The best paver sealers help lock stones in place, limit erosion inside joints, repel stains, and keep the pavers looking their best. Sealers cure to a variety of finishes, including wet or high-gloss, matte, or satin. By penetrating deep and filling pores, holes, and crevices, paver sealers protect the substrate material while preventing dirt, insects, or other debris from settling into the stone or brick.
This guide shares what you need to know about the different types of paver sealers, so you can select one of the best paver sealer options for your specific needs.
- BEST OVERALL: Foundation Armor Concrete Sealer and Paver Sealer
- BEST WATER BASED: StoneTech BulletProof Sealer
- BEST ACRYLIC: Miracle Sealants Impregnator Penetrating Sealers
- BEST FOR TRAVERTINE: Miracle Sealants 511 Porous Plus Penetrating Sealer
- BEST FOR BRICK: Rain Guard Penetrating Water Repellent Sealer
- BEST FOR WET LOOK: Black Diamond Stoneworks Wet Look Stone Sealer
Types of Best Paver Sealers
Paver sealers help keep paver stones looking new. They also offer additional benefits, including inhibiting moss, weeds, and grass from growing inside the joints; loss of sand from the joints; and blocking stains, such as grease, oil, or gasoline. The best paver sealers also help protect against costly and unattractive damage and deterioration.
While paver sealers are made in a variety of styles and options, the two primary types are non-film-forming paver sealers and film-forming sealers. The type of paver sealer chosen depends on the reason for sealing.
- Non-film-forming paver sealers offer substantial protection, often lasting longer than their film-forming counterparts. They cure to a matte finish.
- Film-forming paver sealers provide more comprehensive protection by creating a physical barrier on top of the paver. Film-forming sealers, which come in satin, gloss, and semi-gloss finishes, require more frequent reapplications.
Both water- and solvent-based paver sealers protect against outdoor surface wear. Typically ultraviolet- and stain-resistant, they are reasonably easy to apply. All sealers contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can photo-react when exposed to sunlight, creating low-level ozone that’s a primary ingredient in smog.
Solvent-based sealers, which are generally made from an acrylic/polymer blend, will provide a thickness and coating level that varies depending on the sealer’s percentage of solids. Solvent-based sealers usually offer a thicker, higher gloss appearance than water-based sealers.
Solvent-based sealers contain a high amount of VOCs, dry to a wet finish, and have a strong odor. Cleanup is more complex. If sealer remains after the job, users must spray it back into the original canister and reseal the pour spout. Add xylene to the excess sealer because it can dissolve compounds that water cannot. Dispose of rags and extra solvent in accordance with local or municipal waste management regulations.
Like solvent-based, water-based sealers also are made of acrylic/polymers, but they have one key difference: The polymers are dispersed within water molecules.
When water-based sealer is applied to the pavers, the water molecules begin to evaporate, causing the polymer particles to move closer together. As the water continues to evaporate, the polymer particles eventually fuse, creating a surface barrier that protects the paver stones.
Water-based sealers can appear milky or white during application because of the way polymer particles scatter visible light. They dry to a clear finish.
Unlike solvent-based paver sealers, water-based sealers contain low VOCs, dry to a matte finish, are non-flammable, emit only a mild odor, and are easy to clean up.
“Breathability” refers to the sealer’s ability to allow moisture vapors to move through the stonework after sealing. If a sealer is breathable, moisture is less likely to get trapped below the surface.
Acrylic paver sealers, either solvent- or water-based, offer the most comprehensive ultraviolet (UV) resistance.
Acrylic sealants can be breathable, depending on their solid content. Sealers with solids of 15 percent or lower are more breathable than sealers with 20 percent solids, while over 30 percent or more solid content means the sealant is not considered breathable.
Matte-finish sealers are considered breathable because they don’t form a film. Acrylic sealers form a film that dries to a wet or high-gloss finish.
“Wet look” refers to a finish that makes paver stones look darker, as if it had recently rained. Achieve this kind of look by using a paver sealer with a higher acrylic or polyurethane concentration. The greater the concentration, the wetter the finish. Paver sealers that contain 25 percent acrylic or polyurethane content provide a semi-gloss finish, while a sealer that’s 30 percent solid or higher produces a high-gloss wet look.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Paver Sealers
To find the best paver sealer for your project, consider its finish, slip or non-slip; the cost of sealing; drying time; and durability and endurance.
