Sealing a paver driveway is not absolutely necessary, but it does have its advantages. A sealant prevents pavers from absorbing moisture and eroding, makes stains easier to remove, and can improve the aesthetic appearance of an older driveway with dull, drab stones. Sealing services are often offered by paver installation businesses, but the materials are all available commercially, so you can easily seal your own driveway with the right steps.
Step 1 - Choose Your Sealer
Calculate the square footage of your driveway to determine how much sealant you will need. Then, go to your local home improvement store and choose a paver sealer that is appropriate for the material you have, whether it's clay, brick, or concrete. Also, make sure you get a sealant that is solvent-based, not water-based, as the latter will not hold up to the wear and tear a driveway endures.
Step 2 - Clean Your Surface
Your paver driveway must be completely clean and dry before sealant can be applied. Check the weather forecast, and do not start the project if there is any chance of rain within the next few days, or if there has been rain in the past 24 hours. When you do get a clear stretch of days, start by sweeping your driveway with a broom to clear it of large debris first. Follow up with a pressure washer to blast away finer debris and stains, and make sure the surface is clear of any joining sand you may have blasted out. A mild household detergent may also help to remove stains, but avoid anything with harsh chemicals or bleach, which can damage your pavers. If you do use a detergent, go over the driveway with the pressure washer once more to wash away all suds and soap residue.
Allow the driveway to dry overnight. If there is any sign of remaining moisture the next day, do not start sealing—instead, wait until the pavers are completely dry, even if that means giving it another day. The time needed to dry will depend on your climate.
Step 3 - Start Sealing
Read the label on your sealant for any instructions and safety precautions before beginning. Then, start in one corner and use the paint roller to apply the substance evenly over the surface, working backwards. Note that a sponge-type roller will help you avoid picking up any loose joining sand better than a nap-type roller will. Also be aware that some sealants can be applied with a spray device called a Chapin 1949; these machines are available to rent. However, double-check first that your sealant can be applied by this way, as some solvent-based sealants are too thick for a spray application.
If desired, a second coat can be applied two to four hours after the initial coat. This is typically done for aesthetic purposes, to give the pavers a wet look.
Step 4 - Drying and Cleanup
Wait at least three hours after the final coat before walking on the driveway, and 24 hours before you drive on it. In the meantime, use Xylene or lacquer thinner to clean your tools. Both materials are widely available at hardware stores.
Sealing your driveway at least every two years will provide the best protection against the elements and keep the pavers looking good for years to come. In the span of one weekend, your driveway can look like new again.