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Pavers, regardless of the materials used, be it concrete, bricks, travertine, etc. are durable and resistant to harsh environmental factors. That said, you might wonder if a paver joint stabilizer is still needed. We made in-depth research and here’s what we found out.
Paver joint stabilizer adds another layer of protection on the surface against extreme temperature, foot and vehicular traffic, and moisture. So, yes, it is vital to apply it on a newly installed paver to prevent premature deterioration.
But what exactly is a joint stabilizer, how does it work, and how to apply it? That’s going to be our focus moving forward.
Paver Joint Stabilizer: What Is It?
It is a liquid product made specifically to protect stones on driveways and patios against major causes of damage. It consists of acrylic polymers and polyurethane materials that plug the pores and fill fractures. Without it, your pavers will be prone to erosion, weeds, and splits.
You need to use a paver joint stabilizer for these benefits:
1. Prevents Moisture
You can count on it to protect your paver from ice and snow, which are the primary culprits behind chips and cracks.
2. Repels Discoloration
It acts as a barrier from dirt, pollen, and greases. So no need to worry about your pavement harboring stains and discolorations!
3. Improves Aesthetics
Sealant gives the walkway a rich and polished finish and keeps it tidy-looking, thus boosting curb appeal.
4. Deters Weeds
As it fills crevices, sealer leaves no space for weeds to grow, saving you the hassle of digging unwanted vegetation.
Using a paver joint stabilizer also has the following drawbacks:
1. Requires Periodic Maintenance
Resealing your paver every two to three years is a must. But some sealers last for 15 years, depending on the materials used.
The application can cost anywhere between $300 to $500 dollars. You may opt for an inexpensive solution, but that may only last for a year.
It can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which get mixed up in the air. Once breathed, this can be toxic to your health and plants.
How Long After Paver Installation Can It be Sealed?
Pavers can be sealed after 24 hours. But if you applied polymeric sand, you should wait at least 90 days to allow efflorescence or salt deposit to evaporate naturally and to avoid trapping moisture underneath the film.
How To Choose The Right Joint Stabilizer Sealer
Here are different finishes to choose from:
- Natural: this is often referred to as an "invisible coating" that retains the natural color of the stones.
- Satin: provides a semi or velvety finish on driveways and patio. It’s the go-to for high-traffic areas you don’t want to reseal often as it is more durable.
- Enhanced: makes the best choice for those who want a glossy or “wet look” on their surfaces. This is deemed the most effective at deterring stains and moisture.
How To Apply Joint Stabilizer
- Tidy the area. The sealer won’t adhere to a dirty walkway. Also, debris creates bumps on the coating.
- Allow the stones to dry, then saturate them with the solution using a garden spray. Be sure to fill each joint, but avoid puddles on one area.
- Spread evenly with a rubber squeegee.
- You can apply a second coating but give it two to three hours intervals or once the initial film dries up.
- Allow the mixture to dry and avoid foot and vehicular traffic for at least 72 hours.
What If It Rains After Sealing Your Paver?
If the sealant gets rained on before it cures and dries, it would blister and peel off. So, confirm that the weather condition will be fine in the next 24 hours, otherwise; cancel the application.
Are Sealed Pavers Slippery?
If applied incorrectly or too thick, sealants can cause the paver to become slippery, particularly, when wet. Read the label for additional instructions on how to apply the product. Don’t hesitate to ask the help of the professionals if you think you can’t do it yourself.
How To Make Sealed Paver Less Slippery
In case your paver turns slippery, the steps you can do include:
- Applying non-grit tape: this product contains aluminum oxide to provide traction on the surface. It adheres well to the paver, stairs, woods, etc.
- Using a non-slip additive: mix the formula with the sealer before coating. It minimizes slips and falls in high-risk areas.
How To Clean Sealed Pavers
Follow the steps below for the best way to clean sealed paver:
- Remove any obstructions such as pots, plants, etc.
- Wet the surface with a hose or bucket.
- Prepare a mild acid solution. Hot water with baking soda is a popular choice. Diluted vinegar is also effective at removing stains and dirt buildup. When done, spread it evenly on top.
- Scrub the stones with a stiff-bristle broom. Avoid using a wire-bristle brush as it can cause a blister on the sealant.
- Rinse the surface with a hose. Gently spray on the area to get rid of grimes.
What To Avoid When Cleaning Sealed Pavers
To prevent damage, do not use these aggressive cleaning tools:
- Wire-bristle brush: this can easily chip the protective coating.
- Pressure washer: setting it on high can degrade or not only damage the sealant but also the porous aggregates.
- Acidic cleaning agents: these can chip the covering.
- Bleach: it works on other surfaces, but it can fade and stain sealed driveways or patio.
Is It Necessary To Apply Polymeric Sand Before Sealing The Paver?
Polymeric sand is a substance designed specifically to fill and lock paver joints in place. This deters erosion and early breakdown, but a sealant takes the protection up a notch. So most homeowners prefer applying a joint stabilizer over. As we’ve mentioned above, the general rule is to seal 90 days after the polymeric sand application.
How To Apply Polymeric Sand
Be sure to have the following prepared prior to the application:
- Brooms: you need a hard-bristle broom to distribute the sand evenly and a soft-bristle broom to sweep the residue.
- Plate compactor: to vibrate and push the sand to the ground to ensure that each paver joint is packed.
- Hose: you have to water the sand to activate them.
- Leaf blower: this is to blow away the residue and avoid polyhaze.
Here’s how to apply polymeric sand:
- Ensure that there is no rain forecast in the next 48 hours.
- Check the ground for moisture that prevents the sand from settling.
- Pour the sand on the surface and spread with a hard-bristle broom. Make sure to fill each joint.
- Vibrate and compact the sand with the plate compactor.
- The sand will go down halfway. Sweep the sand to refill the joints, then compact the sand again.
- Remove the residue with a soft-bristle broom followed by the leaf blower.
- Water the sand to start activating them. After the initial shower, wait at least 4 minutes then water it again.
- Allow the sand to cure and dry for 24 to 48 hours.
How Long Does Polymeric Sand Last?
This mainly depends on the brand, but most polymeric sand have a lifespan of 10 years. With proper maintenance, it can last for up to 15 years.
A joint stabilizer serves as a barrier against harmful factors, so it is necessary to apply it to pavers. But it has to be done correctly, otherwise; it can make your surface slippery. Unless you are confident that you can do it, it’s best to leave it to professionals.
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