Finish refers to the final appearance after the paver sealer has been applied and cured.
Finishes can be broken into several categories, including matte finish or natural-look penetrating sealers, low- or high-gloss wet-look sealers, and satin-finish sealers.
For a more natural finish, a penetrating paver sealer probably works best. Penetrating sealants go deep into the stonework or masonry, chemically reacting beneath the surface to protect the paver stones. Penetrating sealers offer a natural look because they don’t form a film and typically don’t alter the pavers’ appearance.
Depending on the sealer, pavers may have a slippery surface, especially when wet. This can occur after the application of high-gloss or wet-look paver sealant.
When choosing a sealant, consider its slip. Non-slip, breathable paver sealers are a common choice for areas near pools or other high-traffic areas. Low-traffic areas that offer visual appeal, such as a retaining wall, may benefit from a high-gloss sealant.
Some paver sealers, upon the application of a high-gloss or wet-look sealer, have a “slippery-when-wet” look when dry. To use a wet-look sealer in a high-foot-traffic area, increase traction by adding a non-slip additive before applying the paver sealer. Non-slip additives, which work only with film-forming sealers, are most effective when used on a second coat.
To calculate the cost of sealing paver stones, start by determining the overall square footage of the area. Next, consider the location of the paver stones as well as ease of access.
Other cost-impacting factors include the type of paver. Some paver materials benefit from specific sealant types. Moreover, the pavers’ absorbency level affects the amount of sealer needed. If your paver stones are highly porous, expect to use more sealer than on less absorbent pavers in a similar-size area.
The best paver sealers last between three and five years. However, some factors, such as maintenance, traffic, and weather, can impact the sealant’s longevity. These can shorten the pavers’ overall life span.
Use a film-forming sealer to conceal signs of wear on paver stones. A non-film forming sealant cannot hide the telltale signs of aging as well.
Changes in stone color caused by rain can indicate thinning in the paver sealant. However, in heavy or extreme rain conditions, even the most recently applied sealant can darken for a day or so until the water evaporates from the surface.
While climate can affect drying time, most paver sealers dry in 24 hours; some can dry in six hours. The sealant dries when enough solvent has evaporated from the sealer that the stones are no longer tacky.
Curing, on the other hand, occurs when the solvents have not only discharged from the sealer, but also have fused with the oxygen in the air. Fully cured paver sealers have hardened into their final stage and are resistant to damage. While most sealers dry within 24 hours, curing can take anywhere from seven to 30 days.
Penetrating sealers go deep into concrete or masonry and fill any holes or other spaces. They protect the substrate material while preventing dirt, debris, or insects from causing damage.
The stabilizing layer beneath the paver stones, which typically consists of large amounts of crushed gravel that varies from ¾ inch down to dust, is called the substrate. On walkways, the substrate is generally between 4 to 6 inches beneath the pavers. Driveways typically require 8 to 12 inches.
Our Top Picks
Choosing a paver sealer doesn’t have to be complicated. Here, this guide rounds some of the best paver sealers to help consumers select the top coat suited for their project.
Foundation Armor’s solvent-based acrylic sealer works well on smooth, non-porous surfaces without adding an unpleasant yellow tinge to the finish. It dries to a glossy wet look if applied on smooth pavers or to a light sheen on textured surfaces. Expect this sealer to darken the pavers by a shade, providing a rich hue to the color. For best results, use two coats of sealant, waiting 24 hours between applications.
One gallon of the Foundation Armor product can seal up to 200 square feet, but coverage can vary depending on the pavers’ absorbency level. Life span is between one and three years for exterior surfaces or, for interior use, between three and seven years.
This penetrating sealant from StoneTech prevents damage associated with salt and de-icing chemicals in addition to thawing and refreezing stressors on stone, tile, slate, and honed granite. It prevents both mold and algae growth, making it a good choice for cold, wet climates. It’s good for both indoor and outdoor use, and it dries to a matte, clear non-slip finish. It doesn’t form a film and repels water effectively.
