Should Concrete Pavers Be Sealed?

It’s surprising how often we get asked this question, but after we install a new patio, our customers want to make sure it stays looking good for years to come. So, I thought this might make a good blog post!

You don’t have to seal concrete pavers. However, it can be a good idea. Paver patio sealer can bring out the colors in the paving stones sooner by removing the chalky efflorescence, and help them to stay vibrant longer. Sealing concrete pavers also helps to protect them against fine grit that eventually wears them down. A good paver sealing job should last about five years before needing to be redone.

In order to decide whether you should seal your concrete patio or not, consider the following variables about how concrete paver is constructed and about basic patio maintenance:

Two methods. At the manufacturing plant, concrete pavers are made one of two ways. The first method is called “through-mixing” where the dye and colored aggregate is mixed throughout the stone in one process. The advantage to through-mixed pavers is they maintain more consistent color as they age. The disadvantage to through-mixing is as the paver ages, the larger aggregate stones tend to appear as the finer stones and sands dissolve around them. In this case, paver sealants can help slow that process down.

The second method of paver manufacturing is top-bonding. Top-bonding is a two-step process in which a layer of finer aggregate is dyed with the true paver color and bonded to the top of the paving stone. If you look at the side of a top-bonded paver, you can easily see the color difference. The advantage of a top-bonded paver is a more consistent wear – the disadvantage being that the color can fade sooner than the color in a through-mixed paver. Paver sealants can help to preserve the color in a top-the bonded paver longer.

One style of paver is not any better than the other. Concrete pavers have a compressive strength of 5000 psi – more than twice that of a poured concrete garage floor. Assuming the base is compacted properly and the right gravels were used, your walkway a patio should last many years. As with any concrete, do not use rock salt or chop ice from the surface! Spend the extra money for an environmentally-friendly calcium or potassium ice melt product.

Make it a summer project. If you’re going to seal your patio or walkway, it has to be cleaned first with a mild acid solution to remove any staining and efflorescence and then allowed to dry for several days. Brick paver walkways and patios are installed onto a sand and gravel base. In the rinsing process, water seeps down underneath. If the base is not thoroughly dried, moisture evaporating between the bricks can create a mottling affect when the paver sealer cures. For this reason, the best time of year to seal a patio or walkway is July and August. Lots of hot, dry weather!

Is your patio looking old? Why not give Groundhog Landscaping a call to schedule a free consultation? Perhaps we can provide you with some suggestions that will bring new life to your old patio!

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