If you have a paver driveway, patio, or walkway, then it is important to keep them sealed. Sealing your pavers helps prevent staining and fading, and also helps protect them from the elements. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about paver sealers and sealing your pavers. We will cover the different types of sealers available, how to seal pavers correctly, and the benefits of sealing your pavers. So if you want to keep your pavers looking their best for years to come, be sure to read on!
In order to protect the pavers from damage due to humidity, paver sealer should be applied at the time of paver installation. Failure to apply paver sealer can also cause paver surfaces to discolor over time due to UV exposure and stains from organic debris such as dirt, oils, or oil stains.
Paver sealant is a paver necessity that applies a protective barrier to the pavers in order to prevent the paver stone from absorbing water and becoming damaged due to freeze-thaw cycles or physical damage from, for example, lawnmowers or car tires.
Paver sealer also ensures paver surfaces stay clean by repelling water and water-based stains. Additionally paver sealer protects paver surfaces from UV degradation and discoloration.
Do You Need Your Pavers Sealed?
Is it necessary to seal pavers? If the pavers are exposed to high traffic, paver sealer is recommended. Paver sealant can be applied to pavers that have been installed for a few years or a brand new installation; however it is important to note that the paver sealer needs time in order to penetrate and adhere to the substrate.
A paver sealant will not properly bond to the substrate that have puddles or pitting, paver sealer will not adhere properly if the surface is dirty.
Types of Paver Sealers or Paver Sealant
There are two general paver sealant options available for paver sealing, solvent based sealers and water based sealers and they include penetrating paver sealers and film forming paver sealers.
Film forming paver sealers can create deep color enhancement of the paver, can offer a high gloss or satin finish and provide stain resistance while also creating a water repellent barrier.
Penetrating or non film forming concrete paver sealers offer a quick application process and the finish is generally a natural untouched look, although there are color enhancing penetrating sealers available.
The biggest difference between a film forming paver sealant and a penetrating sealer is joint sand stabilization. A film forming water based sealer will bind the joint sand and a non film forming sealer does not, unless it contains a resin and the excess sealer is pushed into the sand joints.
Solvent Based Sealers
Solvent based sealers are bad for the environment! Manufacturers are gradually moving away from these type products. Regardless solvent based sealer are more difficult to spray apply than water-based sealers and they don't really seal the sand joints or provide joint stabilization, as well as the water based sealers.
The solvent based sealer tends to seal only the top surface of the sand compared to water based products, which soak down deeper into the sand and are long lasting. While solvent-based sealers can produce a nice high gloss finish, they have strong odors and can also make the surface slippery if applied too thick. There are some sealers on the market that have better slip resistant characteristics.
Solvent Based Sealer / Water Based Sealer
Water Based Sealers
Water based paver sealer is easy to apply, provides excellent penetration into concrete pavers or the paver surface and creates a natural or high gloss look depending on preference.
A water based paver sealant forms a barrier over the paver surface that blocks paver staining, UV degradation and protects paver surfaces from freeze-thaw damage. A water based paver sealer is non-toxic and environmentally friendly compared to solvent based paver sealers.
Water based paver sealers that are penetrating paver sealers soak into paver surfaces and can be used to restore or revive the substrate, such as faded or weathered paver materials.
Penetrating paver sealers offer a safe method to remove pitting and filling of paver stones due to freeze damage and chemical etching from paver cleaning products. Many paver manufacturers recommend paver sealers to preserve the brick paver and ensure the surface remains clean with a high gloss wet look over time.
Concrete pavers are manufactured by many paver manufacturers, such as Tremron or Belgard, across the world.
Paver sizes vary by paver manufacturer and some paver pours are done on the construction sites to create beautiful finished paver patios, pool decks, paver driveway applications and more.
Most pavers or paving stones are manufactured at a paver plant and installed on the jobsite.
Climates with high humidity or heavy rainy seasons, like South Florida should wait for the pavers to completely cure before applying the paver sealer to the substrate.
