Sealing is meant to protect pavers from the elements (i.e. rain, sun etc...) and anything foreign that were to fall on them. It creates an invisible barrier on top of the pavers that repels water, oil and anything else you might accidentally drop on your driveway or pool deck, so long as you wash it clean as soon as you spot it. Sealing also preserves the pavers' natural beauty for years to come. Sealing helps prevent ants and weeds, but is not guaranteed to eliminate them.
It's usually a 2-day process (weather permitting of course). The first day, we treat any stains with various solutions or solvents which is followed up by pressure cleaning, getting almost anything out (stubborn penetrating stains like oil and rust may not come out). The second day, given that the surface to be sealed is completely dry, our sealer is then rolled on.
One or two coats are applied depending on the need. We suggest vehicles not to be driven over a completed job for at least 24 hours. Pedestrians may walk on the sealed surface 1-2 hours after completion.
Fine sand is the finishing touch of any paver job. It gets into the little spaces between the pavers and secures them, preventing them from moving or shifting. Most people think that the sand needs to come all the way to the surface. Sand is securing the pavers together and does not need to be seen to do its job. If spaces are unusually large between the pavers, they might be shifting due to damage to your edge restraints and you might be in need of some repairs.
Sealing is made to protect the pavers and also to preserve their beauty. When a sealer is applied, it darkens the original colors. Some times you might get the pavers to really shine, but it depends on your pavers' colors. Darker colors tend to have a more noticeable sheen then lighter ones. We use a high solids sealer which usually leaves a satin finish on a single coat, and a high-gloss finish on a two coater. Again this is a bonus that comes with sealing and not its main purpose.
A simple test can help you tell if you need sealing or not, but it's not the only one. Turn on your water hose and watch water bead up on the surface. If water is not beading, you might need a fresh coat of sealer.
Usually a good sealing job, with a good product should last between two to three years depending on the care given to the area, the traffic, and the elements (i.e. rain, sun etc...). In addition, the quality of the pavers and the condition of the pavers play a role in the longevity.
There are two reasons cause a white cloudy film to appear on your pavers:
If too much cheap sealer is applied, the paver becomes saturated with the product and becomes white. Don't let anyone use a cheap sealer on your pavers! We would recommend leaving your pavers bare rather than coat them with a cheap sealer
If after pressure cleaning, the job is not given time enough to dry completely, the sealer then traps moisture inside the paver. When that moisture tries to escape it is blocked by the sealer and causes that white look you notice. In most cases, we can apply a solvent which re-wets the sealer and allows this moisture vapor to escape.
The pressure cleaning and sealing process takes two days. All work will be completed weather permitting. If we are to do work around a pool, great care will be taken in keeping your pool clean, but even though we are careful your pool will be subject to debris (i.e. sand, dirt, etc...) from pressure cleaning. If you have a cover for the pool, we will gladly use it. We suggest scheduling your pool company to inspect your filters and clean your pool after we complete the job. In addition, some covered pools have taken 2-7 days to dry from pressure washing before the sealer could be applied. We will contact you on date work is to be performed but cannot give you a specific time of start due to different variable. Please feel free to contact us for any other questions or concerns you may have.