Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sealing Brick Pavers- The Sealer I Prefer

Sealing brick pavers is one of the things I highly recommend. I am not going to get into why and how in this post. I just want to touch on the sealers that I have tested, used and liked.

On the market there are all types of paver and concrete sealers that can be used. When it comes down to it there are basically two types that are readily available and marketed towards hardscape contractors and brick patio owners. They are Solvent based and water based. They both have their strengths and weaknesses(again will be in another post).

My sealer of preference is by far the solvent based acyclic type. This paver sealer will give pavers a wet look, bringing out the colors giving them a dark bold look. A paver Driveway will basically look like it does after a rain or a soaking with a garden hose. It will darken up newer pavers and also bring out the color left in older pavers that may have more aggregate exposed and less of the cream coat on the surface of the paver.

I have sealed pavers that have been down for 15 years and are very greyed out because the stone and sand aggregate were showing through the concrete. After a good coat or two of a solvent based sealer you will see the pavers color jump back to life. On new pavers the color will darken dramatically since there is already so much color to soak in the sealer.

Once dried the sealer will lighten up slightly and eventually fade over the years. The acrylic left on the surface provides a protective layer from the suns harmful rays and delays the fading process of the concrete. It also provides a barrier to stains like oil, grease, and even vegetation/bird droppings. It also prevents the pavers from taking on as much salt in winter conditions.

Solvent based sealers tend to have a higher solids content than water based sealers. This means more acrylic to protect the paver. Some water based sealers do have a high solid content but the benefit of solvent is that it gets that solids to a smaller individual size which allows them to get further into the paver. This gives you a longer lasting sealer that is not as slippery since the solids aren't all built up on the surface.

I plan to post more on sealing as most contractors have questions and concerns about it and it is a subject that does not have many resources for education other than what manufacturers tell you. This will all come from a contractor with years of sealing experience with no personal agenda. Be sure to check back often more more info on sealer.

Here are a couple photos so you can see the difference that a solvent based wet look sealer makes.