Sealing Interlocking pavers: A comprehensive Q&A guide

27 February 2024

Q: Are there benefits to sealing interlocking pavers?

A: There are many benefits to sealing interlocking pavers. All sealers help preserve and protect the natural colour of the concrete paver. A wet look (glossy) sealer can enhance the colours, drawing out the darks and engaging the natural hues of the different tones.  

It can help protect the polymeric sand from deterioration which in turn can increase the time between maintenance cycles. The more often you maintain your patio stones, the more damage can be done to the surface of the interlocking paver. Each time you maintain your interlocking, the concrete pavers lose a little bit of that fresh, out of the box glimmer and shine.  The longer between maintenance cycles, the less surface disruption that will need to be caused to your new patio stones.

It can help protect the interlocking pavers from salt deterioration. The winter months in Canada require us to melt the accumulated ice on our interlocking driveways and walkways using harsh chemicals or de-icers to melt ice and keep our entrances safe.  The concrete sealer applied to your interlocking driveway and front walkway can drastically reduce the harm these products can cause.  The more salt or de-icing materials used throughout the winter, the more harm it can cause to the surface of your interlocking pavers if they are not sealed. Although it adds a level of protection, use de-icers sparingly and only when needed as the more de-icing products used, the quicker your sealer will deteriorate, causing you to incur an additional expense to reseal your interlocking pavers.  Please reference our article for more information on how to protect your interlocking stones in the winter.

It can help protect the patio slabs and pavers from spills and stains.  Whether it’s a leaky car on your new interlocking driveway, a spilled glass of wine on your stone patio or even something as simple as leaf stains, it can make your new patio slabs or interlocking pavers look blemished.  By adding a protective sealer each time you maintain your new interlocking driveway or stone patio, it can help decrease the porous nature of the patio slabs and pavers which will prevent the spills and stains from seeping deep into the concrete slab.   Depending on how recently the sealer has been applied, the type of sealer and the harshness of the stain, the sealer may not offer extensive protection.  It is always recommended to clean the stain using dish soap and water as soon as possible.  Should it be too late and you either haven’t yet sealed your interlocking or left the spill long enough that it seeped into your paver, you will want to reference our article on how to clean your interlocking pavers.

Q: How long after installing interlock stones can I seal my new stone patio?

A: Sealing patio stones should take place after the efflorescence release. The minimum window is usually around 90 days. Waiting a minimum of 90 days from the initial installation of new patio slabs on a stone patio is required due to efflorescence of the concrete. Please note that the 90-days window is the minimum, and you will want to monitor the efflorescence release on the patio stone and only seal once the process is complete. If sealed too soon, the mineral deposits that are released during the efflorescence process will be trapped in the patio slab and will no longer naturally fade.  At this point, the sealer will need to be stripped and the efflorescence will need to be chemically removed.  For this reason, we recommend waiting until the following Spring/Summer to apply sealers to allow all mineral deposits to release over the winter months.  Visit Unilock’s article to read more about Efflorescence and how to clean it. 

Q: How do I seal interlocking pavers on my driveway and patio?

A: It is important to ensure your interlocking paving stones are free from oil, grease, rust, dirt and efflorescence before applying any sealers. Patio slabs and interlocking pavers can be cleaned using homemade concoctions or professional grade cleaners. We typically suggest trying a less invasive cleaning method first and then moving on to chemical cleaners once that fails. For a complete list of cleaning methods that can be attempted on different stains, visit our article on how to clean your interlocking pavers.

Once the areas are clean and free from debris, you will want to ensure the interlocking pavers are fully dry before applying a sealer. An interlocking stone may hold moisture even though it appears to be dry from the surface. The best practice is to seal 2 days after the most recent rainfall or contact with water and ensure there is no rain in the forecast for 24 hours following the application. This may not always be possible, so we recommend using your discretion or consulting with a professional maintenance company.

Ideal temperatures for sealing are 20+ degrees Celsius although sealers can be applied in as low as 10 degrees if the areas have had a chance to dry thoroughly leading up to the application. Sealing should typically be done mid to late afternoon to allow for condensation that occurs through morning dew to evaporate. Avoiding any moisture is imperative as it can cause cloudy spots on the interlocking stone. Even something as minor as sweat dripping down while applying the sealer can lead to unsightly blotches.

When applying the sealer, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. These can be found either on the container or on the manufacturer’s website. We suggest applying the sealer in two thin coats rather than one thick coat. This will offer better coverage, a more even application, and reduces the chances of causing unsightly defects. Visit our article on how to apply a sealer to your interlocking driveway or stone patio for more detailed instructions on applying concrete sealers to paving stones.

Q: Do I need to seal my interlocking patio stones?

