As will oil drips from a leaky car to your hand-laid paver driveway. Then there’s rain and snow. But you can ward off oil, the elements, and everything else – use a Patio Sealer!
Why Use Patio Sealers?
Most everyone is well familiar with wood sealers and many households use them to protect their garden furniture. Patio Sealers are probably less well-known products that tend to fly under the radar of many homeowners. They may be water-based or oil-based, and may or may not have solvents. Be careful of using a solvent-carrying patio cleaner close to grass because it will damage or kill grass. On the other hand, if you want to deter those pesky weeds from sprouting up through the joints then a solvent-based patio cleaner may be right for you.
Essentially, a Patio Sealers coats pavers, sandstone, brickwork, or other material with a clear, transparent film that is water-repellant to varying degrees, and also ‘seals’ the flooring against ingress and damage from dust, oil, rain, and such. These types of patio sealers form a film over the substrate while others impregnate it and become one, so to speak, with the substrate as they react with it. These sealers are technically called ‘impregnators,’ while the ones that form a film on top are called ‘glazes’ or ‘topical’ sealers.
Patio sealers are further subdivided by effect. Some are designed and meant to treat the flooring material with the minimum possible change in their appearance. These are known as ‘clear,’ ‘matte’ or ‘dry’ finish sealers. Other patio sealers are formulated so as to ‘lift’ or enhance and intensify the colours and their contrasts, and to make the material look as if it has just been rained on. These are technically called ‘enhancers’ or ‘intensifiers.’
The more coatings you apply of an enhancer, the shinier and deeper will be the finish, and the wetter the flooring will look. However, the final ‘look’ does not depend solely on the enhancer-sealer but – of course – also on the substrate material. For example, such products will work wonders on Indian Sandstone but will have negligible effect on concrete pavers.
How to Evaluate Patio Sealers
When choosing a patio sealer, it is not so much a question of trying to find the ‘best’ product but identifying the one that is best suited and the best match for both your flooring material and your objectives.
You need to look into a few specifications, as follows:–
- Whether or not the sealer carries solvent or is solvent-free.
- Whether the sealer is water-based or oil-based.
- What kind of finish the sealer has, ranging from dry-clear to enhancer or intensifier.
- Whether the sealer is topical and will create a film on the substrate, or whether it is an impregnator and will react with the substrate.
- How much coverage the sealer will afford, keeping mind the porosity or lack thereof of your flooring material.
- Very importantly, whether the sealer is designed or formulated for a particular type of material, and if so, what.
- Finally, price is a very big factor in patio sealers. Perfectly good clear sealers cost only a couple of quid per litre whereas specialised and high-end enhancers run upwards of £12 per litre – a multiple of six.
Underneath we assist you in choosing the right Patio Sealer so that you don’t leave your patio to the mercy of the elements and the vagaries of chance.
Last update on 2021-01-07 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
Here’s our five favourite products:
With a clear finish that is virtually traceless, Pro-Kleen PatioSeal protects against water, oil, and even lichen, and lasts for several years.
Especially formulated for Indian sandstone, patios, concrete, and stonework, Pro-Kleen PatioSeal Matt is designed to leave a ‘clear matt finish’ but it is even better than that: it leaves virtually no trace of being applied. The 10-litre canister should be good for up to 100 square metres.
This topical sealer becomes water-repellant in about four hours and 24 hours is all it takes to be fully cured.
You are advised not to use it on ‘lime-based materials or tarmac’ but it is quite excellent for all porous materials. It is an effective sealant against water and also oil, and helps in keeping surfaces clean. Moreover, it – very impressively – protects to a good degree even against scratches.
Pro-Kleen is also an effective guard against occurrence or recurrence of black spot and lichen.
It is an effective and long-lasting sealer. Though the manufacturer’s ten-year claim may be optimistic or exaggerated, this sealer certainly protects and lasts longer than the competition.
- The dryest and clearest of finishes, it leaves almost no trace on the substrate.
- Effective protectant against water and oil, and also black spot and lichen.
- One of the longest-lasting sealers.
- Not to be used on lime-based materials or tarmac.
EverBuild’s sealer has a middle-of-the-road finish that is water-repellant yet slip-free; though it doesn’t last very long it is super-economical.
EverBuild’s very popular sealer is sold in a 25-litre container at a bargain-basement per-litre price. It should cover 160 to 170 square metres.
It is an all-purpose sealer that is good for all kinds of tiles, textured paving slabs, concrete paving slabs, stone paving, and block paving.
This water-based and solvent-free glaze repels water to a ’T’ yet the surface is kept quite slip-free even when wet. Indeed, it makes the material almost waterproof. It also acts as a fungicide.
With this product, you need to be on your guard against pooling and puddling. Also, one coating will seldom be sufficient.
It does not leave a dry, clear finish nor does it enhance the colours. It is a happy compromise that subtly deepens or ‘lifts’ the colours and dries to a slight sheen.
EverBuild’s sealer’s coating has a relatively short life; annual applications are advisable, and biennial applications are necessary.
This overall very good all-purpose patio sealer is a terrific bargain buy and is a deserved Value Pick.
- Finish is at neither extreme – slightly enhances colours and leaves a slight sheen.
- Creates a water-repellant but slip-free surface.
- Remarkably inexpensive per-litre and a wonderful value for money.
- Not long-lasting; requires application every year or two.
- Any pooling or puddling may cause white patches.
Sika Patio Seal is a versatile sealer that is an effective protectant on many substrates but beware of any pooling, though its finish is ‘tuneable.’
