Brick pavers are essentially paving stone material such as natural cut stone, brick, etc. which are very durable. They are commonly for landscaping or hardscaping and can be installed over several different surfaces and mainly used for walkways, driveways, pool decks, patios, as edging, etc. Since the installation of brick paving is quite simple and is an attractive landscaping solution, it is very popular with both landscape contractors as well as DIY homeowners.
In any kind of application, bricks are a durable and long-lasting solution and it is no surprise that they are widely used in landscaping too. And, with proper maintenance and care, brick pavers can last very long in any landscaping design. However, brick pavers should be sealed because unsealed brick pavers are prone to fading, staining, erosion of sand and can also develop the growth of mildew and weeds.
Sealing the brick pavers is probably the best method of protecting the investment you have made in your walkways, pool deck, driveway, patio, and other hardscapes. Since the brick pavers are constantly exposed to the elements, they need protection and regular maintenance to ensure that they remain beautiful and attractive for years to come.
While it is always best to seal the brick pavers as soon as they are installed, you can also clean and seal brick pavers that are old and fading to restore the original luster and beauty. There are several advantages of sealing brick pavers.
The process of sealing brick pavers essentially requires the right type of sealer for the stone. The paved areas must first be washed thoroughly, any crooked pavers should be leveled and then the sealer must be applied evenly. In this article, we will be discussing the step-by-step process of how to seal brick pavers.
If your pavers are laid using joint sand, then you can use a water-based sealer. These sealers are usually sprayed on the paver to give a uniform and even coverage. Using a water-based sealer helps to harden the joint sand and it also penetrates into the brick pavers better. This results in the creation of a hard seal over the entire area that has been paved.
You will not get a lot of shine on the pavers with water-based sealers and they also do not make the stones dark. Water-based sealers are ideal for porous bricks, which do not shine anyways. Also, you need to apply more than a single coat of the water-based sealer to the paved area.
If you want to darken the paver stones and enhance the shine, then it is a good idea to use a solvent sealer. These sealers give the paver stones a higher gloss and shine compared to water-based sealers. However, solvent sellers do not do a good job of hardening the sand. Solvent-based sealers are an excellent option for non-porous and smooth stones.
Using a solvent sealer is a good option if the pavers are laid together tightly without using any joint sand. Usually, solvent sealers are much thicker compared to water-based ones. So, you may have to use a roller for application of the sealer instead of a sprayer.
However, if you are not sure about the type of paver in your home or you are not really sure about which sealer would be the best for your pavers, then it is a good idea to speak to a home improvement expert.
For the proper application of the sealer, read the instructions. You can either spray the sealer using a pump sprayer or it can be applied with a roller or you can even use a combination of both methods. Check the sealer for application instructions and then buy the required tools for proper application.
Usually, if the sealer is thin, then it can be sprayed on and this is a much quicker process. For thick sealer, you may have to use a roller. This process is much slower and the sealer may not cover the paved area evenly. Some of the sealers can be sprayed on but require backrolling the pavers so that the sealer coating is evened out.
To ensure the best application of the sealer with a sprayer, you need a wide fan spray and so, you should ensure that the sprayer you are using has a nozzle head that can be adjusted or the sprayer comes with several head attachments. Avoid using a sprayer that produces a narrow spray. You can consider using a bug sprayer for spraying the sealer. These are quite inexpensive and are available easily in hardware stores.
If you need to use a roller for the application of the sealer, then you must ensure that you choose a roller that is sufficiently thick. The sealer you buy will have the specification on the type and thickness of the roller you should use for the application.
The thickness of the roller is important because if the roller is not sufficiently thick, you cannot get the sealer into the cracks between the brick pavers and as a result, the pavers will not seal very well. And, if the roller is too thick, it may cause the sealer coating to become very thick and uneven.
If you seal the brick pavers without cleaning them first, it will seal all the dirt, grime and dust into the pavers. If there is no sand in the joints, then you can power wash the pavers and for the areas that have tire marks, oil stains, etc. you can wash it using hot water and soap. You can scrub the pavers clean by using a stiff broom or brush and before you continue, allow the brick pavers to dry completely for at least 24 hours.
The kind of pavers you have and the way the pavers are laid out will determine what method would be the best to wash them. Power washing is an excellent option if the pavers are packed together tightly; however, if they are laid with sand in between the joints, then power washing may not really be a great idea.
If you are sealing the brick pavers in your driveway which has plenty of traffic, then you must wash the pavers more thoroughly to wash off as much dirt and grime as possible. Usually, smooth pavers do not hold much grime and dirt and can be cleaned well by just sweeping with a broom.
Sometimes when the pavers are laid, they may settle crookedly, which may create a tripping hazard, especially in the areas where people walk often. Lift the brick pavers which are uneven and level the area by either adding sand or removing it from under the paver. If the pavers are laid tightly packed together, then you may not be able to lift them up and level them out. However, the sealing of the pavers is more effective when they all laid uniformly.
To ensure that you seal the entire area properly, make sure that you follow a specific pattern while working. You can go around the outer perimeter of the area first and make a border and then divide the rest of the paver area into 3 or 5 sections depending on the total area. You can begin by sealing the pavers that are the farthest away from the exit and work towards the exit, which will help to prevent you from walking across the sealant when you finish the job.
When you spray the sealer on the stones, they will appear darker; however, it is a good idea to spray consistently by moving the nozzle in a circular motion to ensure that you get the best coverage. You must cover the entire area evenly, so you should pay attention to the areas you are spraying. Using a thin layer of sealer is sufficient, as too much of it will cause the sealer to take a much longer time to dry.
If the area that you’re sealing is small, then you may not find it too difficult to keep track of the area that you have already sealed; however, if you’re sealing a much larger area such as a driveway, you must be more careful.
Sealing brick pavers is a task that you should not break up into several rounds. You must complete the entire area at once, otherwise, you will lose track of the area that you have already sealed. The time for sealing the entire area depends on the size of the area. While a small patio area may take around 20 minutes to seal, sealing the entire driveway may take a couple of hours to complete.
As soon as you finish sealing the brick pavers, wash the sprayer or roller immediately. If you don’t wash the sprayer/roller immediately and allow the sealer to sit for a long time, it will harden on the equipment. You can throw away the roller if you don’t want to wash it. Ensure that you rinse the nozzle thoroughly till the water runs clean. Check if there are any special instructions on how to clean the sealing equipment. You may need a lacquer thinner or some other strong cleaner to completely remove the sealer from the sprayer.