Cleaning and Sealing Concrete Pavers Process

cleaning-and-sealing-concrete-pavers-process-before--afterThis blog will discuss cleaning and sealing concrete pavers process and why it is important.  Whether you have a charming hardscape, a beautiful driveway, or an intricate walkway, your hardscape’s longevity and visual appeal depend on proper maintenance. In this blog, we’ll explore the significance of regular cleaning and sealing pavers in your hardscapes, helping you understand when, how, and why to embark on these crucial steps for preserving the beauty of your outdoor spaces.

  1.  Do stone patios, driveways, and other hardscapes need to be pressure washed?

This is everyone’s first question, and the answer is NO.  The most popular interlocking concrete pavers manufacturers used in Long Island NY are Nicolock, Cambridge, Techo Bloc, Unilock, and Belgard to name a few. These pavers have been installed on patios and driveways for the past 30 years.  When you see a 10-year-old concrete paving stone floor you can notice with the naked eye that the surface is faded and lost its finer texture on the surface layer.

Patio and driveway pavers get dirty over time and grow black mold, moss, and weeds. Most paver owners think of hiring a pressure washing company to clean them or run out to the local hardware store rent a pressure washer and try to pressure wash the pavers themselves. Pressure washing concrete pavers, especially newer ones, can easily damage the surface finish and we strongly suggest not pressure washing unless you are highly experienced and have the right equipment to pressure wash pavers.

step-1-cleaning-and-sealing-concrete-pavers-processPressure-washing concrete pavers will appear to clean them at the time.  The process weathers the surface of the pavers therefore aging and expediting the aging process. As you pressure wash the concrete surface of the pavers, it becomes rougher, and in a short time dust and dirt will start to accumulate in the microscopic pores resulting in the surface being dirty again.  Often people get caught up in the cycle of pressure washing their pavers every springtime.   They do not realize every time it is done they worsen the problem instead of resolving it. 

  2.  Do concrete pavers need to be sealed? 

This is everyone’s next question, and the answer is YES.  Paver sealant is an important maintenance tool to keep paver patios, walkways, driveways, and pool decks looking as beautiful as the day they were installed.   To maintain the look for years to come a layer of protective sealer must be applied to the surface of the finished outdoor paver.

Concrete surfaces are corrosive to the elements and will weather over time, losing their shine and fine new texture. Just like many products need protection such as metal needs paint or a car needs wax to revive and restore its luster.  Any surface exposed to the elements after many years will lose its vibrancy and fine finished texture.

step-2-cleaning-and-sealing-concrete-pavers-processWe recommend sealing your pavers to ensure their longevity and the manufacturer’s finish to last.  Gappsi uses a synthetic finish product to preserve the paving stones.  Sealers will make the pavers surface water repellent thus making them weatherproof.  When you seal your pavers you accomplish many things besides weathering protection.  You bring out the colors that fade over time even though the color is through and through or even a layer of half an inch thick.  The eye sees the very top of the pavement.  In only a few short years they could become faded due to the weathering from the rain or sun rays.

Contact Gappsi Today For An Estimate

In addition, the color could fade simply by the curing process of the cement structure itself of which the concrete pavers are manufactured. Using a pressure washer over concrete pavers will further degrade the surface and age it faster.  Sealer products are clear and transparent.  They brighten and magnify the colors of the surface. That’s what the eye sees.  The colored light that the sealer reflects. The smoother the surface of the pavers the more light is reflected off it.  A weathered surface allows dust to collect more easily and does not reflect the light as well as a preserved smoother surface does. That is why a sealed newer surface appears to be much more colorful than a sealed more weathered surface that has been left to weather under the elements for too long without a synthetic coat protection like the proper sealer.

Perhaps the most important benefit of sealers is that they make pavers less porous, which helps limit stains, since the pavers are less able to soak up the oil or dirt, etc. Sealing your concrete pavers makes cleanup of spills easier if they do happen.

  3.  How long should you wait before cleaning and sealing your pavers? 

Gappsi has been installing pavers for over 40 years and sealing them for more than 20 years.  Our experience and best practice is to take care of any colored concrete surface and pavers installed on driveways and patios.  New installations should weather under the natural elements of rain, sun, and snow for at least 2 years. During this time the concrete structure of the paving stones will cure completely and any efflorescence that has reason to surface on the pavement will be washed away naturally.  The top surface of the concrete pavers has weathered enough to have developed a very fine uniform sandy texture.  This is not visible to the naked eye but enough for a sealant to grab on and allow it to penetrate the substrate. This will make the sealer applied do its job of protecting the surface. 

step-3-cleaning-and-sealing-concrete-pavers-process  4.  What is the right sealer and how do you select the one that fits your pavers?

