Paving sealers come in different types to suit the different types of paving such as natural stone, reconstituted stone and other concrete blocks and manufactured paving elements, including external porcelain tiles – often it comes as a surprise to people that even expensive porcelain surfaces also need to be cleaned regularly and can benefit from being sealed for protection against staining as well as to make cleaning easier. This is why there is no universal cleaner or sealer that can be used on all types of paving materials and paved surfaces, in fact some cleaners and sealers can be very detrimental if used on the wrong type of surfaces.
So it is for very good reason that we recommend it is necessary to know what type of paving you want to seal, plus what type of damage or stain you want to prevent in the future.
We do not mean that you must become or consult a geologist or chemist ahead of your paving project, but to understand if the proposed sealer can penetrate or bond to the paved surfaces. Also to realise that whilst a typical relatively cheap gloss ‘wet-look’ paving sealer might seem an attractive idea, and look great immediately after application, how patchy and unattractive will it look after a few BBQ Parties, frequent pedestrian use, vehicular traffic, and regular cleaning.
After bad experiences with expensive paving and staining, many people now want to seal their newly installed paved surfaces from ‘Day-1’ and primarily this is to maintain the appearance and to protect against any future staining. We are increasingly being asked for help to seal and reduce staining / dirt pick-up on newly laid external porcelain tile paving – yes really. This happens once people find out that porcelain tile paving only continues to look great if you look after it, and that it very much does need regular cleaning, plus special protective sealers like the specially formulated NCC Porcelain Tile Protector can make this easier and less frequently required – In fact just like appropriate sealing can do with almost any other type of paving!
Sealing paved surfaces with a suitable paving sealing product greatly reduces the penetration and ingress of water into the surfaces, which in turn, greatly increases the resistance of these surfaces to frost damage and freeze-thaw attack, thereby preventing surface delamination and scaling in winter – particularly in areas where de-icing salts are used. De-icing salts greatly accelerate freeze-thaw cycles on the paved surfaces and therefore also very significantly increase damage to the paving and its joints.
Paving Sealing – An Emotive Subject...? - It is worth noting here that the use of any form of 'Sealers' on natural stone paving can be an emotive subject, and some people consider the sealing of natural stone is a distinct ‘No-No’ and something that must be avoided in all situations. This even includes some ‘knowledgeable’ people that are responsible for the conservation of historic and heritage areas in their day job, who can take this extreme view, which we understand in principle is to preserve historic stone monuments. However, we can also see the view of the other people that say: “Aggressive modern influences, which did not even exist when the structures and surfaces were built, will severely attack and soon completely destroy historic stone surfaces, even the whole structure e.g. through the frequent use of de-icing salts, mechanical street cleaning machines, and 40 ton articulated delivery trucks etc……? So, surely it is now a better option to make some mostly invisible efforts for the preservation of these historic areas and their natural stone surfaces”
The jury-is-out on whether this is a better approach than leaving these stone surface alone and unprotected as part of their so-called ‘Conservation’, whilst the stone surfaces, lime and/or cement joints and the whole stone structure deteriorates...? In many of these situations around the country the jury is still out...! Hopefully not for too long…..!
At NCC Streetscape we fully understand the thinking behind all the different views on stone protection and preservation, but unfortunately maybe, the evidence now is clearly that with some types of permeable natural stone and some types of exposure and spillages, it is only possible to maintain the natural beauty by adequately sealing the surfaces to protect them and the structure. Otherwise these stone surfaces will not only discolour, but they will quickly deteriorate, delaminate and/or erode as today’s environmental exposure conditions are much more severe than they were in the times when the proverbial ‘horse and cart’ dominated the stone cobbled streets , and when most historic stone paving and structures were originally completed – In fact it is amazing that so many still survive in these conditions!
A typical requirement to seal the coloured concrete block paving that is widely used all around the country, on both domestic driveways and on retail and commercial areas, especially for their parking areas. The primary requirements are usually to protect them against the risk of oil spills etc., which can otherwise be very difficult and expensive to remove, plus to prevent frost damage to the surfaces during winter and the use of de-icing salts to prevent accidents with traffic skidding for pedestrians to prevent slips and falls etc.
Another common request is to protect the attractive natural appearance of coloured sawn or riven sandstone, limestone, and other permeable stone surfaces, such as can be used for paving around domestic patios and BBQ areas, as well as around the increasingly popular al-fresco dining areas in commercial areas e.g. around hotels, pubs, and restaurants. The paving in these areas always seems to be a magnet that attracts splashes and spills of cooking oils, fats and most other food and drink substances, including the ubiquitous red wine of course! The attractive natural appearance of the stone can soon disappear under a multitude of stains, plus the slip resistance of the surfaces will also become an issue. We are also told that in retail and other commercial areas nowadays, the responsible EHO’s (Environmental Health Officers) are increasingly wanting all these surfaces to be sealed, to ensure they are easy to keep clean and maintain good public hygiene.
For the many different types of concrete block, natural stone and ceramic, including external porcelain tile paving, there are many different specific sealing requirements, and there are also now many different paving sealing materials and solutions that can be suggested.
However, for most natural stone sealing requirements, we primarily now suggest using modern impregnating surface sealers to protect the surface from staining and de-icing salt attack, but very importantly, without changing the natural surface texture and appearance. One particularly good example of this type of product is the unique GftK vdw 950 3-in-1 StoneProtect Paving Sealer. This is an impregnating stone sealing solution that is also ideal to provide stain resistance and make future cleaning more efficient and effective. Specialist paving contractors will also frequently use this advanced impregnation immediately after the stone is laid, before even grouting the joints, as this impregnation also makes the paving joint grouting process faster, and with no risk of staining, even on sensitive surfaces such as imported granite and sandstone.
In the following pages of this Paving Sealers FAQS section we give more details on the most efficient and cost effective and economic solutions for sealing most different types of paving, in different areas, and with different levels of exposure.
Firstly, and as outlined in more detail on the next page of this website, it is always important to be extremely clear in defining your specific paving project's sealing requirements. Once these are fully considered you can evaluate potential solutions using different material technologies available and their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Important Note: It is always essential to remember that any new or existing areas, of any type of paving and paved surfaces, must always be thoroughly cleaned before they can be successfully sealed with any type of paving sealer. Any cement staining or deposits, dirt or grime, algae or other green / plant growths, plus any other forms of surface contamination and staining must be removed before any type of paving surface sealer is applied. NCC Streetscape are also specialists and can assist you with this – You can see more information on Paving Cleaners here.
You can call 01257 266696 or email email@example.com or FREE expert advice and assistance on any aspect or type of paving cleaners for any type of paved surfaces – We are confident that we can help you to prevent or to resolve any paving cleaning problems or issues in the best way!