Do You Seal Pavers Before Sand or After?

Pavers are widely used to pave patios, driveways and other surfaces because they are strong and durable and low-maintenance. While optional, sealing pavers increases longevity, slows fading and reduces overall maintenance. The best time to seal pavers is once the surface is laid and sand joints are filled. In addition to protecting pavers, sealant prevents the sand joints from wearing away.

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Sealing a paver surface preserves the sand joints that hold them in place.

Sand Joints

Whether a paver surface is set in sand or mortar, the joints are typically filled with sand. Sand joints cushion pavers as they settle and hold them in position. If the sand joints wear away, weeds and other debris build up and pavers slide out of place. While sand naturally wears away over time, coating the joints in sealant slows the fading. For best results, refill the joints once a year at the beginning of each season.

Benefits

Sealant provides a number of benefits to a paver surface, depending on the type of pavers you have and the sealant you use. Over concrete pavers, water-penetrating sealant fills the porous material to protect it from water damage. While stone pavers are naturally weather resistant, sealant makes it easier to clean grease and other types of stains. Sealants with certain finishes enhance beauty by bringing out the textures and colors of the pavers and slows fading by blocking UV rays.

Application

Sealant plays an important role in preserving pavers and sand joints, and it's simple to apply. If your pavers are stone or brick, wait three months after installation or until the chalky white substance disappears so you don't trap it. It's advantageous to power wash the patio or walkway so you're sealing the cleanest surface possible. Power washing does remove some sand from the joints, so plan to refill it once the surface dries. Every type of sealant has specific instructions, but most can be applied with a roller paintbrush or spray pump.

Maintenance

Depending on the amount of traffic your surface is exposed to, it's best to reapply sealant every two to three years. Save the packaging from your sealant so you can easily find the same brand if you wish. If power washing is not necessary, clean the surface with a scrub brush and solution of 1 part detergent to 10 parts water to remove embedded debris and stains. Rinse all solutions thoroughly and wait for the pavers to dry before resealing them.