A:  Patio stones and interlocking pavers do not need to be sealed. Although there are added benefits to sealing the concrete, it is an added expense that may or may not carry any ROI.   Interlocking backyard walkways and stone patios are prime examples of areas that are “sealer optional”.  Because these areas are not commonly used during the winter months and there are no de-icers in play, these areas don’t have many benefits to being sealed.  Another example would be stone pool decks; Glossy sealers can increase how slippery an area is, making it unsafe considering the amount of water in play around a pool.

The sealer also decreases the polymeric sand’s ability to absorb water meaning you may experience more stationary water around the pool.  Also, on the topic of slippery surfaces, interlocking driveways and front entrances are prime examples of areas that you may want to avoid becoming slippery surfaces.  Once ice is introduced to a sealed surface, it can be extremely dangerous. Also, taking into account that most driveways are on a steep slope, this may not be the best option for everyone.

As the sealer protects and enhances colours, this may not always be a good thing.  In most cases, light coloured patio slabs and pavers are not heavily affected by the sun and maintain much of their natural colour without the use of sealers. Sealer can enhance mid to dark colours which in some case make the colours become overpowering. On the contrary, in some cases, very dark interlocking can improve the visual appeal as the natural elements will fade the darker colours over time. 

If sealers are not applied correctly, they can do more harm than good. Once applied incorrectly, it can be extremely costly and difficult to fix. Sealing interlocking should only be done in optimal conditions by a trained professional to avoid mishaps. This adds an additional expense for something that may or may not be required.

Q: How much does it cost to seal an interlocking driveway or stone patio?

Sealing interlocking pavers can range in cost depending on multiple factors, such as; size of area being sealed, mobilization costs, cleaning requirements, and type of sealer being used. If the area is large such as a 1000+ interlocking driveway, the cost for a wash and seal may be between $1.50 to $3 per SQ FT.  If the area being sealed is a 200 SQ FT interlocking patio, the cost may be closer to $3 to $5 per SQ FT. Some companies charge a flat rate mobilization cost in addition to a flat rate per SQ FT sealing fee. This may result in a $500 to $1000 mobilization fee which covers driving time, set up and preparation, and clean up and finishing as well as a $2 per SQ FT sealing cost regardless of the size of the area.  Enviro-Loc offers sealing services when combined with interlocking maintenance. A detailed breakdown of our maintenance pricing can be found here.  

Q: Are there different types of sealers for interlocking pavers? Ex. water-based vs acrylic, indoor vs outdoor.

There are many types of interlocking pavers sealants to choose from. Each sealer has its own qualities and attributes. The appropriate sealer will be selected depending on the aesthetic and application required.  Sealers typically come in either a solvent or water-based formula. Both water and solvent-based sealers will serve as both decorative and protective topcoats for your interlocking pavers and are applied after concrete curing is complete.

Another thing to consider is where the sealer is being applied.  For indoor application such as garage floors and basements, you would use a different sealer to that of an outdoor application such as stone patios or Interlocking driveways. Generally speaking, a good quality acrylic sealer is best for an outdoor application as it repels moisture, oil, and hot tire treads.  Additionally, acrylic sealers are optimal for use in Canada as they are best at combating multiple freeze thaw cycles, de-icing agents such as salts, and abrasion from snow removal. De-icing agents such as salt eat away at the concrete sealer and when it gets to the concrete surface.  Techniseal is a trusted product manufacturer that offers different acrylic sealer options.   

Q: Are sealers available in different colours?

Yes, sealers are available in different colours but only when used in water-based sealer applications.  As a result, it’s advised to avoid adding a colour tinted sealer to your interlocking pavers as acrylic based sealers are the suggested way to go. Acrylic based sealers are available in matte or glossy finishes which enhance the existing colour of the underlying interlocking paver.  

Q: Can you seal all interlocking stones?

Not all stones can be sealed.  It is important to check with your local distributor or the product manufacturer to ensure the products you have installed are able to be sealed.  Most concrete pavers can be sealed although some products come pre-sealed during the manufacturing process; in this case, sealing may not be recommended. Natural stone products typically require a different sealer than concrete pavers and in some cases are not recommended to be sealed.  Porcelain tile is not recommended to be sealed.  There’s a lot of factors to why one should or shouldn’t apply a sealer to their stone patio or interlocking driveway.  Some of these factors include: weather, location (under trees, around pools, etc) and high traffic areas.  Also, there are interlocking paver options that come with a sealant already applied to the stones during the manufacturing process.  

Deciding whether you should or shouldn’t seal depends on numerous factors. Above that, choosing the right sealant for your interlocking pavers are crucial and important steps in protecting your investment into your home, but don’t worry! We are here to help! At Enviroloc, our experts are constantly testing and experimenting with the latest products in the market to be able to provide you with the best solution for your interlocking project. If you still have any questions on whether to use sealers on your pavers or if so, what type of sealant is the right one for you, book a free consultation with a member of our team of experts.

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