For non-porous surfaces, a single coat is sufficient. For pavers with increased absorbency, plan on two coats. Wait until the first coat is completely dry before beginning a second coat. The average drying time is about 24 hours. It can cover up to 100 square feet per gallon.
In part because it’s resistant to UV rays, this sealer can be used indoors or outdoors on sanded grout, ceramic, porcelain, glazed tile, stucco, travertine, slate, marble, granite, and terrazzo. It won’t change the color of paving stones, and it protects against slippage and water stains.
Because it’s acrylic-based, it emits no strong odors. It’s non-slip even when wet, and one quart can cover up to 1,000 square feet.
Working equally well on a variety of surfaces, this penetrating sealer protects against water, stains, and slippage. It’s UV stable and won’t turn yellow when exposed to sunlight. Appropriate for use in food preparation areas, it takes 24 hours to dry. Depending on paver porosity, coverage ranges from 500 to 4,000 square feet per gallon.
From Rain Guard Water Sealers, this all-purpose formula works on porous masonry, concrete, and brick, while protecting grout and wood. It works well both indoors and outdoors, and it can handle high-moisture environments. It’s easy to apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer. The surface area must be clean and free from debris before application.
The sealer is water-based, low odor, and a safe, environmentally-friendly choice, especially if curious children are present. The product dries to a matte finish and depending on paver material, it can cover up to 1,500 square feet per 5-gallon pail.
From Black Diamond Stoneworks, this versatile sealer gives a glossy “wet look” to stone surfaces. It’s suitable for both outdoor and indoor areas, and it provides excellent wear-and-tear resistance. It protects against damage from chemicals, water, and harmful UV rays. Users can apply a second coat before the first one is completely dry. This sealer cures within 24 hours, regardless of the number of coats, and it can handle light foot traffic after about 8 hours. One gallon provides coverage of up to 600 square feet.
Tips for Using the Best Paver Sealer
Getting the best results with your paver sealer depends on how the sealer is applied.
- Once work begins, don’t stop. Letting an area dry before the entire area is completely sealed can affect the appearance of the finished pavers and cause the surface to look splotchy or uneven.
- An application sprayer can help speed the application of sealer, ensuring no area remains untouched. It also makes the application considerably easier with less cleanup.
- When applying the paver sealer, keep applying until you reach the saturation point. Ensure that the pavers are wet and that the crevices and spaces are filled. Follow up by using a dry roller to soak up excess sealant and eliminate drip marks.
- Read the manufacturer’s instructions. While most sealants work in a similar manner, read the instructions to discover any quirks or other specifics with that particular brand.
The Advantages of Owning the Best Paver Sealer
Sealing paver stones helps protect your investment against damage and decay to prolong the life of the deck, driveway, poolside, and other stonework areas. Other advantages of owning one of the best paver sealers include:
- Enhanced aesthetic. The best sealer can ramp up a home’s curb appeal, adding a high gloss or matte finish to paved areas that protects against harmful UV rays and prevents fading.
- Protect against weathering. All paver stones are vulnerable to the elements and will become dull or damaged over time. Paver sealers can help protect paver stones from stains, fading, or high-traffic wear and tear.
- Extended life span. Paver sealers can extend the life span of your paver stones, making them stronger to last longer, eliminating the need to replace stones on an ongoing basis.
FAQs About the Best Paver Sealers
Paver sealers are one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect and enhance a home’s hardscape for years to come. Keep reading to find answers to some of the most common questions about paver sealers.
How does a paver sealer work to protect my hardscape?
Paver sealer is a liquid solution to apply to pavers that blocks moisture and harmful UV rays from penetrating the stone.
How much paver sealer do I need for my project?
General estimates recommend allowing a gallon of sealer to cover 80 square feet.
When should I apply paver sealer?
The best time to apply paver sealer is on a clear, sunny, dry day, with an ideal temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, but temperatures in the 50-to-90-degree range generally provide good results.
How do I apply a paver sealer?
Use a spray applicator, roller, or brush to apply paver sealer.
How long does a paver sealer last?
Unopened paver sealers typically last between three and five years.