The Homeowner’s Guide To Paver Sealing
If you want to know how paver sealing can improve your deck, patio, or driveway, this article is for you. The International Concrete Paver Institute’s annual report estimates more than 750 million square feet of concrete pavers were sold in the U.S. and Canada in 2018, with 78% toward residential projects. That doesn’t even count brick and natural stone pavers. If you’re buying or currently living in a home with pavers, you need to seal them.
What Is Paver Sealing?
Paver sealing involves spraying or rolling your natural stone, brick, or concrete pavers with a sealer that prevents fading, stains, enhances colors, and stabilizes joint sand. Sealers are available in various types, such as acrylics, epoxies, polyurethanes, and various subtypes, such as water-based and solvent-based.
Types Of Sealers
There are four main types of sealers that most professionals use today.
- Penetrating Sealers – These sealers are made of silanes, siloxanes, silicates, or siliconates and penetrate the paver deeper than other types. They’re perfect for exterior pavers prone to corrosion and freeze-thaw damage. Penetrating sealers create a natural and matte finish that doesn’t change the original appearance of the paver. Most penetrating sealers are also breathable and allow moisture vapor to escape, preventing mold and buildup.
- Acrylics – These sealers come in solvent-based and water-based forms, forming a thin protective film over your surface. These are easy to use, enhance your paver’s color, and dry faster than other sealers. Acrylics protect against water and chloride intrusion (perfect for pool decks) but can wear fast than other sealers, forcing you to reapply them after a few years.
- Polyurethanes – These sealers form a high-build protective film on your paver, available in solvent and water-based versions. They’re perfect for interior or exterior pavers, providing resistance against scuffs and stains. Polyurethanes are transparent, non-yellowing, and thicker than acrylics.
- Epoxies – These sealers also form a high-build protective film on your pavers but are better with interior concrete since they can turn yellow with UV exposure. Offered in various colors, pigments, and sheens, you have a wide range of choices if you use epoxy sealers.
- Water-based – Water-based is a subtype of acrylic and polyurethane sealers. This subtype is perfect for pavers laid with joint sand that are porous and don’t shine as much. Water-based sealers harden the joint sand, preventing movement, and penetrate the paver, lasting longer. They do not darken your pavers or give a high amount of shine.
- Solvent-based – These sealers darken pavers and make them shine, providing a much higher gloss than water-based. Solvent-based sealers are perfect for smooth, non-porous pavers laid together without joint sand. Due to their thickness, solvent-based sealers require a roller rather than a sprayer.
Why You Need Paver Sealing
Here are a few reasons why you need paver sealing.
- Prevents fading – Pavers exposed to the sun and elements are at risk of fading caused by UV rays. The paver material is highly durable, but the pigments inside brick, stone, or concrete can fade over time. Once you seal your pavers, you lock in their colors, keeping them vibrant even in bright sunlight.
- Enhances colors – Sealers work like varnishes for wooden surfaces. They draw out the colors and contrasts in pavers, creating an aesthetically pleasing finish. Some sealers create a “wet look” that many homeowners love, countering the “dryness” that some decks appear.
- Stabilize joint sand – Joint stabilizing sealers harden the sand between your pavers, preventing them from shifting or sinking. This keeps other objects out of your joints, like sand, dirt, and seeds.
- Prevents weeds – Most homeowners believe weeds grow from underneath their pavers, but they actually grow from seeds dropped into the joints carried by wind or birds. Paver sealing will prevent these seeds from rooting into your joints, making it easy to wash or brush them away.
- Stain resistance – Sealers cover the pores in pavers, preventing water and other liquids from seeping into your stone, brick, or concrete. This is perfect for pool parties, barbecues, and other events where food or drinks are present.
Paver Sealing Tips
Here are a few paver sealing tips that all homeowners should know before they hire a company or attempt to seal their pavers themselves.
- Thin sealers must be sprayed onto pavers, often requiring fast application.
- Thick sealers need to be rolled to distribute the coating evenly.
- Some sealers are sprayed on but require you to backroll them to even out the coating. This also requires a thicker roller to ensure the sealer gets into the joints and cracks.
- If you use a thicker roller, make sure you get an even coat across all of your pavers.
- Before applying the sealer, you need to check your paver type and how they are laid. If the pavers are packed together without sand, you can use a powerwasher to clean them.
- If you are sealing your paver driveway, thoroughly clean them to remove grime caused by vehicle traffic.
- Smooth pavers like natural stone that don’t retain as much grim can be sufficiently cleaned with a quick sweep.
- Make sure you evenly spread the sealer over your pavers, paying special attention to how much sealer you use and how long it takes to cure.
DIY VS. Professional Paver Sealing
The biggest issue with DIY paver sealing is that anything can go wrong without professional expertise.
- Delamination – If the sealer wasn’t correctly applied to a clean surface, you might notice a hazing or white film trapped under the sealer. This is pressure from trapped water vapor between your paver and sealer. The only remedy for this issue is stripping the sealer and starting over.
- Improper cleaning – Since sealers enhance your paver’s colors, uncleaned stains and spots will appear brighter than before the sealant was added. When you hire a professional, they will make sure your pavers are properly cleaned and washed.
- Cost – You won’t save that much money by sealing your pavers yourself. You will have to pay retail for the sealer and rent or buy the needed tools. Renting a pressure washer can cost you $50 to $100 a day, so your cost will go up unless you finish the project quickly. You’ll also need to buy sand to replace loose joints, paver cleaner, and efflorescence remover if you need some.
Paver Sealing Near You
If you live in the Greater Salt Lake City area, call Complete Concrete Coatings. We’ve been sealing pavers since 2005, providing quality products and services for every customer. Our team of skilled professionals will inspect your driveway, deck, patio, or sidewalk and offer you a solution that meets your needs and wants. Call today for your inspection and free estimate.