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Sealing Concrete Pavers in 5 Easy Steps [Ultimate Guide + FAQs]
With the wide variety of colors, styles and patterns to choose from, pavers are a great way to elevate your patio, driveway and other outdoor spaces. Over time, the look of your pavers will begin to fade with age, which is why some homeowners choose to apply a seal to their products. When it comes to sealing your pavers, the choice is entirely up to you. Some homeowners prefer the look of a sealed product because it can enhance the color of their pavers.
Others prefer the natural look of an unsealed paver as it ages. Some products, such as our Umbriano® at Unilock, come already factory-sealed with EasyClean™ technology, ensuring that your investment will last for years after installation. We’ll share all you need to know about sealing pavers, including what type of sealant to use, and a step-by-step guide to follow for sealing your pavers at home. Plus, we’ll introduce you to our top-quality pavers at Unilock — perfect for driveways, patios, walkways and beyond.
Interested in high-quality pavers? Explore pavers at Unilock
Should Pavers Be Sealed?
In general, sealing your pavers can help protect them against damage caused by environmental factors, such as UV rays and freeze-thaw cycles. Sealing helps stabilize jointing sand between the crevices of pavers, protect against future weed and mildew growth, and reduce buildup of stains, mold, dirt and grime. Depending on the type of sealer you choose, it can also prevent color face, or enhance the color of your pavers. Unilock pavers are designed to be durable, with or without a sealer.
Types of Sealants for Patio Pavers
When it comes to sealants, there are many options available. However, two of the most popular types of paver sealers are:
- Solvent-based sealers: Ideal for higher gloss finishes and high-traffic outdoor areas, solvent-based sealers can last anywhere between four to five years if properly maintained. They are also cost-efficient, ranging from $30 to $150 per gallon.
- Water-based sealers: Perfect for lower-gloss, matte finishes in lower-traffic outdoor areas, water-based sealers are easy to work with thanks to a low volatile organic compounds (VOC) percentage, meaning it doesn’t have the strong chemical odor associated with solvent-based sealers. Water-based sealers can also stabilize the sand in between paver joints and are less expensive than solvent-based sealers, ranging from $20 to $80 per gallon.
Tools To Help With Paver Sealing Success
Here are some tools to consider when it comes time to seal your pavers:
- Paver sealer: Used to protect the surface of pavers from damage caused by exposure to weather, UV rays, stains, and general wear and tear, while enhancing color and appearance
- Block paving knife or block paving brush: A tool used to remove weeds
- Flathead screwdriver (optional): A tool used to remove concrete pavers
- Stiff broom: A type of broom used to remove tough stains and debris
- Pressure washer or hose: A tool that utilizes high-pressure water to remove dirt, grime, mold, and other types of buildup from outdoor surfaces
- Sprayer with an adjustable nozzle head: Equipment used to spray on paver sealants
- Nap roller: Equipment used to roll on paver sealants
How To Seal Pavers in 5 Steps
Sealing your concrete pavers offers a multitude of benefits, including protection against stains and maintaining vibrant colors for years to come. Ready to get started? Here’s a simple five-step guide to sealing your concrete pavers:
1. Choose the Sealer
First, you’ll need to choose between a water-based or solvent-based sealer. If you’ve applied jointing sand between your pavers, opt for a water-based sealer. This type of sealer stabilizes the jointing sand, penetrating deeper to protect against staining, future weed growth and seasonal changes. On the other hand, if you want a glossy finish, a solvent-based sealer will not only protect your pavers, but deepen the natural color of your pavers, for a vibrant, dampened appearance.
Unilock Tip: It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take all necessary safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and a respirator mask, when working with sealers and other chemicals.
2. Clean the Pavers
Next, it’s time to give your pavers a little extra TLC.
To clean your pavers:
- Utilize narrow-bladed weeding tools such as block paving knives and wire-bristled paving brushes to remove weeds and moss.
- Create a mild detergent and water solution by mixing half a cup of mild detergent with a liter of water.
- Use a stiff broom, pressure washer or hose to remove dirt, grime and other debris that may have accumulated on your pavers.
- Wait for the pavers to completely dry for 24 hours before applying the sealer.
Unilock Tip: When using a pressure washer, set it to a lower setting to avoid damaging the paver’s surface. Use the fanned nozzle setting and ensure the nozzle is at a 30° angle, 12″ away from the surface. If joint sand is washed out, sweep in some new sand once the surface is completely dry!
3. Level Crooked Pavers
Leveling your pavers will help prevent potential accidents such as trips.
To level pavers:
- Lift the sunken pavers using a flathead screwdriver
- Clean the edges
- Level the ground
- Apply jointing sand (such as polymeric sand) on the ground
- Insert the pavers in a level position, and gently tap them into placing using a rubber mallet until they are flush
4. Apply the Sealer
Next, it’s time to apply your sealer. You can either use a sprayer with an adjustable nozzle head or a nap roller to apply your sealer. Sprayers are ideal for thin, water-based sealers, while nap rollers work better with thicker, solvent-based sealers. When using sprayers, apply the sealer in a circular motion. For nap rollers, apply sealers using an up and down motion.
