Modern block paving sealers can also be extremely useful for the upgrading and refurbishment of many different block paving areas; these can include clear paving sealing products and others tinted with additional colour to enhance the appearance and increase the service life of the brick paved surfaces, such as the easy to use ‘Restore-A-Drive’
, which is available here in our Online shop.
Jointing Sand Stabilisers
(please refer to our dedicated Paving Jointing Sand Stabilisers
Paving "Jointing Sand Stabilisers" are not normally the same thing as a “Paving Sealer” as they are more specifically designed to penetrate into the sand and bind the grains together between the ‘flexibly’ laid blocks (which simply means that the blocks are laid on a bed of compacted sand / aggregate and not laid ‘rigidly’ into concrete or mortar). This effectively ‘stabilises’ the sand filled joints, which helps to prevent the jointing sand being extracted by weathering and mechanical cleaning operations, such as vacuum sweeping and power washing. Therefore paving jointing sand stabilising products need to be less penetrative but tougher and more flexible and elastic than surface sealers in order to bind the sand particles together and accommodate the natural flexing and movement of flexibly laid block paving.
A correctly formulated jointing sand stabilising product such asthe 'GftK vdw 870’ (acrylic resin based, water dispersed jointing sand stabiliser) or for even higher performance: ‘Resiblock Superior’ (aromatic polyurethane resin based and solvent dispersed jointing sand stabiliser).
Resiblock Superior is also which is the only driveway sealing and sand stabilising product that carries a No Oil Stains Guarantee
and is one of our biggest sellers. – This is a high performance sealer and sand stabiliser which will both bind and anchor the sand in place, plus provide a protective coating on the surface of the blocks; whereas paving sealing impregnations and surface coating sealers will have no significant or durable effect on binding the sand in the joints.
For more information and advice on these materials please refer to our Paving Jointing Sand Stabilisers
page. If you are uncertain of the best surface sealing or sand stabilising solution for your project then please do not hesitate to call David or Gary on 01257 266696 for FREE expert advice.
Natural Stone Paving Sealers
Natural Stone Paving, particularly small format paving using natural stone setts for example should always be laid as ‘rigid’ paving on a permeable concrete or mortar bed and then pointed / grouted with a suitable paving jointing mortar (such as those in the extensive GftK range from ourselves), Sand Stabilising is therefore not normally an issue.
Natural Stone Paving Sealers can be an emotive subject, NCC Streetscape
acknowledge that some people consider the idea of sealing of natural stone paved areas to be a sacrilege, which must be avoided and advised against in all situations - They are of course entitled to their opinion and actually, we generally share their views with regard to natural stone. However in our experience, there are many other people looking for a sealer for their natural stone paving in order to protect the ‘natural’ stone surface from stains due to spillages, (i.e. from plants barbeques and other food or drink), or against actual physical damage from frost and freeze-thaw attack of the surface.
Alternatively if you are looking to enhance the natural appearance and colour of their stone, or even to provide a permanent ‘wet-look’ then application of a good quality paving sealer is a probably a very good idea. So in many ways, this whole area of sealing natural stone paving is subjective and the debate over natural stone sealing and "the argument of to seal or not to seal"
will no doubt continue – At NCC Streetscape
we believe that this is firstly a matter of your project’s requirements, followed by your personal opinions and preferences – after all it is you who are paying so have what you want! We will give the facts.
It should also be noted that there are some types of paving stone, paving traffic and exposure situations or circumstances where paving of natural stone sealing is definitely advisable or necessary – i.e. On certain types of porous sandstone paving or limestone paving, effective surface impregnation and sealing is definitely to be recommended if the owner wants to prevent staining, where oil, food or other spillages can occur. Additionally on porous natural stone used for driveway paving, or for other commercial or public areas with vehicular access, then surface sealing to prevent unsightly oil and grease contamination.
Finally any areas of porous natural stone paved surfaces exposed to frequent low temperatures and frost can be sealed to reduce the damaging effects of freeze / thaw attack, which in repeated cycling can cause serious fracturing and flaking of the surfaces – Especially where de-icing salts are to be used in the area.
The costs of all of these different types of material solutions can also be vastly different, plus all of these different types of materials have very different application requirements and limitations, in addition to their wide variations of durability in service and in their maintenance requirements and possibilities.
If you are uncertain of the best way to approach the surface sealing or impregnation of your natural stone paving, then call David or Gary on 01257 266696 for FREE expert advice on the best and most cost effective sealing solution for your specific natural stone, its exposure and your sealing and surface protection requirements.
: It is important to remember that any new or existing areas of block paving or natural stone paving must always be thoroughly cleaned before they are sealed. Any cement staining, dirt or grime, algae and other green growths, plus any other forms of surface staining, must be removed before any type of paving surface sealer is applied. (For assistance with cleaning and stain removal please visit our Block Paving Cleaners & Natural Stone Cleaners
Alternatively - If you already know what type of paving impregnation or paving sealer that you want, or for more specific product information, please visit our Online Shop for Paving Sealers.
Paving Sealers Selection Criteria:
To provide more information on each of the alternative ‘Categories of Paving Sealer’
and the different ‘Types of Paving Sealer Materials'
used we have summarized the main characteristics of the Categories of Paving Sealers for both block paving and natural stone paving:
- Impregnating Paving Sealers
- impregnating paving sealers are designed to penetrate completely and not to leave any significant film on the paved surface, today these are usually based on Silane, Siloxane, Fluorosilicate or a blend of these materials dispersed in solvents or water and designed to penetrate and impregnate the paved surfaces forming a hydrophobic (water repellent) and oleophobic (oil repellent) finish.
- Surface Coating Paving Sealers
- surface coating sealers for paved surfaces are designed to penetrate and / or bond to the paving elements surface and therefore some film thickness of the material always remains and is visible on the surface, usually these paving surface sealers are Acrylic resin or Polyurethane resin based materials, again dispersed in solvents or water.
These different categories of paving impregnation sealers and film-forming surface coating sealers each also include a range of different types of materials. The different characteristics and properties of these different paving sealers, together with their respective advantages and potential disadvantages for your paving sealing project can be further summarised as follows:
Types of Materials for Paving Sealers
'Impregnation' Type Paving Sealers – Silicone, Silane, Siloxane or Fluorosilicate based
Concrete Block and Natural Stone Paving Impregnations are usually based on Silane, Siloxane or Fluorosilicate based materials:- These vary from cheap short term water repellent Silicone Paving Sealers
that NCC Streetscape
can never recommend and do not supply, as they impregnate only a short depth and last only a short time (i.e. Thompsons Waterseal or similar such Builders Merchants rubbish – Please Do Not Use these inferior products unless you want a tatty looking job, or you enjoy complaints and redoing the work!
Recommended impregnations for invisible paving sealing include water based Fluorosilicate ‘Pore Strengtheners’
that also bond into the structure and increase the paved surface's resistance to wear, in addition to reducing the permeability. Alternatively there are solvent carried Silane and Siloxane based Paving Sealers
, that will also give good long term water repellence and therefore also provide good long term water-borne stain and frost or freeze-thaw / de-icing salt resistance. The solvent based products are always more efficient in colder weather and generally have higher penetration properties – but they are not so environmentally friendly.
The main advantage of all of these recommended impregnation products, particularly for sealing porous natural stone paved surfaces is that they penetrate fully into the paved surface and then work by lining the pores of the concrete or stone, repelling liquid water; but without changing the surface appearance, or preventing water vapour transmission. Efflorescence is greatly reduced or prevented on concrete block paving, the natural look is retained by the stone surfaces, and these impregnating products can be used safely on all types of porous and sensitive natural stone. The paving impregnation sealer type products from NCC Streetscape will last for many years and then they can also easily be refreshed, by simple re-application at any time in the future, whenever this eventually becomes necessary.
In our experience this is likely to be up to, or even in excess of 10 years on most paved surfaces, dependent on the exposure and traffic. These materials are actually also used for the protection of reinforced concrete bridge structures against water ingress and damage due to de-icing salts and frost damage, throughout Europe and the USA. Several of these materials are therefore approved for this purpose by the different National Highways Agencies including the DfT in the UK.
The disadvantages is probably there is no additional ‘enhancement’ or ‘wet-look’ achieved – However, this is a very durable paving protection solution and is based on a totally different concept to the normal ‘visible sealer’ approach, by providing ‘invisible sealing and protection’
– Probably these products are the best solution for those who do not really want to seal their natural stone or have a glossy block driveway, but who do want to reduce any staining and prevent frost damage to their paving.
