Achieving a wet look on pavers can be done almost instantaneously with a sealer. The type of sealer you use however depends heavily on the type of wet look you want.
Now, wet look is often interpreted two different ways. The first way wet look is interpreted is related to color, and the second way is related to gloss. I will touch on both in this article.
Matte Wet Look – If you want to slightly enhance the color of the pavers, but don’t wany any gloss, a sealer like the Armor WL550 is a great choice. Your pavers will look similar to what they would look like if you lightly misted them with water. Now, because sealers like the Armor WL550 are penetrating sealers, you won’t get as much of a color enhancement as you would with an acrylic sealer. Pavers are very porous and will soak up material. Because the material is pulled through the pores, instead of remaining on the surface, you are limited to the amount of color enhancement you can get out of a penetrating sealer.
Lots of Color Enhancement and Low to High Gloss – If you want to darken your pavers to give the a similar appearance to being wet, and you want a low to high gloss finish, then a solvent based acrylic sealer like the Armor AR350 or Armor AR500 are a great choice. Keep in mind, due to the porosity of the pavers, they will soak up a lot of material. For that reason, you want to control the application to try and force more resin to remain on the surface. The more resin on the surface, the higher the level of gloss. Often times, if it is your first time sealing you may need to apply a third coat. The best way to apply a solvent based acrylic sealer to pavers is with a solvent resistant pump sprayer. Apply a nice even coat and let dry 24 hours. Repeat with a second coat. If needed, a third coat can be applied 24 hours later. Waiting 24 hours allows the resin to fully cure, forcing the second coat to remain closer to the surface. If you apply coats back to back before they have had a chance to cure, the paver will just absorb the material.
Little To No Color Enhancement and Low To High Gloss – If you want a low to high gloss finish, but don’t want to darken your pavers to make them look wet, then you want a water based acrylic sealer like the Armor WB15 or the Armor WB25. Like with solvent based acrylic sealers, you will definitely need two coats, but may need a third coat. The application of a water based acrylic sealer also varies because you need to work within recoat windows. Commercial pump sprayers are still a great option for applying water based acrylic sealers because they help to control the amount of material applied, giving you better coverage.
How To Choose a Wet Look Paver Sealer
As mentioned above, there are a few different types of wet look paver sealers to choose from. You can go with a penetrating sealer designed to enhance the color of the pavers, or you can go with a water or solvent based acrylic sealer. Here are a few more things to take into consideration when choosing a wet look sealer:
- Penetrating sealers last longer than acrylic sealers simply because they work below the surface and are protected against surface abrasion and exposure to the elements. Typically, penetrating sealers like the Armor WL550 will last for up to 5-7 years, and acrylic sealers will last for up to 1-3 years.
- Penetrating sealers will give a slight enhancement to the color of your pavers, but solvent based acrylic sealers will give you the most color enhancement you can get out of an acrylic sealer. If you aren’t sure which you’d prefer, try a test area comparing the two products on your pavers to see which you prefer.
- Acrylic sealers require some upkeep, but if you like the glossy finish, it is well worth it. Solvent based acrylic sealers are much easier to maintain and re-apply. If you ever run into moisture issues, or need to repair your coating, you can do so with Xylene or the Armor Blush Repair. With water-based acrylics, the repair and recoat process can be a litter more difficult. In most cases, you can’t repair a water-based acrylic that has developed a white haze or delaminated. Instead, you would have to remove the impacted areas and reapply. On the flip side, water based acrylic sealers have little to no odor, while solvent based acrylics have stronger odors that can take a few days to dissipate.
Applying A Wet Look Sealer
Before applying a wet look sealer, there are a few things you can do to determine the success of your project:
- If your pavers are new, check with your paver manufacturer to see when you are allowed to seal your pavers. Some manufacturers allow you to seal your pavers immediately, others require you to wait up to a year before sealing. If you apply a sealer to pavers outside of the manufacturer’s guidelines, the sealer or coating can discolor the pavers, or fail.
- After you clean your pavers, make sure you allow them 24-48 hours to dry. As mentioned above, pavers are very porous. While the surface will appear dry, water is still in the pores of the pavers below the surface. If you apply a sealer or coating to wet pavers, it will result in discoloration, white spots, or coating failure.
- The best way to apply a sealer to pavers is with a commercial pump sprayer, but a roller can be used. If you use a roller to apply a penetrating sealer, be careful. Pavers will soak up as much material as you put on them, and this can result in inconsistent coloration, and over application. You can go through an entire bucket of sealer in a few hundred square feet if you aren’t careful! It is a little easier to control an acrylic sealer with a roller but be careful when going over joints. If you have loose sand, the sand can get picked up in the wet roller and spread across the pavers. Applying the material to a test area first will help you to get a feel for the best way to apply the sealer of your choice to your pavers.
Still not sure where to start? Contact a Foundation Armor technician for help with product selection. You can also view each product listing to see customer photos.