Pavers are a huge part of the hardscape industry. They have been used for centuries in many cultures across the globe in the famous “brick roads” of many cities. With technology, pavers also developed, and ever since its modern conception they have been regarded as one of the best hardscape concepts ever. So, what are the maintenance aspects involving pavers? Can you seal them?
Just as important as knowing how to choose the right type of paver for your project and how to install them, is knowing how to properly care for them in the long run. Pavers are, after all, an investment that needs to be protected on the long run.
Sealing is a huge part of paver maintenance and a big influence in determining the longevity of an installation. So let’s go right into telling you all there is to know about it.
Can You Seal Pavers?
Yes. Absolutely. Not only you can, it is actually indispensable.
Aside from a few options on the market, like porcelain, most options of paver on the market are porous. That means their surface is not impervious, and it can absorb water and other liquids. This leads to a multitude of problems.
The most immediate of these problems is staining. Because of their porosity, pavers can easily be stained, especially when submitted to “aggressive” substances, like oil (something really common on driveways), paint and wine. Even leaves can stain pavers if left on top of them for too long.
To avoid staining, constant maintenance practices are key, as well as proper sealing. It is recommended, for example, that you clean up spills immediately by soaking them up with a clean cloth. Regular sweeping to keep it free from leaves and other debris is also extremely important.
Sealers protect your pavers and, essentially, close up their “pores”. That prevent liquids from being absorbed and the pavers to get stained. But not sealing pavers can have even worse effects, which we are going to discuss next.
Consequences of Not Sealing Pavers
Water seeping into the pores of your paver can do much more harm than simply staining them. Although stains can be a huge esthetical problem, structural problems tend to be serious, with potential to compromise the entire installation.
Inside the pores, water can freeze during extreme weather conditions and cause damage from within the paver itself. Water easily expands and contracts according to weather conditions, and the stress from inside can damage even the most resistant pavers.
Any homeowner who owns a paver patio know how weeds can be a big problem. Coming from below and forcing their way through the surface compromises the entire bedding of the pavers and can cause irreversible damage to the whole installation.
Fortunately, sealing also helps against that. With an installation properly sealed, the joints between the pavers will be protected. That protection will prevent water and biological debris from flowing freely towards the bedding through the joints.
Without water, weeds can’t grow, and so your installation will be protected against it.
Aesthetic Problems (Stains)
Some pavers can be easily stained when not properly sealed. Between constant exposure to the sun, the rain, car and foot traffic, pavers are tested everyday on their ability to withstand damage.
Not sealing your pavers is a dangerous practice, as it forces them to handle all these things by themselves. Even the most resistant pavers in the market are unlikely to stand the test of time when not aided by sealers, and can quickly lose their aesthetic appeal.
Types of Sealers
There are basically four types of paver sealers: acrylic, natural, silicon, and penetrating. So let’s talk about each one of them.
These are the best sealers to protect your pavers against the UV rays, so they are recommended for installations that will be exposed to the sun. They are very easy to apply and help greatly with cleaning, giving a glossy finish to the pavers.
They come in a lot of colors. The mixing can be a bit complex, so the help of qualified professionals is recommended when working with acrylic pavers.
Natural sealers work by doing exactly what the name suggests: maintaining the original aesthetic of the pavers. They offer good protection and easy application, with a great cost benefit. They are particularly great in protecting the pavers against water.
Furthermore, they sacrifice a bit of functionality in order to maintain the natural look of the pavers. They are considered “non topic”, which means they don’t create a film on top of the pavers. That is precisely how they are able to maintain a natural look, but in return they offer slightly less protection.
Silicon sealers are a kind of middle ground between acrylic and natural sealers. Depending on the mix, they can either focus on extreme protection and leave the pavers with the characteristic glossy appearance, or preserving the natural look of the paver, and sometimes even enhance it.
It is one of the safest options for homeowners who, for some reason, are not exactly sure what is the material that composes the pavers to be sealed. With its easy spray application, it also helps a ton in the cleaning department.
Can You Seal Pavers? Hiring Professional Help
9 out of 10 times you will have to seal your pavers. That’s what any qualified hardscape professional will tell you.
However, choosing the right kind of sealer is not trivial and can lead to a universe of problems if you’re not exactly sure what you’re doing. Sealing is a big and important part of any paver installation, and we highly recommend you hire a professional in your area to help you reach the best possible decision.
We here at S&S PAvers have been providing precisely that kind of sealing service, amongst many others related to the installation and maintenance of pavers, for the last 11 years around the Sarasota and Manatee counties, in FL. We know the importance of sealing, and we always recommend approaching it with care and precision.
And if you happen to be around our area of activity, why not reach us to help you? give us a call anytime at 941-773-3098 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free estimate on our services. We would be happy to hear from you.