This is where it can get more complicated, costly, or worsen the situation. If you don’t use the right product or the right company to seal your pavers you could degrade the surface of the paving stones.  It is important to start with what is your result you are looking to achieve.  What are your expectations for the project?  Besides planning to protect your outdoor floor investment long term, you need to ask yourself a few questions: 

  • Do you want to see your pavers color in a natural form as they look when they are dry? 
  • Do you like the wet look and want to enhance the color?
  • If you prefer the color enhancement option, what kind of shine? Shiny or Mat
  • Do you want a plastic shine look or do you like a mat color-enhanced look?

step-4-cleaning-and-sealing-concrete-pavers-processWhat is Your Preference? 

Based on your preferences we will choose the sealer products that will accomplish the look. There are many manufacturers of sealers on the market and knowing which one is better could be challenging.  In addition, the manufacturer of the sealer you select will have different ways to apply the product.  The application and knowledge of cleaning and sealing pavers are what will give you the correct result.

The quality of your sealed paving stone patio and driveway pavers comes down to the knowledge of the person you trust and hire to complete the project.

Applying sealer to your pavers does NOT automatically guarantee all the good things mentioned above, a poorly sealed job could create a worse eye sore.  It also is an expensive and challenging situation to rectify.  This is because there are not many quality sealer applicators on the market.  There are even fewer applicators willing to take the challenge or even know how to rectify a badly sealed patio and make it look right.

  5.  Best practices for sealing concrete paving stones.

We recommend lightly washing the pavers with a surface cleaner.  This will clean the floor uniformly and most importantly use a pressure washing system that makes hot water at least 150 Fahrenheit.  Once the surface is cleaned of any debris as well as old sand from the joints.  You can go at least one inch deep into the joint.  The floor has to be left until completely dry. The following step is to fill the joints of the pavers with Polymeric sand, let it harden, and then seal the pavers.)

step-5-cleaning-and-sealing-concrete-pavers-process  6. How many types of sealers are there and what are the differences?

Four primary types of sealers can be used to seal concrete pavers: polyurethane, acrylic, Solvent and lastly waterbase based sealers. All these sealers can be modified by the different producers to accomplish different results. Acrylic and polyurethane sealers are the top coating that primarily covers the surface of concrete pavers, they offer color enhancement by magnifying the color pigments on the paver surfaces. solvents and waterbased sealers are penetrating sealer and can offer both a natural look and color enhancement.  If a natural look is desired in the paving stone then a solvent sealer with non enhancers or water-based solution should be used.

  7.  Which sealer is better to use?

All sealers are good as long as you understand how to apply them. 

  • Understanding the surface you are sealing
  • The age of the concrete pavers
  • Is it concrete or a natural stone surface
  • Are you going to apply a slip resistance on the surface?
  • Is it a horizontal or a vertical surface,
  • Is the area damp, the porosity of the product you are planning to seal is important to note.
  • The application procedure of each product changes based on the time of the year you are applying it and the humidity and weather (temperature).

Gappsi Cleaning and Sealing Paving Stones Process

Our experience in cleaning and sealing concrete pavers is not only shown through our expert staff in handling the products but also in the timing between each step of the process.  Using the right right people, with the right equipment to ensure a job is done right for YOU! 


The Gappsi process starts with focusing on losing up and the removal of soil and debris from the paver’s joints using a state-of-the-art high water volume pressure washer that produces 200 Fahrenheit hot water.


The 2nd step is to wash the floor surface using extractor surface cleaners.  This will clean the floors uniformly.  In addition, the suction produced by the surface cleaner extracts any loose material.  This material is loosened and sitting in the pavers gaps.  We pump them out and away from the area being prepared for sealing.


Once the paving stone joints and surface have been completely cleaned.  Allow the patio stones to completely dry. The selection of joint filling material is based on the selection of the sealer we use.


It is important to mention a few things.  If we are sealing a concrete paving surface using a color enhancer sealer.  Then we use a urethane sealer.  In this case, we also use silica sand (color of choice) to fill the joints.  Next, we vibrate the pavement with a specific vibratory roller compactor made for this application process.  This helps the sand settle in between the paver joints and fills the joints tight. Lastly, urethane sealer is applied.


One person sprays the sealer onto the concrete pavers.  The second person moves the sealer around with a blower filling the joints.  This process ensures that the joins fully absorb the sealer when applied to its full depth.  The surface of the pavers becomes sealed in the process while we focus on flooding the joints.  

A second coat of sealer is applied right after while the first coat is still tacky strengthening the seal to the stone.  This binds to the first coat.


When solvent sealers are used the process changes with the use of sand.  We use Polymeric sand instead of Silica sand.  Polymeric sand is a combination of silica sand and polymer manufactured and delivered in dry bags.  After applying to the paver joints and vibrating down, water is applied.  The water activates the polymeric in the sand and causes the sand to harden when dry. The last step is applying the solvent sealer over the entire floor surface.

A great job is only delivered by the following criteria:

  1. the experience and knowledge of the applicator
  2. the right preparation of the surface
  3. the proper equipment used
  4. the appropriate type of sealer selected for the desired outcome.


View Gappsi’s YouTube Channel for Videos of the Cleaning and Sealing Concrete Pavers Process

Share this page: