Pavers are an investment, a large one, and like anything else of value, it is important to protect your investment. In order to keep pavers looking as good as the day they were installed, or better, it is important to use a good paver sealer. Here are the top 10 benefits of sealing your pavers:
Reduce deterioration, cracking, and spalling caused by the absorption of water, snow and ice.
Reduce the growth of mold, mildew, and algea on the surface.
Reduce staining caused by water and surface spills.
Reduce fading caused by surface abrasion.
Reduce discoloration caused by exposure the elements.
Reduce the formation of efflorescence on the surface.
Reduce surface dusting.
Reduce deterioration and staining caused by salt and fresh water pool systems.
Extend the life of the pavers.
Enhance or bring out dull or faded pavers.
Those are the top 10 reasons for sealing pavers, but there really are many more. When the right sealer is chosen, the benefits are endless.
Types of Paver Sealers
When it comes to sealing your pavers there are a few types of paver sealers that can be used:
Penetrating Sealers: If you want to protect your pavers without changing how they look, then you want a penetrating sealer. Silicates and Siliconates can leave behind a hardened white film and should be avoided, but Silane Siloxane sealers however offer many benefits. Silane Siloxane sealers penetrate deep into the surface of the pavers where they chemically react to form a hydrophobic barrier within the pores. This barrier helps to reduce surface water absorption by up to 95% and will reduce deterioration caused by water absorption, staining, the formation of efflorescnece, mold and mildew. They will not change the look or color of the pavers and they will not leave behind a visible surface film. The best Silane Siloxane sealer for pavers are the Armor SX5000 (solvent based) and the Armor SX5000 WB (water based).
Wet Look Sealers: In order to achive a wet look, you want to use a solvent based acrylic like the Armor AR350. The resins from the acrylic will darken the surface of the pavers, giving them a very similiar appearance to being wet. Pavers are very porous so when using a solvent based acrylic sealer it is imporant to apply two thin coats and space the coats out 12-24 hours. While 1 coat may be sufficient, you may notice inconsistancies in the gloss level until a second coat is applied.
High Gloss Sealers: In order to achieve a high gloss finish you can use a water based or a solvent based acrylic sealer. Water based acrylic sealers will not darken the surface and solvent based acrylic sealers will. Water based acrylic sealers require more work to apply, repair, and maintain while solvent based acrylics are very easy to apply, repair, and maintain. Solvent based acrlyic sealers, like the Armor AR500, are the most popular type of paver sealer used to achive a high gloss. Like with the wet look sealer, two coats are suggested, spaced out 12-24 hours. You want to give the first coat time to harden so that the second coat bonds to the first coat instead of being soaked into the pores. This will help to achive a consistant high gloss finish. Pavers are more porous than concrete, so to achive a "Vegas shine", more coats may be required. The level of gloss is very heavily dependent on the porosity of the pavers and the application method. In some cases, a low-high gloss can be achieved, but a "Vegas shine" may not be possible. Acrylcs are not high build coatings and need to remain breathable. It is never suggested to apply more than 3 coats, and even 3 coats should be applied to a test area first.
How to Seal Pavers - Unsealed Pavers
Make sure the surface is clean and dry for at least 24-36 hours.
Using a roller or sprayer, apply the first coat of the Armor SX5000, Armor AR350, or Armor AR500.
Wait 12-24 hours and repeat with a second coat.
How to Seal Pavers - Currently Sealed Pavers
How you seal pavers that are currently sealed will depend on the type of sealer that is currently down:
Penetrating sealers: This can be a bit more complicated depending on the type of penetrating sealer used. If a solvent based penetrating sealer was used, like the Armor SX5000, then you can recoat with a solvent based water repellent, or a solvent based acrylic, like the Armor AR350 or armor AR500. If a water based penetrating sealer was used, like the Armor SX5000 WB, you can recoat with a water based water repellent sealer so long as the original water repellent has been removed, or is no longer present. You can also use a solvent based acrylic sealer after it has been applied to a test area to verify compatability.
Solvent based acyrlic sealer: Solvent based acrylic sealers need to be recoated with a solvent based acrylic. Once the surface is clean and dry, simply apply 1-2 coats, per manufacturer directions, to the surface.
Water based acrylic sealer: Water based acrylic sealers need to be recoated with a water based acrylic. You will most likely need to screen sand the surface to allow for proper bonding. Once clean and fully dry, simply apply 1-2 coats, per manufacturer directions, to the surface.
Imporant Information to Consider About Pavers
Pavers are a bit more complicated than concrete in that many pavers are "enhanced" by the manufacturer. It is important to check with the manufacturer of the pavers first before sealing to make sure you are able to seal the pavers. Some manufacturers allow the pavers to be sealed the day after install, while others require you to wait as long as a year so that the PH of the pavers can normalize. Applying a sealer before the manufacturers suggested guidelines can result in both coating failure and discoloration or damage to the pavers.