy. I never saw your response for some reason. Ajw22 explained to me that not grouting or caulking the pavers was the intent when laid because of its beveled edges. Sounds logical to me. I agree with you that the 100 or so loose pavers around the coping of the pool deck was probably due to ice getting between paver and concrete. The pavers that were loose all bordered the coping which is where the spaces between the tile and coping were largest and therefore probably let in a lot of ice. I am totally ok with no grout lines and sealer. My main focus is making sure I take the necessary steps that are needed to maximize the life of my pool/deck as I don't want to have to redo it in the next 30 years. I am under the impression that the paver coming loose is all that will happen and no real damage to underlying concrete??? If that is the case, then I will just reset a few pavers here and there as they pop loose each year and pressure wash each season. That would be easier maintenance I think rather than sealing every two years and caulking/recaulking ever few years. But again, I just want to do what I am supposed to do.

Second question, if you look closely at the last pic I posted above of the coping bricks....you can see that there is a larger gap between it and the pavers. Before I put polymeric sand there 2 years ago, there was no trace of anything ever being there. Did this originally have something there and if so what should I put there if anything? I have plenty of sand on hand still and can just do that every 2 years I guess. If I should use some kind of mastic, I am worried I will pick the wrong stuff that does not expand/contract or something and therefore ruin the deck/pool.

Thanks,
Jared
 

RDspaguy

In The Industry
Mar 21, 2020
587
Cabool, Mo
Well, there is no "supposed to do" in this case. Typically, pavers are laid over sand which allows drainage. "Supposed to do" went out the window when they put them on concrete. But the only thing that it will do is pop them loose.
You are not going to ruin your deck.
We always used a product called Vulkem, but I am sure any comparable self-levelling concrete sealant would work.