Concrete pavers take a minimum of 28 days or longer to fully cure, depending on the paver pour. This will allow the pavers to cycle and efflorescence can come to the surface and be treated.
What is the Best Sealer to Seal Pavers?
The best paver sealer we have found is SealThane which is a two component water-based sealer that forms a protective barrier, deeply enhances the color of the paver, binds the sand joints, and is specifically created for paver surfaces.
It penetrates deep into the paver, forming a protective barrier, sealing and protecting the surface from staining and mold and mildew.
SealThane paver sealer is non-toxic and environmentally friendly compared to solvent based paver sealers. SealThane paver sealer can be applied to pavers, such as brick pavers, while the pavers are damp and whether the pavers have been previously sealed or is unsealed.
Why Should I Seal Pavers?
Pavers should be sealed regularly to prevent the surface of the paver from deteriorating from traffic, UV rays and rain.
Exposure to these three events cause the finer materials in the substrate of your paver to wear away leaving only the larger aggregates. This can leave paver surfaces with a rolled or rough appearance.
In addition, the best paver sealers help prevent staining and mold and mildew growth on paver surfaces by blocking the pores in pavers, which would otherwise harbor dirt and debris. The paver sealer also allows for easy paver cleaning and maintenance to keep paver surfaces looking new over time.
Polyurethane versus Acrylic Sealers
While most paver sealants on the market claim to be versatile and can be applied on paver surfaces, such as brick pavers and paver stones, in addition to sealing pavers, we have found this not always true.
Polyurethane paver sealers are typically oil-based products that provide a high gloss or wet look finish. These types of paver sealers can be used for paver sealing, pavers restoration and paver protection on pavers that have been sealed or have not been previously sealed.
However, some paver manufacturers recommend against using Polyurethane paver sealers on new paver surfaces before the paver has cured.
One drawback of polyurethane oil based paver sealers is that they have a strong pungent odor, similar to solvent based paver sealers, and emit high volatile organic compounds (VOC's).
Acrylic paver sealers are also a popular paver sealer option, as acrylic paver sealers penetrate paver surfaces to form a barrier that protects paver surfaces from staining, pitting, chemical etching or other damage.
Acrylic paver sealing products provide good paver slip resistance and works well on paver surfaces, such as paver stones and paver bricks. However, some paver manufacturers recommend against using acrylic paver sealers on new paver surfaces before the paver has cured.
How to Seal Pavers
The entire area must be cleaned by pressure washing before applying the paver sealant. Dirt and paver grime will prevent the paver sealant from penetrating the substrate, which will lead to pitting of paver stones and discoloration while also trapping the dirt under the coating.
It is important to ensure that you read all of the pavers manufacturer's instructions and maintenance requirements before determining if a paver sealing product is the best option for your paver.
Is there a Preparation Process Before Applying Paver Sealant?
Using a flat surface cleaner, such as the Whisper Wash Classic, will clean the substrate as well as remove most of the old sand from the joints.
Following the cleaning with a surface cleaner, one should go back with a pressure washing wand and a turbo tip to remove the rest of the old sand from the joints – at least an inch and a half down below the chamfer edge before being re sanded – getting down to the bedding sand is best.
Removing as much as old sand as possible will allow the sealer to penetrate the new jointing sand and provide the best stabilization of the paver joints.
Sanding the Paver Joints
After pressure washing the substrate, fresh joint sand must be added to the joints. A medium coarse fractured angular sand, such as pool filter sand, or any sand that meets ASTM-C144 is the correct sand to use.
Too fine of a paver joint sand will not provide the stability needed or allow the sealer to penetrate the paver joints to provide sand lock, whereas too coarse paver joint sand may work its way up through the sealer finish if walking on it too soon after application.
Polymeric sand is sand coated with a polymer binder. It sweeps into the joints, then activates with water to harden. To protect the pavers and joints, seal them with a high-quality sealant after the polymeric sand cures (about 30 days).
