The Pros and Cons of Sealing Pavers
Patio pavers are a popular choice for outdoor hardscaping as it provides homeowners with many different options for their front and backyard to achieve any design style from traditional to modern.
So, while installing patio pavers might be an obvious choice, choosing whether or not to seal your pavers may be a decision giving you pause. Pavers are, after all, exposed to the same elements as a driveway, deck, porch, and patio so while sealing is an optional maintenance step, it certainly makes them easier to clean. We’re laying out the pros and cons of sealing pavers to help you determine whether or not this extra step will benefit your space.
Sealing Pavers Con #1: It requires maintenance
Once sealed, you will have to regularly reseal your pavers, particularly if you use a thinner sealant which starts to break down and develop a film over time. The frequency at which you will have to reseal depends on the material of the paver and the brand of the sealer.
Sealing Pavers Con #2: Sealing is not cheap
It’s important to choose a quality sealant from the beginning of the sealing process as that will promote the longevity of the results. Quality sealers are thicker and more durable whereas inexpensive sealers are thinner and break down faster. Once the surface is sealed, you’ll have to reseal the pavers, which means there is an initial expense plus an intermittent cost each time you do maintenance.
Sealing Pavers Con #3: Sealant can contaminate nearby plants
When applying sealant and sealant overspray, it’s important that you do it on a clear day with minimal wind. Why? Because the overspray can be harmful to surrounding plants. You may want to lay plastic sheeting over plants to protect them if they are very close to the new pavers.
You also should be sure to wear a mask, protective gloves, shoe covers, long sleeves, and long pants throughout the sealing process. A sealant will not come out of your clothing so make sure to wear clothing you aren’t too concerned about having to throw away. And finally, make sure to apply sealant in a well-ventilated area and take proper precautions to avoid inhaling the fumes.
Sealing Pavers Pro #1: It enhances the appearance
When you apply a sealant to your pavers, it gives them a clean, wet look with a glossy finish, depending on the finish of the sealant you use. It will not alter the color of the paver but will instead highlight the hue of the material and enhance the color of the pavers. Plus, the color will stay looking new because sealers provide protection against UV rays that can cause fading.
Sealing Pavers Pro #2: It offers protection
Pavers made of concrete, natural stone, and brick can be susceptible to fading, mildew, rust, and staining over time. Applying a sealant can prevent stains and other signs of aging plus it makes it far easier to wash away the dirt, grease, and grime that they’re regularly exposed to without leaving behind residual effects.
Sealers also offer some degree of moisture-resistance. Brick, stone, and concrete are porous materials which means that water can easily penetrate the surface. When that water freezes, it can expand and cause the paver to crack. The water can also start to mold or result in grass or weed growth between the stones. The sealer works into the pores of the paver as well as the cracks between to prevent that water from settling and causing damage.
Sealing Pavers Pro #3: It will help to improve the drainage around your installation
Installing pavers constructed of a porous material allows them to trap a significant amount of moisture underneath the installation. This can make it a challenge to create a firm foundation to build your pathway, patio, porch, or whatever have you because there’s no way to remove moisture from underneath.
If you apply a sealer over top, you’re basically creating a barrier that will keep the water from reaching the foundation and making run-off from precipitation more efficient.
If you’ve added pavers to a space that does not receive a lot of foot traffic and is, therefore, less likely to get stained you may choose to skip the sealing process and just display the raw appearance of the paver material. But now that you know both the pros and cons of sealing your pavers, you can decide whether or not you want the benefit of that added protection on your pavers.