How to Seal Paving Slabs
Installing a beautiful new patio can be exciting, but the proper preventative measures are needed to ensure that it stays looking its best for as long as possible. We’ve put together a guide on how to seal paving slabs, as well as an explanation as to why it is necessary to do so.
Why is sealing paving necessary?
When you spend a long time choosing the perfect paving slabs for your patio, the last thing you want is for them to start discolouring or become damaged once the weather changes. Unsealed stones won’t instantly start to degrade when it rains, but they are more vulnerable to environmental changes.
Sealing paving slabs protects them from UV damage and discolouration, and makes them easier to clean. This means that the paving slabs will retain their original appearance for longer without fading or becoming marred by difficult-to-remove stains.
Sealing also protects paving slabs against moss and algae build-up which, as well as being unsightly, can allow moisture to seep into the stone. Some stones may be porous and take on too much moisture from natural conditions such as rain if they are not sealed. Moisture settling within the slabs weakens them, meaning they are more likely to crack or break.
How to seal paving slabs
Now that you know why it is so important that paving slabs are sealed, here is how to seal them.
1. Choose a patio sealant
The first step to sealing paving slabs is to buy a patio sealant. There are quite a few different brands and formulations available, designed for different patio materials, so ensure you choose the right one for your needs. The sealant will also have specific instructions for what conditions it needs to be properly applied.
2. Clean the patio prior to cleaning
Before a patio can be sealed, it needs to be cleaned to remove any marks, debris, or stains, as these will become permanent features once sealed. Depending on the state of the patio, a stiff broom and a hose might be enough to clean it, but stains from the pointing may need a specific patio cleaner.
3. Check the weather forecast
Before you can start sealing your paving slabs, you will want to look at the weather forecast for the day you intend to do the work. If there is any sign of rain, you may want to reschedule, as most sealants are designed to be used on slabs that are completely dry, and have been so for 72 hours. The temperature also plays a key role - most sealants can only be applied effectively in temperatures of 5-20℃ so it is best to avoid winter if possible.
4. Mask adjacent surfaces
If your patio has any sensitive surfaces adjacent to the patio that could be affected by the patio sealant, you may want to consider masking these surfaces before you start applying the sealant to the patio.
5. Perform a patch test in an inconspicuous area
If your chosen sealant contains solvents, then you should consider wearing protective clothing and eyewear before handing it. Once you are properly protected, perform a test of the sealant on an inconspicuous area with a small fibre brush and leave it to dry for 2 hours. Check that the finish is what you expected before continuing to seal the rest of the patio.
6. Apply the paving sealant
The next step in sealing your paving slabs is to apply the sealant. You should follow the instructions on your chosen sealant for this, but sealants usually require at least two coats, so carefully apply using either a fibre brush, a paint pad, a sponge, or a low-pressure sprayer. Make sure you cover the patio evenly by doing one slab at a time.
7. Apply a second coat of paving sealant
Again, pay attention to the instructions on the sealant first, but a second coat of sealant usually needs to be applied evenly soon after the first to act as surface protection.
8. Allow the sealant to dry
The freshly applied sealant will need to dry for at least 2-3 hours before it can be walked on or interfered with in any way, but after that, your paving slabs should be completely protected!
Now that you know how to seal paving slabs, if you are ready to seal your patio, you can come down to our hardware store to browse our range of sealants. We also offer a range of natural stone paving products that are perfect for patios.