Homeowners often feel the urge to use their paver patio right away after it is finished or after a big renovation. But those impulses need to be kept in checked, as the paver normally needs time to settle and dry after any major changes. So when can you walk on a new patio?
There are usually three big moment a paver installation might go through that you might want to give it some time before using it: installation, deep cleaning and sealing. The installation itself is divided in two separate categories, installation over sand base and installation over concrete.
So let’s talk about each of the scenarios and give you the ins and out on how long you should wait before walking on the patio.
When Can I Walk on a New Patio After an Installation?
As we previously mentioned, installations can be performed over a sand base or a concrete base. And the way you approach walking on them after they are finished is wildly different.
On a sand base, on what we call a dry installation, there is no problem to walk on it as soon as it is finished. In a sand base installation, the pavers are tightly locked in place and secured by the sand without the need of any bonding agent.
This makes it possible for the paver patio to be used right away, as they are finished as soon as they are put in place.
A concrete installation, however, needs time to dry and set the pavers into place. Moving too much can cause the pavers to shift and sometimes ruin the installation completely.
In fact, it takes a long time for concrete to reach its complete strength. Only after 28 days concrete will become completely cured.
The recommendation with paver patios is that you wait at least 24 hours, ideally 48, for the installation to be completely set.
When Can I Use a Patio After a Deep Cleaning?
Deep cleaning of a paver patio should only be done when the forecast is favorable. This means no rain, at least one day prior and one before. There are several steps you need to do to perform a deep cleaning of your patio, and the rain can compromise some of them.
You want your paver to be dry so you can better kill weeds, moss and mold during your cleaning. Rain also keeps your drainage system busy, and you don’t want to overwork it, since you’re going to use a lot of water to clean your pavers.
With rain, comes leaves and dirt, and those are things you want out of your patio both before and after cleaning it.
Ideally, you should wait at least a day before using your paver patio after cleaning it. They are safe to walk on, of course, but we recommend they are as dry as possible before putting furniture and potted plants back in place.
How Long Should I Wait After Sealing A Patio?
Sealing, in case you didn’t know already, is a very important part of paver installation. Nowadays, no installation is considered to be finished before sealing is applied.
Sealing protects your pavers against spills, stains from leaves and dirt, and even against freeze-thaw cycles. Even more, sealing prevents weeds from growing between the grout lines of your pavers, as they can’t break the coat they form.
After sealing a patio, heavy traffic should be forbidden after at least 48 hours, while foot traffic is ok after three or four hours.
The sealer will continue to harden after 48 hours, so avoid heavy activity for that time as much as you can, even thought they are safe to be walked on.
There’s an exception, however. If you’re using an acrylic sealer, any type of activity on it is forbidden for at least 36 hours, ideally 48 hours. Even walking on it is forbidden, so make sure you’ll be able to stay way from your patio in that case.
Professional Planning and Help
Every paver patio installation is different. Each have their own challenges, characteristics, and planning.
From calculating slope, to excavation and bedding, to sanding and sealing. There are a lot of steps to consider. If you’re not a professional, you can never predict the particularities of an installation, and can never know 100% how things are going to go.
For that reason, hire professionals to help you is always a good choice. Not only at the moment of installation, but also to perform deep cleanings and sealing your patio.
The timeframes to wait before using your patio in each situation are a rough idea. Professionals in the hardscape business work with specific techniques and optimal product that, sometimes, can alter those timeframes.
In case you are around the Sarasota and Manatee Counties, we here at S&S Pavers would be happy to provide those services for you. For the past ten years, we’ve been offering the region with only top quality work in the installation and maintenance of pavers.