What Is the Best Sealer for Pavers?

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Paver sealers are designed to protect your stonework from the elements and keep them looking their best. But just like most things in life, these sealers are not created equal. Some cure to a high-gloss look, while others dry to a matte finish. These outcomes determine how the sealant repels stains and how long the coat will last. For photos and accurate pricing, try searching paver sealing near me.

Alternatively, read on to discover everything you need to know about paver sealers.

Types of Paver Sealers

There are enough paver sealers in the market to confuse the average homeowner, which is probably why you’re here. Every manufacturer is in a race to make a new and exciting flavor that promises to outlast the competition. And that only adds to the confusion. However, there are only two types of sealants you need to know – non-film forming and film-forming.

  • Non-film forming: These sealers cure to a matte finish and often outlast their film-forming counterparts. They are water-based, meaning you’ll have to add water to disperse the polymers. After application, the water molecules evaporate, allowing the polymers to fuse again, resulting in a strong, breathable, and UV resistant bond. That means your stonework will retain its original look for a longer time.
  • Film-forming: These products cure to a wet look that most people like. That’s because they’re solvent-based and dry to form a protective coating for your pavers. These products also release a pungent odor, which is probably the easiest way to identify a film-forming sealer. Unfortunately, this smell translates to a higher VOC emission and a complex clean-up after the job. But you will get better protection for your stonework when everything is cleaned and fully cured.

Which One Is Better?

Generally speaking, non-film forming options are better than their film-forming cousins. And it’s easy to see why. A no-film seal will last longer than your average film-forming sealer. That means you might have to reapply the glossy one twice before reworking your matte-finished pavers.

However, it’s worth noting that non-film sealants do not form a protective layer as film sealants do. You won’t get the shiny finish or the extra protection that comes with film sealants. So, if you’re going for a finish that will impress your neighbors, you might want to settle for a film sealant.

Things to Consider Before Making the Decision

The Final Look

Are you looking for a wet look or a more relaxed satin finish? Your choice will determine the sealant you’ll need and how much you spend on the project. For example, you might have to pay more for a film sealant because it requires more work than a water-based product. The tools used in a film-forming project require a particular cleaning procedure. And, the price of the film-forming sealant is usually a tad bit higher than their water-based counterparts. However, that’s nothing compared to the glossy finish you get with film-forming products.

Safety

Film sealants form a very slippery coat after curing, which can be particularly unsafe in wet places such as a pool area. But, you can go with a glossy finish on a wall by the pool and be perfectly safe. Conversely, non-film products don’t alter surfaces, meaning the stonework retains its nonslip properties.

VOC emissions are also another big concern with these products. Both options emit these dangerous gasses, but the film sealants produce more VOC than their cousins. That’s because they depend on solvents to disperse the polymers, and those additives evaporate during the curing process. You risk exposing your family to liver damage, kidney failure, and issues with the nervous system.

Life Expectancy

Getting sealing work done is not cheap, and that’s part of the reason why you want it to last long. A good quality non-film sealant can last up to five years, while a film sealant can go up to 3 years before needing a fresh coat. However, durability depends on the weather, foot traffic, and maintenance.

Still, a non-film-forming sealant will not hide the imperfections in your pavers. It will simply soak into the stones and chemically react to fill most of the gaps. To do that, you’ll need several coats of a film-forming sealant.

Penetration

A non-film-forming sealer will penetrate your cement products to prevent insects and debris from getting into the small spaces. But we can’t say the same about film sealers. They tend to create a protective layer for the insects that manage to get under it. But, the film can keep the pavers dry and safe from the elements if it’s nicely done.

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