Unilock Tip: Don’t apply more than two layers in one spot, as this can lead to uneven coverage which can cause efflorescence — a white, powdery substance that can form on the surface of your pavers.
5. Dry the Sealer
Once you have applied the sealer to all the pavers, let it cure for 24-48 hours. If you don’t allow your paver sealers to completely dry, the sealer may eventually peel off, causing damage to the pavers. Alternatively, if not cured correctly, water can penetrate and stain the surface of your pavers or become trapped beneath the layer of sealer.
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Expert Tips for Sealing Pavers
Sealing pavers can be a relatively easy process for any homeowner, but it requires preparation and the right equipment to get the job done. Here are our expert tips to utilize when sealing pavers:
- Complete the job without taking breaks: Once you start working, it’s important to finish the job. Sealing your pavers in one go ensures you don’t lose track of your progress and risk applying multiple layers over one spot.
- Clean the pavers: Before applying the sealer, clean the pavers thoroughly to remove any dirt, stains or debris to ensure the sealer adheres to your pavers.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: When applying paver sealer, make sure to follow instructions, wear the required safety gear and use the right tools.
- Apply a second coat (if necessary): Depending on the type of sealer and the condition of the pavers, you may need to apply a second coat of sealer to ensure complete coverage and maximum protection. For example, if you’re using a water-based sealer, it is ideal to apply a second coat to your pavers.
- Maintain the pavers: Regularly sweep the surface of the pavers to remove dirt and debris. Proper maintenance will help the sealer last longer.
- Hire a professional: For more complex outdoor projects, consider hiring a professional contractor. A contractor has the knowledge to choose the right type of sealer for your outdoor project and can utilize specialized equipment, such as sprayers and rollers, to ensure even application of the sealer.
FAQs About Sealing Pavers
1. How Long Does Paver Sealer Last?
Paver sealer typically lasts between three to five years after the first application.
2. Should I Apply Polymeric Sand First Before Sealing My Pavers?
Yes, you should apply polymeric sand first before sealing. Carefully sweep the sand in between the joints, making sure there is no sand left on the surface, then let it dry for 24 hours. Next, apply the sealer. Once the sealer is applied, it will trap anything that is left on the surface of the pavers. Make sure the joint sand is dry before sealing.
3. How Long Should I Wait Before Sealing Brand New Pavers?
After they’re installed, wait 60 to 90 days before sealing your new pavers. If you seal your pavers right away, moisture may become trapped in the concrete, causing a wide range of problems such as discoloration, cracking and efflorescence.
4. How Often Do I Need to Reseal My Concrete Pavers?
In most cases, you’ll need to reseal your pavers every three to five years to keep them in optimal condition. However, the frequency of resealing your pavers will still depend on a number of factors, such as the amount of traffic the pavers receive. If foot or vehicular traffic is taking a toll on your pavers, you might need to reseal them more frequently.
5. What Are the Ideal Weather Conditions for Sealing Pavers?
Typically, the ideal weather for sealing pavers is dry and relatively cool (between 50°F and 90°F), with low humidity and no rain expected for at least the next 24 hours.
6. Should I Seal My Driveway?
Yes, sealing your driveway is key in protecting it from UV rays, extreme weather, oil, gasoline, and other substances that can cause stains and damage. Sealing your driveway can also help maintain its appearance.
Explore Concrete Pavers at Unilock
At Unilock, we provide the products and expertise you need in order to build the outdoor space of your dreams. As a pioneer in the retaining wall and paving stones industry, we have dedicated our years of operation to creating beautiful outdoor spaces across Canada and the United States. From creating intimate patios to modern pool decks and beyond, our concrete pavers can help you turn your simple hardscaping project into an outdoor oasis.
Explore some of our most popular pavers:
- Artline™ — Ideal for modern outdoor designs, Artline is sold in seven different rectangular shapes. Equipped with EnduraColor and EasyClean® to prevent stains.
- Copthorne® — Inspired by the timeworn beauty and rich colors of Europe. Perfect for textural interest and curved walkways.
- Nordic Cobble™ — Add some design flair to your patterns and borders with this traditional hand-cut granite.
- Estate Wall™ —With its antique-textured finish, this paver gives off an appearance of aged, natural stones.
Find your unique style with our extensive selection of concrete pavers at Unilock. Contact us today to start planning your ideal outdoor project!
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Browse our Design Idea Catalog
Explore endless design possibilities through our Design Idea Catalog. Browse our extensive portfolio of paver and wall products, and get inspired by our outstanding design projects that will fuel your creative expression.
Visit an Outdoor Idea Center
Experience the beauty and quality of Unilock paver and wall products in a life-sized setting by visiting a local Outdoor Idea Center. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff are on hand to answer any questions and offer free product samples.