Driveway sealing is a project that you can easily manage on your own over a weekend. It protects your pavers from the elements and makes them look new again. To get the longest life and best look out of your paver driveway, sealing it is recommended every two years. But there are plenty of things that could go wrong, and some mistakes are expensive to fix. By making the right choices in product and application, you can enjoy your driveway for many years.
Tips for Driveway Sealing
Wait at least 4 weeks after installation of the pavers to allow for the natural appearance of efflorescence, a chalky substance that rises to the surface of the pavers upon exposure to the sun. Efflorescence will disappear on its own over time. If your pavers were installed over a year ago, you may not see any at all.
Sweep and power-wash your driveway a day before you begin sealing and allow it to dry overnight. If you don't have a power-washer, these can generally be rented from hardware stores. You may use a small amount of mild detergent to remove stains, but be sure to rinse away all of the suds.
Choose a solvent-based sealant. Water-based sealants do not stand up to the wear and tear a driveway endures. Choose a sealant based on the material of your pavers, whether they are brick, clay, or cement. Different sealers work better for specific materials than others. Opt for a sponge-type roller to apply the sealant. A nap-based roller is more likely to grab and trap your joining sand.
Investigate whether the sealant you need can be sprayed on using a machine called a Chapin 1949, which can be rented. A spray-on application is the easiest way to avoid dragging sand out of the paver joints.
Wait at least 3 hours after applying your final coat of sealant before walking on the driveway, and allow 24 hours before driving on it.
Driveway Sealing Mistakes
Don't apply a sealant over efflorescence. This will only seal the efflorescence to the surface of the pavers. If your pavers have already been sealed over and you see efflorescence, the sealant will have to be stripped. Remember, efflorescence can appear after sealing, as it rises up from within the pavers.
Never apply the sealant onto pavers that are still wet or even damp. When using a solvent-based sealer, this can cause a milky appearance.
A solvent-based sealant should not be applied over a water-based sealant. Doing so can result in discoloration. If you don't know what sealant was used in the past, test an inconspicuous area before sealing the entire driveway.
Investing in a quality sealant will improve the look and durability of your driveway, while a cheap sealant will need to be reapplied more frequently and may cause discoloration if you switch sealants later on. It's fine to comparison-shop, but the least expensive product may not give the best results.
If a sponge-type roller isn't available, choose a nap that is less 1/4-inch thick. Otherwise, the nap can reach the sand between the pavers and pull it up.