Sealing Concrete Pavers: How, Why, and What To Consider
Whether your pavers were newly installed or installed long ago, it is important to seal them against excessive wear.
- The timing of the sealing process is determined by the type of sealant your hardscape company uses.
- The weather and temperature can affect the sealing process and needs to be taken into consideration.
- Even with normal cleaning, properly sealed pavers still need to be repaired and resealed periodically.
Having pavers installed as a walkway or patio in your yard provides a functional and beautiful space to enjoy. Easy to maintain and eco-friendly, pavers are often the preferred choice over other landscape and hardscape materials. Maintaining your pavers properly keeps them in like-new condition for longer, meaning you get to spend more time enjoying the look and feel of a brand new space. One of the best ways to maintain your pavers is to have them sealed initially and then resealed periodically after that. Sealing your pavers reduces stains and fading that can occur over time since pavers are typically made from natural stone, brick, concrete, or clay.
After a paver project, whether big or small, some homeowners choose to skip the added step of sealing the pavers. This is especially true in cases of do-it-yourself pavers. As a result, the longevity of the project can be greatly reduced. Using a sealant on your pavers can keep them looking as attractive as a fresh project and reduce the need for repairs.
If you decide you want to explore a paver project for your yard, using an experienced company for design and installation can make a real difference in the results. Professionals typically finish a paver project with a sealant because they know the importance of long-term protection of the work
When Should Pavers Be Sealed?
Like many home improvement projects, recommendations for project completion are multifactorial. Different companies recommend different timelines for paver sealing, and this is largely due to the types of sealant on the market. There are many sealant options available when you browse the section at your local home improvement store, but not all products are created equally. Many store-grade sealants are sub-par and can trap the release of a white, dusty substance called efflorescence that happens as pavers settle. During the natural release of this substance, a sealant that has coated the surface prematurely or without allowing proper escape can cause a discolored look to the surface.
Professional-grade sealants applied by a trusted company result in a finish that protects the pavers and keeps them looking newer longer. Some sealants can be applied immediately after the project is finished without any downtime. Others require a waiting period, often a week for a sealant that is not film-forming and 30 days or more for one that is film-forming. Some paver manufacturers require a year’s waiting period before sealing to avoid trapping efflorescence unless specific types of sealants are used. It’s best to discuss the different types of sealants with your stonework company to review your options. Depending on the type you choose, your pavers could be sealed immediately or in the future during a return visit.
What Are the Ideal Weather Conditions For Sealing?
Whichever type of sealant you decide to use, the proper application determines how well it adheres to and protects the pavers. One major consideration of sealant application timing is the weather. Although it’s common sense to avoid a rainy day when completing hardscape work, other weather conditions must also be considered. The paver surface needs to be completely dry before application, and ideally, no rain should be forecasted for at least a day or two after the sealant process has been completed. A sunny day is ideal, though, in some climates, it can be difficult to predict consecutive days of sunshine during certain times of the year.
Temperature is also a determining factor in success. A moderately warm day works best, although the sealant can be applied in temperatures anywhere between 50 and 90 degrees. If the temperature is too low and the sealant is not solvent-based, it can take longer to protect the pavers. If the temperature is too high, a solvent-based sealant can evaporate too quickly. Learning the perfect type of sealant for the climate of a certain area is a skill, which is another reason paver installation and sealant application is best left to professionals.
How Often Should Pavers Be Sealed?
Sealing your pavers reduces the maintenance and repairs you may need for the space, but like all sealants, the process needs to be repeated over time to maintain the same level of protection. A benefit to using the same company that installed and initially sealed your pavers to complete any follow-up sealing is that they should have on file the type of sealant that was used. Knowing how your pavers were initially sealed can help determine the frequency of sealing. Typically, pavers need to be resealed at least every five years, though some need to be evaluated for upkeep every three years.
You can pay attention to a few signs that the sealant is wearing off in between sealing jobs. After heavy rain, even well-sealed pavers show temporary discoloration for a few days. This is normal, and as the water evaporates, the normal color returns. Once the sealant is worn, the color change is more distinct and does not fade as easily. Look for other signs of wear at the top layer and let your company know if you need a recoat sooner than anticipated.
Never Too Late to Seal Pavers
Suppose you neglected to seal your pavers when they were initially installed, either from completing the project yourself or choosing a company that did not include sealing as part of the process. In that case, the good news is that it is never too late to add a sealant. If your pavers are still in like-new condition, you can have a company come in and seal them to keep them protected from future wear and tear.
If it has been a while since they were installed, some preparation may need to be performed before the sealant is applied. First, the pavers need to be thoroughly cleaned and cleared of debris. Any weeds or grass that have grown between the joints should be removed. Moss growth should also be removed during the cleaning process. If sand was used between the joints, it may need to be replaced in areas where it has eroded away. Areas that have been damaged must be repaired, and if the damage is too great to repair an individual paver, it should be replaced. Once the preparations are complete, the sealant can be placed on top to restore the pavers to their original color and condition.
Paver Installation and Sealing
If you plan to transform your outdoor space by adding pavers, Epic Stoneworks can help you plan and execute your project. For information about available services or to book an appointment, contact Epic Stoneworks today.