One of the most frequent questions our new customers ask us is whether or not they need to seal their pavers. The definitive answer to this question always depends on the type of material being used, where it is being installed and how it is being laid.
The material we produce at Anston is an engineered stone, so the answers you’ll find here relate specifically to whether you need to seal engineered stone pavers.
The case for applying a sealant to Anston pavers is reasonably straightforward. I’m sure you’ll agree, when you’ve made the commitment to install a brand new paved area, the last thing you want to see is an otherwise perfect surface tainted by oil or fat stains from the BBQ, marks left by a red wine spill baked into the surface, soil and chemical fertiliser stains or a persistent odour from your friend’s not-exactly-toilet-trained dog!
Being able to bring your paving back to the clean, original condition it was installed in, with as little effort as possible, is paramount to getting genuine long term value from your investment.
Quite simply, because sealing your pavers makes cleaning much easier, much faster and significantly cheaper than not sealing, the best decision you can make is to have your pavers professionally sealed with a quality product by a reputable contractor.
So, how does it work?
Due to the predictable properties of Anston’s engineered paving stones, the process of sealing each paver, time between re-applications and the process of cleaning are consistent in most circumstances.
Broadly speaking, your pavers should be thoroughly cleaned, allowed to dry out and then sealed as soon as feasible after installation (without being so soon that the paving structure has not had sufficient time to breathe and dry out from installation – it’s best to speak to a professional to determine this time frame), and then professionally cleaned and re-sealed every five (5) years.
“Whilst some components of (a high quality) sealer will permanently bond to a substrate, a top up coat is recommended after 5 years.” – Matt Nash, Prestige Surfaces
Interim maintenance really depends on what sort of exposure the pavers have to dirt, chemicals, fat and other staining substances, as well as how much human or vehicular traffic the area is subjected to on a daily basis. Generally a wash down with a garden hose or home high pressure system should be enough. At most, you may need to apply a specially formulated paver cleaning solution to break down oil or grease stains prior to washing them down (ask Anston for advice in this instance, as not all cleaners will work on all types of stains).
The correct type of sealant to use for engineered stone is a penetrating or impregnating sealer, as opposed to a topical sealer. This penetrates the porous upper surface and creates a barrier just below it, avoiding the slippery gloss finish of a topical sealer. As you can see in this image, a penetrating sealant can actually repel moisture. With the correct gradient, your pavement will shed water and potential stains more effectively.
For pavers in frequent contact with moisture or chemicals such as the coping course around a swimming pool or a paved driveway, we highly recommend sealing.
For a basic pedestrian pavement away from BBQ, pet and leaf stains, you may safely choose NOT to seal your paving.
You won’t do any damage by choosing not to do so, as Anston products are engineered to stand the test of time without any form of sealant being applied. HOWEVER, if you want to make maintenance of your paved area as simple as possible, it is most definitely worth the small expense to protect your paving. This is something to discuss with your landscaper BEFORE work commences.
At the time of writing, the cost of sealing pavers averages around $20 per square metre; a small price to pay in the context of your overall investment for several years’ peace of mind.
In regards to commercial projects, the case for sealing is very strong.
Commercial streetscapes are typically subject to high volumes of traffic, and at risk of gum, oil, dirt, leaf and even graffiti stains. There are commercial-grade sealants available to protect against all these potential issues. Ask Anston for the right recommendation to include in your specification.
We hope we’ve been able to answer your concerns about whether or not you need to seal your pavers. Now you know the answer, you can be spending more time on your weekends relaxing with family and friends and less time worrying about how to get those nasty stains out!
If you need any more assistance or would like the details for one of our trusted contractors in your city, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send our team an email.