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9 Tips For Paver Sealing Success

There is some debate over whether it’s necessary to apply sealant to your concrete pavers or not. Some homeowners choose to use sealant to deepen the color of the pavers and to protect the surface from staining. Others prefer the natural look and lower maintenance aspect of unsealed pavers.

If you’re considering applying sealant yourself, keep in mind that the application process can be a little tricky. For best results, it’s a good idea to thoroughly research the different sealant products available and how to apply them, or hire a professional contractor to complete it for you.

Meanwhile, here are some tips to get you started on the right path:

1. Wait until the efflorescence is gone. Efflorescence is a whitish haze that appears on the surface of pavers. It is caused by naturally occurring salts in both the base materials and/or aggregates used to manufacture the stone. Efflorescence can be unsightly, but it does go away with time. It’s best to wait 2-3 months (or even up to one year) before sealing to ensure the efflorescence is completely gone.

2. Make sure the pavers are clean. In addition to the absence of efflorescence, the pavers should be clear of any debris and have no staining. The sealant may accentuate any stains.

3. Ensure pavers are dry before sealing. After washing your pavers, give them time to dry completely. In warm, sunny climates, the pavers will be dry and ready to seal in a few hours. In cooler climates or shady areas, wait about 24 hours before sealing.

4. Keep your eye on the forecast. You will need 24 – 48 hours of dry weather after applying the sealant. Make sure the forecast doesn’t call for rain.

5. Check the temperature. Generally, somewhere between 50 – 90 degrees is good, but the ideal temperature is 75 degrees and sunny. If your sealant is applied to pavers that are too hot, your pavers will become stained, and may start to peel and age prematurely. Note that solvent-based sealants evaporate faster, so lower temperatures are better for application.

6. Use an application sprayer. An application sprayer – available at any hardware store – makes it easier to work faster, and helps to ensure you’re applying an even coat of sealant.

7. Saturate the pavers. You want to make sure the pavers are saturated to cover all the crevices. Then use a dry roller to soak up the excess sealant to avoid lines and drip marks.

8. Don’t stop for lunch. It’s best to keep a wet edge on a continuous area. Once you start working, finish the job.

9. Allow for curing time. You need 48 hours of dry weather after your sealer has been applied to cure it. (Remember to turn off your automatic water sprinklers.) If the sealer is not cured correctly, water can cause white marks or stains on your pavers and can even be trapped beneath the layer of sealer. Do not walk or drive on sealed pavers for 48 hours after application.

You will need to reapply the sealant every 3 – 5 years as it does wear with time.When you start to see visible signs of wear and notice a color change during a rain where the sealant is thinning, it’s time to think about applying a new coat.

Unilock pavers are durable with or with a sealer, and some such as Umbriano are factory sealed. Talk to a Unilock Authorized Contractor about whether or not sealing pavers makes sense for your outdoor project.