Sealing Concrete Pavers: The How and Why and What to Consider
Over the past few years, concrete pavers have established themselves as a superior material compared to asphalt and poured concrete without stretching the budget too much. If you need to build a driveway or walkway made out of concrete pavers, you can search for “paving companies near me” and hire professionals for the job. Let’s check out how and why you should use concrete pavers.
- Protection from fading – When you seal concrete pavers, they are shielded from the elements of nature. Most of the time, concrete pavers are exposed to harsh US rays that degrade all kinds of materials and cause a chemical reaction that has adverse effects on many man-made structures.
While concrete pavers themselves are very durable and can potentially last over a decade, the same can’t be said for the color pigments on the pavers. Those pigments degrade over time and the process is accelerated by UV rays from the sun. When pavers are sealed, it protects the colors from fading away even under bright and harsh sunlight.
- Enhanced colors – If you’ve indulged in minor furniture repairs, you may have come in contact with wood varnish used for sealing and protecting wood furniture. Sealers for concrete pavers work the same way. While they protect the concrete pavers, they can also draw out the color and enhance the contrast between different shades on the pavers. This adds to the visual interest and makes the pavers look even more vibrant and colorful.
Moreover, certain sealers with a higher cost have a “wet look”. When those sealers are applied, they make the concrete paver surface look almost like a patio surface. However, all types of “looks” aren’t suited for all properties. Instead, you should consult with your contractor to choose a sealer with a “look” that suits the overall style and theme of your home.
- More stability – Sealers don’t just work on the paver surface. There are certain sealers that have compounds that strengthen the sand between the concrete pavers. When the joint sand gets hardened by those sealers, they are less susceptible to being blown, washed, or displaced by rain, wind, and other natural elements.
Moreover, insects have a hard time moving through the hardened joint sand and that means less shifting and sinking of the sand. If you’ve used concrete pavers for the pool deck, sealing it with a joint-sand stabilizing sealer can keep sand from getting into the pool. Hardened sand also adds more resistance to weeds, and nothing can sprout out in between the pavers.
- Stains – One of the most important attributes of sealers is protection from human mishaps. While sunlight, wind, and rain can slowly degrade the color, nothing beats the horrifying effects of oil, dirt, and chemical stains. For instance, if there’s an oil leak from your car or motorbike, you don’t want the black goo to stain your driveway. That’s where sealers come in. If you do other types of projects and experiments in your garage or driveway, it’s best to protect those surfaces with sealers.
- Paver sealing frequency – Most contractors have moved on to breathable sealers and that’s why there’s no wait time anymore on sealing the driveway or pavement after installing the pavers. There’s no need to wait for efflorescence to escape from pavers since the breathable sealers allow it to happen. However, after you install the pavers and get them sealed, it is important to reseal the pavers after a certain period.
The sealant weakens and wears off over time and that’s why you need to reseal your pavers periodically around every 3 to 5 years. However, that number can vary depending on the pavers, local conditions and the sealers used previously. That’s why it’s best to consult your contractor. Applying sealers too often can even damage the look of the pavers. Moreover, if there’s heavy rain, even well-sealed pavers can turn dark and will remain that way until all the water evaporates. That doesn’t mean the sealer has failed.
- Cleaning and weather conditions – Before sealing pavers, they need to be cleaned thoroughly. That holds for even new pavers. There are certain prep materials that clean the pavers and also open up the pores on the concrete surface to allow better sealer penetration. Apart from regular cleaning and prepping, stains should be removed with the appropriate type of stain remover.
While cleaning the pavers, you need to make sure to remove debris and loose sand with a leaf blower and a good broom. Make sure to adjust the airflow of the leaf blower and not blast away the sand in the joints. You also need to pull out any weeds growing between the pavers and get rid of residual dirt. Make sure to fill in the joints with sand and compact them.
After the pavers are cleaned, they need to dry before they can be sealed. In sunny weather, it can be a wait time of a few hours and in cool climates with shaded areas, the pavers may take over 24 hours to dry out. If the temperature is around 50 to 90 degrees and the weather is dry, you are ready to seal the pavers.
- Sealing pavers – There are several steps involved in the sealing process. After you have cleaned the pavers and given them a proper wait time to completely dry out, make sure to check the weather forecast. If it’s not going to rain for the next 24 hours, you can start the sealing process.
Cover the entire paver surface with the sealant shooting out from a low-pressure sprayer. For directing the sealer into the joint sand, you can use a squeegee. After that, let the pavers dry out for a few hours and make sure no one steps on them for the next 24 hours.
Sealing concrete pavers brings a lot of benefits. It protects their color from fading away and adds stability between the joints. However, building something out of concrete pavers and then sealing it is a very technical and labor-intensive job. It’s best to leave it to professionals. To hire pros for the job you can search for “paving companies near me”.