Up until a couple of months ago I have always stayed away from the sweep in pointing products such as the Sika fast fix jointing compound when grouting between paving slabs. Mostly because my father who is also a landscape gardener has told me to stay away from these products as they use a resin instead of cement which according to him, isn’t as strong. For this reason, I have always mixed a bucket worth of building sand and cement when pointing between the paving slabs and used dye when needed.
This all changed when we were laying a light colored Indian Sandstone and the customer asked that we use the Sika Fast Fix All Weather Self Setting Joint compound as this is what a family member had used on the same slabs. I’m not one to argue with the customer, as if I had used my own way of jointing then he may have me redo the work if they aren’t happy.
So off I went to Screwfix to purchase the paving jointing compound for the first time. From memory, the 2 colors available for what we were using it for were buff and grey.
My first impressions of the Sika Fast Fix All Weather Self Setting Joint Compound
Upon reading the instructions, it says that you need to soak the area before applying the paving jointing compound, and to then use a pointing trowel to apply the product between the gaps within the paving slabs. As well as this, if you have any left over then to keep in water as this will give it a life span of approximately 1 month.
Straight away this came across very easy compared to using sand and cement and would save a huge amount of time. When using sand and cement to point between the paving slabs we have to be careful with how wet the mix is as to not stain the slabs, which also means dabbing the area with a damp sponge as you go along.
Since the jointing compound has no risk of staining the area, there would be no need to be careful which is where most of the time goes. We could spend a hole day pointing and even more on larger paving projects.
So away we went applying the jointing compound…
Using a hose we soaked the area that we would be applying the product and started to pour the bag of Sika joint compound. Unsure on how strong the compound is we decided to use our fingers (wearing gloves of course) to really push the product into the gaps before finishing it off with a pointing trowel for a good finish. Of course, we didn’t have to use our fingers, but it gave us more peace of mind knowing that it was well compacted and still saved us a huge amount of time compared to using sand and cement.
Once we had finished pointing the new patio we decided to give it a very light sprinkle to make sure that it would set. Again we had never used this product before so wanted to be sure that it would do the job.
The benefits of using the Sika paving jointing compound
Me and my business partner actually had a long conversatoin about he product once used as we wanted to continue using it on future patio projects as it does come with its benefits. The biggest one being that it saves us a huge amount of time jobs when pointing. Customers don’t realize how long it takes to point newly laid patios.
As well as this, it is extremely easy to use. So easy that anyone could do it. If you have a patio yourself that needs re-pointing then there would be no need to hire a professional as you could do it yourself. There is no worries when it comes to staining your paving slabs either.
The downside to using the Sika joint compound
I’d be lying if I said that this product didn’t come with any downsides, with the biggest one being the price that comes with it. It of course depends on the size and depths of the gaps between the paving slabs, but for approximately 50 squared meters we got through 6 tubs. There was an offer at the time of buying the product which meant we were getting 2 boxes for £50, but this meant that we spend a wopping £150 to grout the patio. I would have spent no more than £30 on sand and cement. That being said, there is always the question of how much money would you save on labor compared to using sand and cement which is a fair argument. Pay more on the project or pay more on the labor, it really depends on your circumstances.
I am not sure if this is a downside as I am no expert in the product, but it is definitely worth noting. But if you have drizzly weather and the area stays damp, then the paving jointing compound will stay soft. We came back the next day and asked that the customer doesn’t walk on it until it sets. The following day was dry and it did then set. Once set it seemed very hard, much better than we had anticipated.
Another downside is that the residue left over is hard to sweep off the paving slabs even with the stiffest of brushes. The next day you will see the product lightly covering areas of the patio. We have found that this is easier to brush off after a couple of days.
My thoughts on the Sika all weather jointing compound
As a hole, it’s well worth using and we have continued to use it since this job. Until we receive a bad review from a customer then we have no issues using this product. But until next year comes, I won’t know how it stands up against jet washing your patio etc., which is when the real test comes in to place so I will update the post when the time comes.
Despite the description saying that it is ‘all weather’, I definitely wouldn’t recommend using it in the rain. We have had it start raining whilst using the product and it washes it away. So make sure you do it in the dry, and providing that it stays dry then it will set quickly.
Overall it is a good product that does exactly as it says and the finish it gives it just as good as the good old fashioned sand and cement. For us, it saves us a huge amount of time and allows our apprentices to point patios whilst we get on with other things. If you are a company looking to start using this project, or a DIY person looking to do the work yourself then I would certainly recommend this product.
How ever, don’t just sweep it in between the gaps. At the very least use a pointing trowel to make sure that it is well compacted. It is also worth noting that all of the pictures in this post are patios that we have installed using this product!