January 4, 2010

What Is Block Paving Sealant & How Does It Work?

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Have you recently installed a new walkway or driveway at your home or place of business and are keen on protecting the new installation, such as block paving, from the ravages of time and the elements?  Or perhaps have you been disconcerted by the increasingly evident effects of these factors as well as general wear and tear on an area of block (or other) paving and want to revert these effects using the best products/chemicals available on the market today?  Block paving—an incredibly common, simple and effective way to pave—demands proper care to be able to hold up over time, and that’s where block paving sealant comes into play: through the use of block paving sealant, it is possible to stave off many different conditions such as the growth of weeds between blocks, color fading from UV exposure, and corrosion from rainwater as well as a whole host of other problems affecting block paving.

Block paving sealant can be applied by professionals but it is also a product which DIYers can use with relative ease and with equal results, and as such it is a highly popular product in the world of construction and home renovation chemicals.  This product, which comes in several different variations, represents a modest and highly effective investment towards keeping outdoor (and less commonly indoor) paved areas such as driveways, patios, walkways, etc., in ideal shape, giving a home or other establishment that visual and aesthetic appeal that the property owner yearns for.

Variety of Surfaces

Block paving materials are quite varied in substance, among which stone, brick and concrete would have to be the most typical to be observed in homes and places of business, all of which may come in a variety of shapes and designs.  Some may have artificial coloration added to the material, whereas others (such as brick block pavers) have naturally occurring coloration that will hold up better over time. 

Fortunately, block paving sealant is a product which is applicable to a very wide gamut of potential materials and is even used in certain limited cases (and where deemed appropriate by a professional) to seal other paving materials besides block varieties. 

Specific Benefits

The first and most over-arching benefit which users of block paving sealant will be able to discern is the visual effect which the product offers.  This visual effect will vary depending on the type of sealant used: gloss sealants, for example, will produce a shiny glare effect on the surface at hand, whereas matt sealants offer a more textured and muffled visual aspect.  The aesthetic effects are not limited to this however, as the appearance of the block paving will prove to be highly benefited over the course of time.  The intensity of the paving color—especially in those materials which are artificially colored and more prone to fading—will be maintained at an excellent rate as the sealant affords ideal UV protection, and furthermore isolates the paving material from moisture which is another prime factor in discoloration. 

Another prime benefit which will ensue from the use of such sealants has to do with the physical and structural integrity of the block paving itself.  A frequent problem for folks that have driveways and patios and other installations made with block paving is that the jointing sand frequently is displaced and lost, particularly after rainstorms.  With the correct application of block paving sealant, it is possible to ensure that the jointing sand remains exactly where it is intended to be, that each fissure/joint is nice and compact and that the overall installation does not become loose or excessively flexible.

Then again, the profusion of weeds and other pesky plants is a further problem commonly associated with block paving.  By providing a chemical as well as physical barrier that prevents such plants from being able to develop any sort of root system in the joints of your block paving, you will be effectively eliminating this overall problem in one fell swoop.  Oftentimes block paving sealant manufacturers have parallel weed-killer products which they recommend be used prior to the application of the sealant itself, particularly in those cases where such vegetation has proven to be a major factor and nuisance.  Similarly, such sealants impede the growth of subsequent algae and lichen which is a very common issue with such outdoor installations and which can even prove to be a safety liability, considering the fact that these plants make the ground surface very slippery (not to mention the fact that they are often considered an eyesore).

Finally, block paving sealants prove to be beneficial when it comes to general cleaning in such areas.  The barrier which the sealant creates makes it vastly easier to remove such substances as chewing gum and also makes the paving material highly oil resistant (driveways in particular are prone to oil stains, and so they are perhaps the most benefited in this regard).  This furthermore means that nicks and scrapes and scratches of all sorts, due to vehicle and foot traffic and other factors, will generally be prevented except in those cases where they are inflicted with irregularly high physical force.

Applying Block Paving Sealant

The process for applying block paving sealant is rather simple and straightforward, and this is most definitely a job which even relatively inexperienced DIY home improvers can undertake.  Of course, it is important to respect each step in the process to be able to achieve results that will last for the long term; cutting corners will reduce or perhaps even completely void the benefits of this product.

The first step in applying such sealants simply involves effectively cleaning the surface in question, and to do so it is recommended to use a high-pressure automatic cleaner that includes rough brushing in addition to the jet of pressurized water and solution.  After all foreign substances on the surface and plant material in the joints has been removed, it is usually a good idea to sweep more jointing sand into the gaps so that they are all nice and full when the sealant itself is finally applied.  This last remaining step is usually either done with a paint roller or with a pump sprayer in two separate applications. 

And with that, it’s just a matter of sitting back and enjoying the results!

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