Sika’s solvent-free Patio Seal is most suitable for concrete, stonework, block paving, and all kinds of porous tiles and pavers, giving particularly good results on block paving. The inexpensive 5-litre canister should cover about 40 square metres.
This glaze has a dry, clear finish and leaves a slight sheen that is visible and pleasing. The surface is made non-slip. A single coating will cause minimal change in the colours or overall appearance but a second coating will deepen the colours and add a touch of glossiness. As such, you need to know how it works and understand the properties of its finish to avoid using it to your disadvantage.
Sika Patio Seal has very good protective capabilities. It is water-repellant and also protects against oil and grease, and also UV light. It contains a fungicide and is mark-resistant.
Take particular care against pooling and puddling as this will result in white patches when dry.
Because Sika Patio Seal is sold in a very affordable 5-litre canister, it is a smart buy if you want to apply sealer to a single surface of limited size at minimal cost.
- Protects very well against water, oil, and lichen.
- Versatile sealer that is good for most surfaces and substrates.
- Relatively inexpensive product sold in a small, affordable canister.
- Any pooling or puddling will cause white patches.
- Can get caught off-side if you don’t understand how it can ‘finish’ – for you or against you.
Floorseal’s costly sealer is an impregnator designed for sandstones; it intensifies colours and veining with a ‘wet look’, and is water-repellant.
Floorseal’s Indian Sandstone Sealer and Colour Intensifier is a specialised type of sealer. It is a water-based formulation that is specially designed for Indian Sandstone, and also other sandstones of all kinds.
It is an impregnator that soaks into the stone. For this reason you can jetwash a patio finished with this sealer without fear of harming a coating.
As the name indicates, it intensifies the sandstone’s colours. On grey sandstone this product causes a slight ‘bump’ in the colouration and brings up any veining but it really comes into its own on coloured sandstone whose hues become more pronounced and contrasty.
It is also water-resistant to the extent that rain will bead up on its surface. It also protects against oils and grease, and makes the surface non-slip.
On a per-litre calculation, it is very expensive.
Floorseal’s Sealer is an excellent choice if you prefer a ‘wet look’ on your Indian Sandstone with a matte finish that enhances colours and ‘lifts’ them, and has a warming effect.
- Intensifies colours on all kinds of sandstone, ‘lifting’ the hues.
- Protects against water, oil, and grease.
- As an impregnator it cannot be damaged if the treated flooring is jetwashed.
- On a per-litre basis, one of the most expensive sealers.
- The enhanced, ‘wet’ look may not be to everyone’s taste.
An impregnator meant for sandstones, Stonecare4u’s sealer is costly but has good coverage and ‘boosts’ colours so well as to draw oohs and aahs.
Stonecare4u Essential Colour Boost Sandstone Sealer is a specialised type of sealer. It is a water-based formulation that is designed for all sandstones and is also suitable for limestone.
Stonecare4u’s specialised and complete ‘Essential’ line of Indian Sandstone sealers also includes ‘Satin’ and ‘Matt Dry’ finishes, besides the ‘Colour Boost.’ All of them are impregnators that penetrate into the stone and ‘mesh’ with it.
This ‘Colour Boost’ variant is an enhancer or intensifier that distinctly lifts the hues and also creates an impression of depth but does not leave that artificial glossy look. However, there is a distinct ‘boost’ in the colouration that is visually very appealing.
On a per-litre calculation it is very expensive. However, all other things being equal, this product has excellent coverage and it is one of the best in this respect.
If we were to pick a sealer expressly meant for sandstone, Stonecare4u Essential, even though expensive, would be a top pick.
- Delightful but natural enhancement of colours on sandstone with the impression of depth.
- Has surprisingly good coverage.
- On a per-litre basis, one of the most expensive sealers.
- The intensification of the colouration may not be to everyone’s taste.
How To Apply Patio Sealer
First off, do not apply patio sealer to newly-laid flooring material, especially pavers. Do so at least three months after the patio, walkway, or other flooring has been laid. Otherwise salts will get locked in and may well react with the sealant. This is one of the reasons for those ugly white patches that some unhappy homeowners complain about after using patio sealers.
If you are using a particular patio sealer for the first time on a given flooring, it is wise to test it on a small area in an unobtrusive place and leave it be for a few days to ensure that the final effect is in line with your expectations and objectives.
Thoroughly clean the flooring, preferably by jetwashing it, or by manually scrubbing it. Try to make it squeaky clean. Allow it to dry thoroughly.
Check the weather forecast to make sure it will not rain as flooring treated with patio sealer should not be allowed to get wet for at least 24 hours after treatment.
Shake the canister or bottle vigorously.
You can apply the sealer with a brush, a roller, or a garden sprayer. A sprayer will be quickest but a roller will give you the most control. If you use a sprayer do not hold it stationary or in one place but keep it on the move.
No matter which option you use, be very careful to lay the sealer in a thin, even coating, to not leave any untreated spots, and to avoid any ponding or puddling. A very good trick to do away with pooling and puddling is to keep a sponge paint roller at hand so that you can use it to soak up any excess that you see. Be especially watchful of ponding and puddling if your flooring is uneven.
Whether you apply one, two or three coatings depends on the flooring material, how the sealer is meant to be used, and on your needs. In general, one coating is sufficient for impermeable materials but three coatings are necessary for very porous ones. However, two coatings is usually the safest and best choice.
If you apply a second coating, it must usually be done in one to two hours after the first coating so that the two coatings can bond; on this point it would be wise to consult the instructions of the particular patio sealer you use.
Let the coated flooring be for 48 hours before you wash it, drive on it, or barbecue on it.