Application of Paver Sealer
Paver sealer application is typically by pressure cleaning the surfaces to be sealed and allowing the surface to dry. Water based paver sealers, such as SealThane or Paver Seal RX, can be applied to a damp surface.
The surface must be completely dry before applying a solvent based sealer to avoid trapping moisture and causing whiting or hazing.
Paver sealers generally require 15-30 minutes of time before applying a second coat after one coat of sealer has been applied.
The finish coat is applied after the first coat or flood coat is applied. Multiple coats of sealer may be necessary to create a physical barrier and achieve a wet look due to the porosity of the pavers and the width of the joints.
Be sure to read the manufacturers instructions prior to sealing.
Generally the sealer cures within 72 hours but that depends on temperature and conditions. A good rule of thumb to follow is to stay off the pavers for at least 24 hours for foot traffic, 48 hours for vehicle traffic, and 72 hours for placement of door mats, furniture, etc.
In cooler temperatures it is best to stay off the pavers for at least 7 days.
Applying multiple coats or excess sealer can create a slippery surface.
When applying the sealer to textured surfaces it is best to use the head weight of a push broom or a leaf blower to move the sealer around so it doesn't collect and puddle in the low spots of the textured surfaces.
When applying the sealer to vertical surfaces, such as stacked stone, it is best to start at the bottom and work your way up to avoid drip marks.
Is it Better to Spray or Roll Paver Sealer?
The paver sealer can be rolled on or sprayed on the surface. If the area is large, including a pavers patio, pool deck, pavers driveway or a pavers parking lots, a battery operated paver sealer application sprayer will make application much easier and more efficient.
A large nap roller or sponge can be used to apply paver sealers to the surface. Keep roller soaked and apply vertically, or horizontally, to entire area, maintaining a wet edge to avoid roller marks.
If the area is large, including a pool deck, paver driveway or a paver parking lots, a paver sealer sprayer or application sprayer will make application much easier and more efficient.
Using a nap roller for sealer application will take several times longer than using a paver sealer sprayer and joint stabilization is difficult to achieve.
Spraying is the preferred method of applying water based paver sealers as it allows enough sealer to get into the joints. Using a tip made for a gloss sealer will give a high gloss finish.
Fogging or puddling on the surface will reduce the shine and sheen of a wet look paver sealer and may also create shiny spots or whiting and hazing in the areas the wet look sealer has puddled.
The paver sealer should penetrate into the joints, but not run down the substrate where puddles can form.
If puddles do form, take the head weight of a push broom or a leaf blower and move the sealer around for consistency. Or a dry roller can be used to back roll the sealer.
Water based paver sealers take longer to dry than oil based paver sealers, however there is no flammable vapors emitting like there are with the solvents.
Water based paver sealers can be applied in temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit; however, sealers containing paver sealer solvents should not be applied when the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Paver sealer costs vary depending on paver quantity and square footage, however; it is typically less expensive than refinishing or replacing pavers. Prices range from $1.00-$1.75 per square foot with a brick paver sealer professional applying it.
Quality paver sealants typically last several years before reapplication is necessary, depending on the amount of foot traffic and vehicular traffic that is put onto the paver surface.
What is the Best Brick Paver Sealer?
SealThane paver sealer from The Paver Sealer Store is a water based paver sealant that requires no solvents. It has been curing paver enthusiasts since 2015 and the reason isn't just because it's water-based, it's because of its versatility, ease of application, and quality results.
A complete line of paver sealers is available to help paver owners achieve their paver dream.
From paver cleaning products, paver coloring dye and paver sealing supplies, The Paver Sealer Store has everything you need to ensure your paver patio, pool deck, or driveway pavers is truly unique.
Shelf Life of Paver Sealer
You can use a 2-part polyurethane water-based sealer right after you finish pressure wash cleaning process. It's also known as “same day” sealing.
The disadvantage of utilizing a water based two-part urethane to seal pavers is that they are more costly. And once you've combined them, you must utilize them.
