What are the pros and cons of pressure cleaning and sealing your driveway, concrete surfaces and paving? Installing new concrete surfaces or paving is a big $$ investment and therefore you want to make sure the surface is looking great for years to come. Leading up to installation you have probably been told several times to “make sure you get them sealed”. But why?
Pressure cleaning and sealing your concrete or paving will definitely help protect these surfaces and keep them looking good for a lot longer than not having them sealed. The main benefits of pressure cleaning and sealing include:
1. Repelling Moisture. This reduces water damage and wear to your concrete and pavers. Sealants may assist in reducing or eliminating problems such as efflorescence where salts rise to the surface leaving somewhat ugly deposits on the surface.
2. Stain Protection. A quality sealer will provide good resistance protection against water and oil based contaminants including motor oil, BBQ fats and oil, food and beverage spills as well as organic staining caused by leaves, flowers and fruit. An unsealed porous surface will stain a lot quicker and it will be a lot more difficult to remove any staining compared to a sealed surface. In saying this though, it is important to note that the protection provided by sealants is “resistance” only which means you need to clean the contaminant off as soon as possible otherwise it may break through the sealer and stain the surface. Sealants are not “stain proof”.
Common outdoor surfaces that we pressure clean and seal include:
• Pavers / paving
• Exposed aggregate
• Liquid limestone
• Natural stone
• Freo Stone paving
We have covered the benefits of having your concrete and paving sealed, but what are the drawbacks? The two main drawbacks to having your concrete and paving sealed are 1) Regular Maintenance, and 2) Resealing.
1. Regular Maintenance. The biggest myth regarding having your concrete or paving sealed is “if you get them sealed they will never get dirty again”. This could not be more further from the truth. A sealed concrete or paving surface will still get dirty and algae and moss will still tend to grow in damp and poorly drained areas. To ensure the sealer works to its optimum ability it is recommended that the following maintenance schedule be followed:
- Sweep, blow or hose off the area regularly.
- Spot clean off any contaminants as soon as they occur. Contaminants left on a sealed surface will slowly break through the sealant and stain the surface! Use a neutral pH cleaning chemical. Do not use high alkaline, acidic or solvent based chemicals as these can breakdown or damage the sealer.
- Pressure cleaning the surface every 6 to 12 months.
2. Resealing. Unfortunately concrete and paving sealers do not last forever. On average a good quality sealer will last up to 5 years. Therefore to ensure that your sealer continues to perform it is recommended that you pressure clean and reseal / topcoat your concrete and paved areas every 3 to 4 years. This is an additional cost you need to consider when deciding whether to seal or not to seal.
Types of Sealant
There are two main types of sealants. 1) Coating type or film forming, and 2) Clear penetrating sealers.
- Coating Type or Film Forming Sealants protect your concrete and pavers by blocking the harmful effects of water and other staining contaminants via an acrylic surface coating. This sealant type creates a hard wearing barrier on the surface and provides a fresh-looking sheen to the surface, often accentuating its colours by creating a “wet look”. Coating type sealers are the easiest to keep clean.
- Clear penetrating Sealers protect your concrete and pavers by blocking the harmful effects of water and other staining contaminants via an invisible sub-surface barrier, similar to how Scotchguard works on your lounge suite. This sealant type provides your surface with a non-coating natural look and will not peel or flake.
Fact – Pressure cleaning and sealing your outdoor hard surfaces will definitely help protect and keep your concrete and paved areas looking great for years to come. BUT, it is just as important to realise that with a sealed surface comes responsibility… that there are ongoing maintenance and resealing requirements to consider to ensure that the sealant performs to its optimum ability year after year.
For more information on pressure cleaning and sealing your concrete and paving please call us on 0412 646 136