paver installation, paver maintenance, Paver sealing
Why Seal Pavers? Should You Do It Or Not?
There are 2 main situations where homeowners hear about sealing their pavers. The first one is when they’ve just installed pavers for the first time, and their contractor tells them they should have it sealed too. Is this true, or is it just upselling?
The second one is when they hire a paver maintenance service because they’re not happy with how their pavers look anymore. Would sealing have avoided it?
It’s hard to make an informed decision when you don’t really know why to seal pavers in the first place. Here you will find what is the motivation and what are the benefits of sealing pavers so that you can decide whether to do it or not.
recently sealed pavers
Freshly sealed pavers!
Why Seal Pavers? Is It Really Necessary?
Sealing pavers is recommended by most manufacturers and contractors for one reason.
The materials pavers are made of are porous. Both concrete and stone are porous. This means your pavers will absorb liquids, and that’s what makes stains happen.
When a paver absorbs water, that’s ok, it will darken for a while, but give it time, and all that water will evaporate. The real issue is that your pavers are also subjected to oil, hard water, rusty water, grease, and so on.
When those liquids penetrate pavers, they will cause a very hard to remove, often impossible to remove, stain.
The sealer is supposed to both penetrate on the pores of your pavers and make them impervious, and create a film that will also protect its surface, making it easy to clean. A properly sealed paver will not stain and any marks on it will be easily removed.
So that’s the main motivation for sealing pavers, but not the only one. Here are some added benefits of sealing your pavers.
Protection From Dirt
Stains are not the only thing that ages pavers. Accumulated dirt and grime are eventually encrusted on pavers and become impossible to remove. Dirt also adds to the erosion of concrete paving stones.
Film-forming sealers prevent dirt from attaching to pavers making them easy to wash away.
UV Rays Protection
Concrete pavers are pigmented during fabricated and constant exposition to UV light can discolor those pigments.
A film-forming sealer will stop that from happening, making sure your pavers will keep their original looks.
Sealers will optionally provide color enhancement. This is what’s normally called a wet-look. You know how pavers look great after you’ve just washed them?
Sealing them can make that look become their normal look. But only if you opt for wet-look sealers. If you want a natural look, that’s alright.
Paver joints are filled with sand so that they don’t move and all the load they bear is properly distributed. Over time, that sand is blown away by the constant exposition to the wind and the rain, and has to be refilled.
If the sand is not refilled shifting or settling can happen. Most pavers come with joint stabilization additives that will harden the sand, making it more resistant to the rain and the wind.
Weed Growth Prevention
By hardening the sand joints, you’re also making it harder for weeds to grow, and trust us, if you don’t do something about it, weeds will grow. Nobody likes a weed-covered paver patio.
People say pavers can last for over 50 years, and that’s entirely true, actually, they will last for longer than that. The main reason people change their old pavers is that they have aged. They don’t look nice anymore, their color is faded, there are stains, break marks, weeds all around, and so on.
By sealing regularly, you stop all of that from happening, making sure you can enjoy your pavers’ entire lifespan.
Is there any con to sealing pavers?
Well, that was quite a list of benefits we’ve mentioned to answer your why seal pavers question. So, is there any con to sealing other than it not being free?
Only if the product was not selected properly, and if the application was poorly done.
Maybe you will not like the color enhancement feature, so you need to choose a natural look sealer. Maybe you can’t have a slippery paver patio, so the selected product must provide more friction. These are concerns that need to be addressed properly before purchasing a sealer.
Also, poor application might create hazing and white films. Or worse, it can trap dirt under the sealing layer.
However, those aren’t really cons of paver sealing, those are cons of improper product selection and installation.
Should I Seal My Pavers?
If you’re interested in keeping them for longer than 5 years than our answer is a solid yes.
We can tell you for sure, that regularly having your pavers sealed (every 3 to 5 years) is tremendously cheaper than getting new pavers every ten years.
Plus, your pavers will always look great. Unsealed pavers will start to accumulate stains in the first year.
Do you like having barbecues outdoors? Do you drive through your pavers? Cars park on it?
Nothing tops the peace of mind of knowing those things won’t cause permanent stains to the huge investment you’ve just made.
Sealing pavers is simply the wiser choice.
How Often Should I Seal My Pavers?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, 3-5 years is a good rule of thumb. But in order to know when the actual time is coming, you just need to properly observe your pavers.
You will notice when the film starts to wear off. Especially when it rains. Your pavers will start to get darker when exposed to water.
When you’re doing general cleaning, use your garden hose to test if the water is being immediately soaked up by your pavers or if it is beading.
Can I Seal Pavers Myself?
While it’s true that you can, you really shouldn’t. Unless you’re experienced and have all the necessary tools, you will benefit the most from hiring a pro.
If you don’t have the necessary experience, a lot of things can go wrong, as we’ve mentioned on the cons of sealing pavers section. A pro will properly consider all those things;
When it comes to saving money, we’re betting you will not. You will have to pay retail price for your sealer, and will probably have to rent tools to power wash before sealing and spread the sealer evenly by spraying. Plus, you will lose an entire weekend at a project that might not even turn out the way you want it.