Extend the Life Span of Pavers
Paver sealers can extend the life of your paver stones, making them stronger and more durable. Paver sealers can protect paver patio stones from harmful UV rays, which can age paver stones.
If sealer is applied consistently over at least three years, pavers may actually grow stronger with each paver sealing application.
Sealing Natural Stone
If it's natural stone, the best to use a polymeric jointing sand. Allow to cure for 30 days and then seal.
Unless you are using Seal Rx Enhance or Seal RX HD as they contain a resin, which not only will strengthen the stone, but the excess can be pushed into the joints to bind the joint sand.
Do all Paver Sealers Offer the Same Basic Protection?
When you seal pavers, you are protecting them from a variety of things. You don't want the paver to fade or discolor because of a reaction with sunlight.
Sealers will also reduce efflorescence, which is a reaction between paver materials and water, especially hard water.
To accomplish this, a paver sealant must be able to keep paver materials dry while still allowing the paver to breathe as the water evaporates.
They seal paver surfaces, but never create a puddle or other build up that might pool water or allow water to collect.
Not all paver sealers are created equal. To seal pavers, we recommend using these best paver sealers – SealThane for a high-gloss wet finish or Paver Seal RX for a satin finish and simplicity of application. We have found these to the best paver sealer on the market.
Wet Look Sealers
A Wet Look Sealer gives surfaces a luxurious, wet appearance while also sealing and improving the natural hues of treated materials.
Apply a Wet Look paver sealer for added protection against stains and discoloration, darkening of stone materials and even to add glow and shine to darker paver materials.
A wet look paver sealer is a paver sealant that produces a glossy appearance. Most paver sealers on the market today produce a wet look, deeply enhancing the color, often with high gloss and strong color durability.
Acrylic based sealers are commonly single component and simple to use. They provide a gloss, non-yellowing wet look finish. They are great at preventing paver stains and also provide added protection against UV rays.
SealThane sealer, sometimes called an acrylic urethane paver sealer, offers simple application and provides a wet look, deeply enhancing the color of the pavers.
Paver Seal RX sealer is a water-based product that will also provide a wet look and is satin in appearance.
Matte Finish Sealers
A matte finish may be provided by using a natural-look sealer, which will not darken the pavers but will bind the joint sand and provide a slight sheen.
A water-based sealer, such as Seal RX, will provide the paver or concrete a natural untarnished look while not binding the joint sand. It will have a matte finish.
Paver sealers can be applied by homeowners or paver professional. The cost of paver sealer is typically based on paver square footage. The typical sq ft coverage of SealThane is 300-400 sq ft per gallon and that accounts for a first coat and a second coat for a total of two coats.
Paver Seal RX is a semi gloss finish and the coverage rate for this sealer is 150-200 sq ft per gallon.
Always consider the cost per sq ft when deciding whether to seal pavers yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. This will provide you with the most precise cost estimate possible.
We recommend using a penetrating sealer for sealing natural stone, such as travertine, marble, and flagstone.
Seal RX Enhance will enhance the color and protect the stone and Seal RX HD will preserve the stone's natural beauty while providing protection.
Wet Look, Matt Finish, and Concrete Pavers Sealers
When using a paver sealer, you are protecting your paver investment. When pavers fade or discolor because of a reaction with sunlight and the UV rays, wet look paver sealers will also reduce efflorescence.
Efflorescence is the calcium oxide in the concrete reacting with water and rising to the surface. Not all paver sealers are created equal though.
When choosing a paver sealer look at the coverage of sq ft per gallon. SealThane offers a coverage rate of 300-400 sq ft per gallon (accounting for two coats), which is the most coverage for any paver sealer on the market today.
You want one that protects while still allowing the paver stone to breathe. Please contact us today if you need paver sealer suggestions, paver sealer products, paver sealer cost estimates or technical paver sealing questions answered. We are the paver sealer experts after all!