What Happens if You Don’t Put Sand Between Pavers?

what happens if you don't put sand between pavers?Not putting sand between pavers might seem like a minor oversight, but it can have significant consequences on the stability, durability, and aesthetics of your paved surface. Let’s take a look into what happens when you skip this crucial step in the paver installation process.

  • Lack of Stability: Sand acts as a cushion and stabilizer for pavers. Without it, the pavers are more likely to shift and become uneven over time, especially in high-traffic areas. This lack of stability can lead to tripping hazards and an uneven surface, detracting from the functionality and safety of the paved area.
  • Weed Growth: Sand not only provides stability but also helps inhibit weed growth between pavers. Without sand, weeds and grasses can easily take root and grow through the gaps, leading to an unsightly appearance and requiring more frequent maintenance to keep the paved area clear of vegetation.
  • Erosion and Washout: Wind, rain, and foot traffic can cause erosion and washout of the soil underneath the pavers if there is no sand holding them in place. This can result in the pavers sinking or becoming dislodged, creating uneven surfaces and potential drainage issues.
  • Compromised Drainage: Proper drainage is essential for preventing water pooling and damage to the paved surface and the underlying substrate. Sand helps facilitate water drainage by filling the gaps between pavers and allowing water to flow through. Without sand, water may accumulate on the surface, leading to puddles, erosion, and potential structural damage over time.
  • Reduced Longevity: Pavers are designed to withstand the elements and heavy use, but without proper installation techniques, their longevity can be compromised. The absence of sand between pavers increases the likelihood of settling, shifting, and cracking, which can significantly shorten the lifespan of the paved surface.
  • Increased Maintenance: Paved surfaces without sand tend to require more frequent maintenance to address issues such as weed growth, unevenness, and erosion. This can translate to increased time, effort, and cost spent on upkeep, detracting from the convenience and aesthetic appeal of the paved area.
  • Aesthetics: From an aesthetic standpoint, gaps between pavers filled with sand create a uniform and polished look. Without sand, the gaps appear empty and unfinished, diminishing the overall visual appeal of the paved surface.
  • Risk of Damage: The absence of sand between pavers increases the risk of damage from external factors such as freeze-thaw cycles, heavy loads, and seismic activity. Sand helps distribute weight and stress evenly across the paver surface, reducing the likelihood of cracks and breakage.

Can you lay pavers without sand?  Yes, but it is a bad idea and not recommended. You must compact the soil firmly before laying the paver. That means the soil must be perfectly flat, which is almost impossible to do. With sand, you can easily add more or take some out.  In general, while it might not seem significant, it’s a step that really shouldn’t be skipped.

While it may seem like a small detail, the presence of sand between pavers plays a crucial role in ensuring the stability, durability, drainage, and aesthetics of the paved surface. Skipping this step can lead to a host of issues ranging from instability and weed growth to erosion and reduced longevity. Therefore, it’s essential to follow proper installation practices to maximize the performance and lifespan of your paved area.