In addition to lots of hits on the differences between Benjamin Moore’s Aura and Natura paint lines, I also get a lot of hits from people searching “gator dust problems”. No one seems to use more specific search terms, so I’m not sure if they’re having Gator Dust problems or are anticipating/trying to avoid problems.
Either way, we have used Gator Dust twice now: the first time when we moved our patio from our previous house, two doors away, and about a month ago when we expanded the same patio a little.
If you’re unfamiliar with Gator Dust, it is similar to jointing sand for pavers, but is used in cracks that are much larger, like with the irregular shapes and cracks in flagstone patios. The Gator Dust has a hardening agent/binder that is activated by misting with water. Once dry, it still has some flex to it to allow for some movement of the stone, especially in freeze/thaw areas like ours.
Overall the Gator Dust that we applied 5 years ago has held up well. There has been a little wear, and we could pry up some pieces in spots, but we have had very few weeds making their way into cracks. Since we were about to apply more Gator Dust to the new section, I wondered if it was possible to reapply Gator Dust and build it up over old Gator Dust. I couldn’t find any information on it, so we figured we’d try it and see if it would work.
It comes in two colors: beige and gray. We’re using gray. We poured the Gator Dust into smaller tubs and tried to concentrate on pouring it into the cracks, although I think the instructions say you can pour it on and sweep into cracks. It contains a mix of larger pieces, around small pebble/limestone screening size, down to a fine dust.
We brushed as much as possible into the cracks using a wire brush and pounded the stone with a rubber mallet as we went along. You want to get as much as possible into the cracks, and pounding the stone helps it settle and remove air pockets.
Then you need to thoroughly sweep the dust off the stone. We tried the leaf blower at a low speed to blow it off the stone, but I didn’t think it worked that well. Our leaf blower isn’t the best, so maybe you’ll have better luck. I ended up using a Shop Vac, getting as close to the cracks as possible without sucking up the Gator Dust.
You’ll end up with the stone looking pretty much like this.
Even with vacuuming there will appear to be a fine layer of dust but it didn’t seem to be an issue on the stone once we sprayed the Gator Dust to activate the binder.
And here it is after we misted the patio (follow the instructions on the bag for misting frequency). The area at the far end is where we laid the new stone — obviously the old flagstone could use a good cleaning.
We do need to fix and build up some spots. You want to make sure that there’s a good mix of fine dust plus the bigger pieces in the cracks. In the photo below, the cracks to the right have too many big pieces, so there wasn’t enough binder to harden them — we’ll have to vacuum those up and reapply. The crack on the left has a good combination of dust particles to pebbles and has solidified. We also found that it was possible to patch in new Gator Dust with old spots.
I hope this has been helpful. If you’re having problems with Gator Dust, feel free to ask a question and I’ll do my best to answer.