Pavers are very porous and for that reason need to remain breathable. The three best paver sealers are silicate sealers, silane siloxane sealers, and acrylic sealers. First, let’s start by going over the differences between the three:
|Silicate Sealers||Silane Siloxane Sealers||Acrylic Sealers|
|Won’t change the look of the pavers||Won’t change the look of the pavers||Enahnces with a wet look or gloss|
|Works entirely below the surface||Works entirely below the surface||Leaves a visible surface film|
|Lasts forever||Lasts 7-10 years||Lasts 1-5 years|
|Increase strength of concrete||Repels surface water||Protects surface against staining|
|Reduces dusting and spalling||Reduces staining and deterioration||Stops dusting, staining, deterioration|
Penetrating Paver Sealers
Silicate sealers are chemically reactive densifiers used to increase the strength and density of the pavers. They are the least used type of paver sealer simply because if you over apply a silicate densifier to pavers, the calcium silicate hydrate that typically forms in the pores can form on the surface. Once the tiny white crystals form, they can’t be removed unless the surface of the pavers is removed. If you choose to use a silicate sealer on pavers, you need to properly dilute the silicate and apply it in very thin coats, spacing the coats out to allow the silicate to react before applying more. It is also important to apply the silicate sealer to a test area first to make sure the pavers are compatible with the sealers.
The most common type of paver sealer is a Silane-Siloxane water repellent sealer. It penetrates into the surface where it chemically reacts to form a hydrophobic barrier within the pores. Silane-Siloxane sealers won’t change the look or color of the pavers, and they will provide up to 10 years of protection against cracking, spalling, pitting, mold and mildew, and efflorescence.
Best Silane-Siloxane paver sealers:
There are many types of Silane-Siloxane sealers on the market, and they differ greatly in life and performance. Many store brought brands contain less than 10% solids and need to be resealed every six months to a year. Other sealers, like the Armor SX5000, contain up to 40% solids and are used on many industrial applications, providing close to 7-10 years of life. This is one type of sealer where active materials makes all the difference. Most applications don’t require more than 40% solids, and going over that percent solids can result in discoloration of the surface. For a high quality, industrial grade sealer, 40% is a great level to be at.
Silane-Siloxane sealers are available in both water and solvent based solutions. Both types of sealers will offer the same set of benefits and life. Whether you choose a water or solvent based sealer will be strictly preference based.
A second type of water repellent sealer is a siliconate sealer but siliconate water repellents are very rarely used on pavers for the same reason silicates aren’t. Siliconate sealers can leave behind a white residue when applied to dark or porous surfaces. Pavers fall under both of those categories.
Wet Look and High Gloss Paver Sealers
The second most common type of paver sealer is an acrylic sealer. Acrylic sealers will enhance the pavers with a wet look, low gloss, or high gloss finish. They penetrate in order to bond, but leave behind a visible protective film on the surface. While Silane-Siloxane sealers reduce deterioration, acrylic sealers will stop it. Acrylic sealers are also used to stop pavers from fading, and bring out dull and faded pavers.
Best acrylic paver sealers:
- Eagle High Gloss Sealer (average 4.6 star review)
- Armor AR350 Wet Look Sealer (average 4.8 star review)
- Armor AR500 High Gloss Sealer (average 4.9 star review)
- Enduraseal SB Acrylic Sealer (average 4.5 star review)
When it comes to choosing an acrylic sealer there are a few factors you want to consider. First, where is the sealer manufactured? Acrylic sealers are made from non-recycled U.S. manufactured resins, or from imported recycled resins. The problem with recycled resins is that they still contain chemicals used during the recycling process. While additives are put into the acrylic to off-set the chemicals, the chemicals are known to break down not only the additives but the sealer as well. U.S. manufactured non-recycled resins will provide the best bond and seal. Next, you want to know what type of acrylic sealer it is. Acrylic lacquer sealers are the best, acrylic-co-polymers second best. Acryilc latex sealers however should be avoided at all costs as they contain non-breathable latex, which is pretty much a paint.
Best Sealers for Pavers
Should I seal my pavers? That is the most frequently asked question about paver sealers, and the answer is yes. It is never a requirement to seal your pavers, but sealing your pavers comes with many benefits. If you don’t want to deal with maintaining a sealer, then a Silane-Siloxane sealer is best. Here are the many benefits of sealing your pavers:
- Paver sealers help to reduce the formation of mold, mildew, and efflorescence on the pavers.
- Paver sealers help to reduce staining caused by the absorption of rain, pool water, and irrigation systems.
- Paver sealers help to reduce deterioration from freeze-thaw cycles and road salt.
- Paver sealers help to reduce deterioration from water absorption such as cracking, spalling, and pitting.
- Paver sealers help to reduce discoloration caused by water absorption.
Here are a few more frequently asked questions about paver sealers:
- Are silane siloxane and acrylic sealers breathable? Yes they are. All silane-siloxane sealers are breathable, and most acrylic sealers are as well. The breathability of an acrylic sealer will reduce as the percent solids increase. Most acrylic sealers are applied at 15-25% solids.
- Can all of the above paver sealers be applied to all types of pavers? Yes and no. Silane siloxane sealers can be applied to concrete and red clay brick pavers, but acrylic sealers should only be applied to concrete pavers.
- When can I seal my pavers? When you seal your pavers will depend on when the paver manufacturer suggests you should. Some paver manufacturers suggest that you seal your pavers immediately, while other paver manufacturers require you to wait as long as a year.
- My pavers are really old, can I seal them? Yes. A silane siloxane sealer will help to reduce deterioration, while an acrylic sealer will bring out any dull and faded coloring to give them a nice consistent look.
- Will paver sealers seal sand? They will seal polymeric sand and cement mortar, but they will not seal loose sand (beach sand or play sand).