Should you seal your patio pavers?

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Brick Pavers add curb appeal, can be a focal point to any home, and are used for driveways, sidewalks, and patios. Brick Pavers come in a variety of different colors and shapes, and when taken care of a paver patio, will look great year after year. One step that seems to be skipped by a lot of installers is sealing the pavers once the hardscape installation is complete.

Whether or not brick pavers should be sealed is up to each individual. There are many advantages and disadvantages to take into consideration when it comes to sealing your pavers or not. (Remember that efflorescence should be taken care of first before sealing the paver patio stones and paver surface, and that the paver joints should be filled with polymeric sand) 

 

Advantages of sealing pavers

 

Protection

Sealing your pavers protects the pavers from stains, discoloration, spills, and grime caused by the weather. Not only that, but sealer will protect concrete pavers from the sun. If left unsealed pavers can start to look dull and lose their color. If your pavers are not sealed, the leaves and debris can cause stains on them that will be permanent on the paver surface and will be impossible to clean-up once stained. Mildew and weed growth can be prevented by applying polymeric sand. Once the sand is set 

Durability

Pavers that are sealed with sealer will be more durable to weather and foot traffic. Wind and rain can bring leaves and other debris onto your pavers. If your pavers are not sealed with sealant, they will not be as durable to weather. Sealing the pavers also allows mildew to be cleaned up, and allows leave to be blown off easily. 

Aesthetics

Sealed pavers look smooth and shiny, ( almost like a wet look)  and give a richness to the overall looks of the pavers. The sealant allows the paver color to really pop, and highlight different shades in the paver itself. Paving stones that are sealed have a semi-gloss look to them and give the pavers a gloss finish. If you are going for a more matte/ natural look, the sealant should be put one once, but a second coat can be done for an extra gloss finish.  

Disadvantages of sealing pavers

Cost

Sealant is not cheap, and if you choose to reseal every couple of years or to do a second coat, the cost of sealant and the labor to do it can add up quickly, even if a home owner is a do it yourself type. You may think that you will seal your pavers once and be done with it, but it makes sense to keep up with this maintenance because you have already invested time and money into this project.

 

Contamination

 Sealant can be harmful to plants and materials such as your homes siding, or any wooden structure that is on your patio. This is easily solved however by using plastic sheeting to cover objects you want to protect, although this can be very time consuming, and there is still a risk that things can get damaged.

Weather

Sealant needs to be applied in dry conditions, and should not be applied to a wet surface. This means that the weather needs to be dry for a couple days before the sealant is applied, dry while the sealant is being applied, and dry while the sealant dries. This can be quite difficult to do in areas where it rains frequently.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the area that is being sealed cannot be used for at least 24 hours (check your sealant for recommended times) after being sealed, which can be a problem if you are sealing a walkway that leads up to your house, or have nowhere to park but on your paver driveway.

Application

 Applying the sealant may look like an easy task, but it actually takes skill to apply the sealer on the pavers evenly. If too much product is dispensed onto the pavers the pavers will look patchy, but if not enough is used the sealer will not be able to do its job.  This fine line of applying sealant can be time consuming, and frustrating.

 When should pavers be sealed?

 

Pavers should be sealed after installation, and resealed every couple of years. Resealing is really up to the homeowner, and how much traffic the pavers see.

Is it too late for me to seal my pavers?

While pavers can be sealed whenever, it is recommended that when your pavers are installed to seal then before one year is up. After that your pavers will have been affected by UV rays, wear and tear and the environment.

While anyone can benefit from the look and advantages from sealing your pavers, it is truly up to the homeowner whether they want to seal them or not. If you have invested in having your space done and want to keep the look of your pavers fresh and new, you could benefit from sealing your pavers.