Should You Seal Your Pavers Or Not?

Should You Seal Your Pavers Or Not?

One of the most popular materials for outdoor hardscape is pavers. These blocks can be used to create a visually appealing foundation for patios, driveways, walkways, and other yard features. They also come in different types and designs, which makes pavers suitable for both modern and traditional spaces. 

After deciding to get pavers for your outdoor area, the next question would be whether to seal them or not. Since sealing is not absolutely necessary - with some manufacturers even backing it up - you might be confused if you should do it or not. To help you decide if you should do this extra step, continue reading to find out what could happen with unsealed pavers, and the advantages and disadvantages of not sealing them.

What Happens If You Don’t Seal Your Pavers?

Before we discuss the advantages of sealing, you should first know what would happen if you don’t seal. As mentioned above, sealing your pavers is not absolutely necessary. You could make do without them as they won’t immediately whether or deteriorate unsealed. But if you prefer not to take this extra step, one of the things you would probably have to deal with is weeds.

If you don’t seal, there is a higher chance that weeds or vegetation will grow in between the pavers or the joints. Even if you have jointing sand, this won’t entirely prevent weeds from sprouting out. This is because weeds don’t grow from beneath the pavers, but from seeds that flew into the joints. It is more likely to happen to those who have problems with weeds in their yard or garden beds. 

Even if your pavers won’t quickly wither away, they can still lose their color or fade over time if they are not sealed. They’ll be worn down due to UV rays, harsh sun, and other outdoor elements.

If you’re fortunate enough that they didn’t fade, then the other problem you will have to deal with is maintaining them. It is harder to clean unsealed pavers since they can easily stain, which are difficult, sometimes impossible, to remove. For those who will have an unsealed paver patio, you should warn your guests to be careful with the ketchup.

Aside from aesthetics, the worst thing that could happen if you don’t seal your pavers is the shifting or sinking of the pavers. The sand in between the joints is most likely to get blown away if the pavers are not sealed, which would lead to the blocks moving or shifting around. 

Benefits of Sealing Your Pavers

Now that you know what would happen if you don’t seal your pavers, let’s find out the advantages of getting them sealed.

Preserving The Appearance

Pavers can lose their color, which will result in an outdoor surface with uneven colors. By sealing them, you can preserve the beauty of the pavers, and with certain sealants, give them a glossy finish. This can highlight the hue of the blocks or increase the vibrancy of the colors and prevent them from fading.

Preventing Stains

For those who will install a paver patio, there is a higher chance of the blocks getting stained. Food, sauces, grease, and other material can spill onto them, which can be hard or impossible to remove. If you seal them, it will be easier to clean and get rid of the stain and grime by quickly washing it away. It’s also not just food that you have to worry about. Pavers can also get stained from leaves, oil, rust, dirt, and water - so any paved surface is at risk.

Protection and Longer Lifespan

The pavers can be exposed to different outdoor elements such as the sun, rain, snow, or ice, which will wear them down. Aside from fading and stains, they could also grow mildew and crack from moisture. Since most paver materials are porous, pavers can crack in cold climates when water enters them. Sealing your pavers can protect them and keep them in pristine condition. This way, they will last longer and still look great even after a few years have gone by.

Prevent Weeds

Not only do pavers with weeds growing in-between look terrible, but it can also damage the blocks. When sealing pavers, it covers both the surface of the blocks and the joints, which can prevent weed from growing. 

Reduce Shifting or Settling

The jointing sand in between the paver blocks can be blown away when they are not sealed. Sand loss can lead to the pavers moving around since they will become loose. A joint stabilizing sealer can prevent the blocks from settling or shifting by securing and hardening the jointing sand. This will also inhibit weeds from growing in between the joints. 

Improve Drainage and Protect the Foundation

Aside from moisture entering the paver material, it can also be trapped underneath the entire structure. This could affect the foundation, which would be difficult and expensive to fix. Sealing the pavers can prevent water from reaching and pooling in the foundation. This will also prevent the blocks from sinking and improve water run-off from the rain.

Disadvantages of Sealing Your Pavers

On the other hand, there are also some drawbacks to sealing pavers. Here are some of them:

Maintaining and Resealing

While it may be easier to clean sealed pavers, you will have to deal with resealing them regularly. How often you need to reseal will depend on the paver material. If it is overly porous or brittle, you may need to do it multiple times in one year. On the other hand, you won’t have to reseal as often with studier materials - requiring you to seal once a year or every two years. You should also watch out for thinner sealants since these can quickly break down and develop a film. 

Expense

Since you will be taking an extra step when installing your paved outdoor areas, it will be an additional cost. This doesn’t include the maintenance expense of having to reseal the pavers regularly. Aside from the paver material, the quality of sealant will also have an effect on how often you will need to reseal. You will need a thicker sealant, which will be more expensive.

Contaminate The Surroundings

When you get your pavers sealed, there is a possibility that the overspray can harm the surrounding area, specifically nearby plants. But you can use plastic sheeting to protect these plants, and it is also recommended to seal during a clear day or when it’s not windy to limit the sealant overspray.

Potential Hazard

Depending on the sealant and climate, sealed pavers can become an accident-prone area. Some sealant can make the blocks slippery when it gets wet. If it regularly rains in your area, consider this potential accident hazard. The same can be said for those who plan to use pavers around their pool.

So, To Seal Or Not To Seal?

Pavers are a great way to improve the visual appeal of your outdoor area, boost curb appeal, and expand your outdoor living space. Whether it’s a patio, driveway, walkway, or other yard feature, you want to preserve them and take full advantage of your investment.

If you want to keep your pavers in mint condition, I suggest sealing them, especially for those areas that will have high foot traffic. Not only will it preserve the appearance, but it can also extend the lifespan of your hardscape area. While you will need to reseal regularly, sealed pavers will be easier to clean and won’t stain. If you want to save on resealing costs, I suggest going for quality sealant from the beginning to reduce how often you need to reapply. With this, I hope you’ll be able to decide which option would be more beneficial for your outdoor space.

For those who are decided on sealing their pavers, do note that once you have sealed, you will be required to reseal from then on. If you are not planning on doing it yourself and are looking for trusted and reliable professionals to get the job done, I recommend HomeAdvisor. All contractors need to be licensed and insured to join this platform. Since they’re paying for the opportunity to earn your business, they’ll also be eager to earn it as well. 

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Kenneth Wilson
November 23, 2020
Yard & Garden

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.