In short, yes, you should use a paver sealer, but when you seal your pavers is almost as important as what you use to seal them.
Before sealing your pavers it is important to check with the manufacturer as to what their sealing guidelines are. Most manufacturers allow the pavers to be sealed immediately upon installation, while others require you to wait anywhere from 60 days to a year. Why is this? There are several reasons, but two of the most common are:
Some pavers are made with a sealer already in the mixture, and adding another sealer too soon could result in coating failure, or discoloration of the pavers.
Depending on the mixture used to manufacture the pavers, the pavers may end up with a high PH. The high PH level of the pavers could attack any sealer put on the surface, resulting in coating failure, or discoloration of the pavers.
While it isn’t typical that the manufacturer requires you to make, some of the largest manufacturers stress it in their manuals.
Once you determine when you are able to seal you pavers you need to decide on a paver sealer.
Choosing a Paver Sealer
The best paver sealer for sealing your pavers will depend on what you want your pavers to look like once sealed. Here are a few options:
Penetrating Paver Sealer: Penetrating sealers, like Silane-Siloxane water repellent sealers, prevent deterioration and staining without changing the look or color of the pavers. They chemically react below the surface and will not leave behind a visible surface film or coating. They are designed to provide years of protection before the need to reseal and can significantly reduce deterioration caused by water absorption such as cracking, spalling, pitting, freeze-thaw and ice damage, salt damage, and the growth of mold and mildew.
Wet Look or High Gloss Paver Sealer: To achieve a wet look or high gloss finish you want to use an acrylic sealer. If you want the color of the pavers to be darkened you need to use a solvent based pure acrylic lacquer, or a solvent based acrylic copolymer. Water based acrylics will add gloss, but they will not darken the color of the pavers anywhere near the extend that the solvent based will.
Cleaning the Pavers and Applying a Paver Sealer
Cleaning the pavers before sealing is fairly straight forward. The best way to clean the pavers is with a pressure washer, and mild cleaner. For deep or specific stains, like rust or oil stains, the stains should be spot treated with a cleaner designed for that specific stain. If a cleaner is used that leaves a residue, it is important to remove that residue before sealing.
Once the pavers are cleaned, it is important to wait at least 24-36 hours before sealing. Pavers are porous and can retail large amounts of water and moisture. Applying a sealer or coating to wet pavers could result in failure of the product applied.
When it comes time to apply the sealer, you will use a pump sprayer, or a roller. Sprayers provide more coverage, while rollers give you better control. What you use will ultimately depend on the type of product applying, and your preference.
Sealing Paver Joints
This is a very popular questions, and unfortunately it doesn’t have just one answer. There are several materials that can be used to seal joints, the most common include concrete, polymeric sand, and lose sand. While penetrating sealer scan be applied to all joint types, acrylic sealers may have trouble if applied to lose sand. When the sand moves, it can cause the coating to delaminate in surrounding areas. It is best to discuss this with the sealer manufacturer should you have any questions.
To talk to a Foundation Armor technician, we are available on live chat or you can call 866-306-0246.