Even ‘natural stone enthusiasts’ can frequently understand and agree with this approach and so these impregnation sealer type products are considered far more acceptable, much better and increasingly preferred by many people. They will provide a high level of protection, maintaining the natural stone appearance, through effectively sealing the paved surfaces internally. The correctly formulated products from GftK such as ‘vdw 950 Stone Protect 3in1’ and Funcosil AG and Funcosil OFS that are available in our Online shop
are the best available in the ‘Impregnating Paving Sealer’ category and whilst certainly not cheap, their cost should be considered in relation to their ‘invisible’ protection, extended service life and ease of eventual reapplication in 10 years or so..
'Surface Coating' Type Paving Sealers
The two most prominent types of ‘surface coating’ type paving sealers are Acrylic Resin or Polyurethane Resin based, both of which are available as water dispersed and solvent dispersed products. In principle the solvent dispersed materials are always higher performance and give longer durability, but the water dispersed materials are more environmentally friendly. Whilst this is not in accordance with NCC Streetscape’s normal ‘environmentally friendly approach’ with our advice and the products we supply, the special solvents used in these Resiblock and Kingfisher paving sealing products do ensure good penetration, they also allow the product’s application in lower temperatures or more humid conditions, plus they give better consumption (meaning a higher coverage per litre) – All of which are very strong arguments for their use!
Acrylic Paving Sealers
These are relatively cheap and easy to apply, the best performing ones have to contain solvents, as stated above, because even the latest water based acrylic resins for paving sealers just do not penetrate as well, nor do they tolerate damp, or dry / harden anywhere near as quickly, plus they do not perform technically to anywhere near the same level and have inferior durability – unfortunately!
A matt sheen or gloss ‘wet look’ for the surface is achieved with 2 or 3 coats (subject to porosity and consumption) of Acrylic resin based sealers that leave a thin residual surface film. This gradually reduces with use, through wear and weathering, usually over a period of around 1-3 years, according to the paved surfaces use and exposure.
The Acrylic Paving Sealers disadvantages are that a Any highly used areas can soon become visibly ‘different’ and require re-application sooner rather than later – However this is also easy and cheap to do with Acrylic resin based paving sealers (such as ‘K-Seal Total’ – available in our Online shop
There is no significant or durable improvement or stabilising of block paving jointing sand cohesion and no additional weed growth prevention with any of the available acrylic resin based paving sealers, as some inferior product manufacturers and Builders Merchants will sometimes infer. If Jointing Sand Stabilising is a major requirement, then please refer to the Paving Jointing Sand Stabiliser
page of this website.
On ‘rigid’ paving i.e. patios or other paving that is laid in and on a permeable concrete or mortar bed, it is always better to use a modern Paving Joint Mortar from the GftK range for total weed growth prevention and the many other advantages as outlined on our Paving Jointing Mortar page of this website.
Polyurethane Paving Sealers
These are generally higher performance products and can also provide substantial sand stabilisation on ‘flexibly’ laid concrete block paving; plus they are also the best visible paving sealers for commercial applications and for long term durability. Unfortunately the polyurethane resin based paving sealers are also correspondingly more expensive, but again this must be considered together with their increased performance and far superior durability to the acrylic paving sealers. The best performing polyurethane resin, or ‘PU’ based products as they are also known, are generally agreed in the trade to be produced by the specialist paving sealer and sand stabiliser manufacturer Resiblock Limited. The best performing of these Resiblock products are also solvent dispersed and for the same reasons as are the best Acrylic Paving Sealers; the water dispersed paving sealers just do not perform as well or last as long.
The Resiblock Polyurethane (PU) based paving sealer’s generally have a higher resin content, producing a thicker film thickness, which forms a far more durable 'gloss' or 'matt / silk' finish on the paved surface.
With these advanced PU paving sealer's, the higher resin content and film thickness unfortunately usually means a higher material consumption and higher material cost per square metre. Therefore it is important that the full performance requirements and capabilities, specifications, visual requirements and waiting times etc. of both the paving and the paving sealer are fully defined, agreed and understood. The high performance Resiblock polyurethane paving sealers are ideal for many different commercial applications, and they can also be used for many domestic applications on driveways, pathways and patios for example.
