We picked up a new line about a year ago and it’s pretty interesting. Innovative Concrete Technology manufacturers concrete sealers which can be applied to concrete and pavers. Below is a list of the common questions, we’ve heard the most over the past year, from pool guys looking to improve their pool deck and patio projects.
- Should I seal my pavers?
While this is a matter of personal preference, there are several benefits that come along with sealing brick pavers in the ways of protection and beautification.
- What benefits come with sealing pavers?
Sealed pavers have several benefits over unsealed pavers. Not only does sealing bring out the beauty of pavers using color-enhancing technology, it protects pavers from spills. Food, pool chemicals, and automotive chemicals are among the most common spills to occur. When sealed, contaminates can be easily cleaned usually with nothing more than a thorough rinse with a garden hose. While sealing makes pavers very resistant to contaminates, staining or discoloration to the sealer can occur if contaminates are allowed to sit for an extended period of time. Sealing will also keep pavers looking new for a much longer time and make the pavers very resistant to weathering.
- What is the expected lifespan of the sealer before a recoat is necessary?
Life expectancy varies from sealer to sealer. ICT has two individual sealers that are recommended for sealing pavers. WET! is a user-friendly, single-part, “wet look” clear sealer. WET! has an expected lifespan of 2-3 years before a recoat is necessary. Ure-Seal H2O is a high performance, professional grade, two-part, water-borne, urethane clear sealer. The lifespan of Ure-Seal H2O is estimated at 3-5 years before a recoat is necessary. The expected lifespans may vary depending on traffic, climate, and maintenance.
- Will sealing make my pavers slick or slippery?
Sealing pavers will take some of the grip from the surface however, grip loss should be minimal. ICT products for sealing pavers, Ure-Seal H2O & WET!, penetrate the surface of the pavers to avoid creating a thick film of sealer such as the sealers used on pavers in the past. To further mitigate any slipperiness, the use of a non-skid broadcast can be used during the curing process of the sealer.
- Is there a wait time, or cure time, before sealing pavers?
Yes. The cure time, or wait time, for all concrete and concrete products is 28 days. This allows the pH levels in the concrete that was used in the manufacturing of the pavers lower to a more neutral level to ensure that no adverse reactions occur when applying a sealer. For additional information on any wait time, refer to the paver manufacturer’s recommendations.
- What sort of surface preparation is recommended?
Surface preparation is among the most important steps in sealing pavers. For new pavers, it is imperative to wait the recommended cure time prior to sealing. During the cure time is also the most common time for the pavers to effloresce. Efflorescence is the white, chalkiness that forms on the surface. While sealing will not allow pavers to effloresce again, the efflorescence that occurs prior to sealing must be removed. ICT Total Prep is a very user friendly and environmentally friendly efflorescence remover. Simply dilute Total Prep to the recommended ratio, apply with a gardening can, scrub with a nylon broom to work Total Prep into the surface, and pressure wash thoroughly. For existing pavers, it is also necessary to use a high strength degreaser such as ICT Total Klean, to remove any grease and oils that have attached to the surface, in conjuncture with ICT Total Prep. If mold or algae is present, it is helpful to add a small amount of bleach or chlorine to ICT Total Klean to remove mold or algae prior to sealing.
- Does the surface have to be dry prior to application?
Though the surface does not have to be completely dry prior to sealing, there can be no standing water or puddles on the surface. If puddles are present, it is necessary to wait until those puddles are no longer visible. It is, however, recommended to dampen the pavers if the surface is hot to the touch before sealing. This lowers the surface temperature to ensure that the product does not “flash dry” during application. The general rule-of-thumb is that damp is OK but no puddles can be present. Also, keep in mind that certain climate promote an excess of moisture beneath the pavers which may cause complications in sealing. The sealer must be able to dry before the sun goes down, to avoid complications. The exception to the rule is that thin pavers and/or pavers installed on top of a concrete slab must be dry prior to application, no moisture present.
- Is there an optimal temperature range for sealing pavers?
The optimal surface temperature for sealing is between 55°F and 95°F.
- How soon after application is it OK to receive rainfall? What action should be taken should it starts raining during application?
The general rule-of-thumb regarding rain is about 4 hours. If you have finished application at least 4 hours prior to rain, the sealer (Ure-Seal H2O, WET!) should not be effected. If rain occurs during application or within 4 hours of application, removal is necessary. The sooner you can remove the compromised sealer, the better. Pressure wash, scrape, rinse with standard garden hose, whatever you can do will greatly reduce any headaches that will result once the rain passes and surface dries. Temperatures and amount of sun exposure can greatly reduce or increase drying time.
- Why are my pavers hazy or chalky?
Chalkiness is usually efflorescence that has occurred during or after the curing process of unsealed pavers (see Question #6). Haziness is usually a result of sealing the pavers with a solvent-based or xylene-based sealer. In the past, solvent-based sealers were the most commonly used sealers for brick pavers. In recent years, with the rapid growth and popularity of pavers, the technology behind paver sealers has advanced exponentially. Solvent-base clear sealers are non-breathable sealers that form a thick film across the entire surface, locking in any moisture. The haziness is actually the moisture within and under the pavers trying, and unable, to escape. With the paver sealers today (Ure-Seal H2O, WET!), the sealers penetrate the surface creating a semi-breathable protective seal.
If you would like to see a demo or schedule an appointment with our reps, contact us and we’ll be happy to meet you!