For the highest performance on commercial projects, we always recommend that these high performance materials are applied by experienced specialist contractors, in order to avoid any difficulties due to inadequate preparation, application or environmental conditions, as moisture cured polyurethane sealers can be sensitive in application and the limitations on their respective Product Data Sheets must be strictly observed.
The disadvantage of some inferior polyurethane sealers is they have inadequate resin content to save cost and therefore are not specifically formulated to accommodate the higher degrees of movement and the aggressive Mechanical Street Cleaning Machines that are used on commercial pavements and large parking areas, where they will also quickly be prone to staining by fuel and oils from the vehicles, or other spillages. The same is true of materials that purport to be ‘PU’ but in reality when you read the small print on the Safety Data Sheet (if you can get one!), they are a blend of a small amount of PU resin with cheaper acrylic resins – Beware of cheap imitations and the attraction of low price!
However a correctly formulated and proven PU Paving Sealer product such as ‘Resiblock Superior’ – available in our Online shop
for example, also is the only product that comes with a ‘No Oil Stains’ Manufacturer’s Guarantee
The only possible disadvantage of these Resiblock PU paving sealers is that when the areas are trafficked the PU film will still eventually wear and; when re-coating is eventually required after approximately 4 to 10 years, dependent on the level and volume of traffic and exposure, then this is not always the easiest of tasks and mechanical preparation by careful sanding and / or chemical activation of the surfaces will be required.
NCC Streetscape Recommendations for the Use of Block and Stone Paving Sealers
As can be seen all of these different Paving Sealer types have their place in different domestic and commercial pavement sealing applications and requirements, for both new paved areas and refurbishment projects. It is very important to be very clear of your specific paving project sealing requirements, the range of potential solutions available - together with the respective advantages and disadvantages of these different types of materials and products within each of these material types.
If you are not an experienced professional paving contractor with experience of sealing paved surfaces with these different types of products, then using a good Silane / Siloxane based impregnating paving sealer – particularly GftK’s ‘vdw 950 Stone Protect 3in1’ or ‘Funcosil AG' – available in our Online shop
will probably give you the best chance of easily achieving good long term results without any problems.
However this can be considered comparatively expensive for some domestic applications and so for normal patios and driveways and DIY applications, the solvented acrylic 'sealer – ‘K-Seal Total’ or ‘Resiblock Trade’–the best PU and acrylic resin blend on the market are available to buy direct from our Online shop
. One of these will probably be the easiest, lower cost and most effective domestic solution – These are both also easy to refresh by simple surface cleaning and over-coating whenever it visually becomes necessary in the future.
The higher performance polyurethane paving sealing products from Resiblock could also be the most cost effective and the best investment – particularly on flexibly laid quality concrete block paving driveway situations i.e. using ‘Resiblock Superior’ because it will give greatly increased resistance to the traffic and wearing, plus it will also provide additional jointing sand stabilisation and reduce weed growth – with a ‘No Oil Stains Guarantee’
Additionally on Indian sandstone paving in exposed situations the specially formulated PU Resin based penetrative ‘Resiblock Indian Sandstone Sealer’ will give the best long term durability with excellent freeze thaw protection –available in our Online shop
However a word of caution – As our professional paving contractor customers understand and advise - You must take great care with using polyurethane based sealers on any non-porous natural stone paving surfaces, or in damp conditions, because of their potentially lower penetration into the surface, or the potential cloudy patches, blistering or bubbling that can occur with any residual moisture below the film. Any cloudy or milky patches may or may not eventually disappear, but any blistering will not and will require additional remedial works after which it may still be visible. Additionally the surface preparation necessary for any eventual re-coating can be very difficult to achieve on natural stone or chamfered blocks.
Paving Pre-Treatment for Sealing:
It is also important to note that all types of paving sealers require thorough preparatory pre-treatment with the surfaces being thoroughly cleaned and then drying (normally for at least two days in good drying weather), before the sealer is applied.
Additional information and the specific product performance details and characteristics are given in their respective PDS available in our Online Shop
Please select the most suitable product for your project and order online.
– Alternatively for FREE advice and assistance on your paving sealing project requirements, please call David or Gary at NCC Streetscape on 01257 266696