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Is driveway sealing the solution to stop weeds from growing across your driveway? Unfortunately, there’s just no guaranteed way of preventing this from happening.
Weeds are incredibly resilient and will grow anywhere there’s a crack and if it’s one thing most driveways and patios have in common (it’s cracks).
Block paving suffers the worst purely because of the amount of gaps between individual blocks and inevitable movement between blocks. Likewise, weeds and moss appear on decorative concrete surfaces due to control joints or expansion joint lines.
As a result of this, sealing a driveway or patio is highly recommended as it both maintains the overall appearance of your outdoor area and protects colour.
Keep in mind minor repairs may also be necessary if there are cracks or areas are sunken. Petrol, diesel and oil stain removers are also available, so use these beforehand if necessary. Due to a number of issues with water based sealers it may be best to stick to acrylic based sealers.
Acrylic sealers provide superior bonding and provide excellent protection against the ‘fading’ effects of Ultra Violet (UV) radiation from the sun.
There is a video explainer below, showing Ashphalt (in US) and Tarmac (in UK) sealing. It’s more common in the US for ‘rubberised’ sealers to be used.
In the UK acrylic is the sealer of choice.
Driveway Sealing – Before and After
As you can see from the reseal of the block paving driveway below the end results are outstanding!
It was necessary to clear some of the bigger areas of weed growth in the preparation stage but a really useful solution for this is essential driveway cleaner.
Would it surprise you to know that this whole area (around 60 SqM) took just one afternoon to complete?
This is a wonderful example showing just what a difference a good clean and reseal can do.
Just like a brand new installation (without the costs!)
So, there you have it, sealing a driveway is a very cost effective and satisfying task.
Driveway Sealing Pros and Cons
Lets take a look at some of the pros and cons of sealing a driveway.
- Vastly improves any tired, worn or just plain shabby looking driveway or patio area.
- In comparison to a new driveway installation (which will cost £/$1000s and £/$1000s), the costs are far far lower.
- Easy as a DIY job.
- Helps deter the build-up of ingrained dirt and grime.
- Can offer protection for up to 5 years.
- Offers protection against oil stains by preventing absorption into the driveway area.
- Creates stronger bonds between blocks and binds them together more strongly. This also prevents sand (from between joints) getting blown away and/or washed away in wet and windy weather.
- Provides the appearance of a wet surface area – and both imprinted concrete and blocks look considerably more attractive this way.
- Acts as a barrier which helps to prevent the growth and spread of lichen and fungus-based problems.
- The cost can be off putting, but then again all costs are (especially maintenance costs).
- Expect coverage of around 25m² from a 5 litre tub of sealer, but this isn’t ‘set in stone’ (pardon the pun) and depends on the condition of the existing paved surface. This means order more rather than less, as it’s better to have a little more, than a little less!
- If you don’t intend to complete a DIY seal then paying somebody else will push costs up. But you do get the benefit of watching somebody else doing the hard work!
- Sealing when a paved surface is completely bone dry can be difficult. If you live in a region with lots of rain or damp conditions, using a heater to ensure the surface is bone dry is advisable. Obviously, summer time is the peak time for sealing. With block paved areas joints take longer to dry out (72 hrs is the minimum recommended drying time).
- If the sealer gets wet before it’s fully dried, moisture may cause ‘white blooms’ to appear on the surface.
- As a seal creates a barrier, existing water drainage may be impacted (as water would previously drain through gaps).
- Wearing a facemask is mandatory (not face masks again) as sealing is a stinky job.
With the truthful and balanced pros and cons out of the way, let’s take a look at some more examples.
Driveway Sealing Block Paving
It’s recommended to use a sealer that adheres to the BS5750/ISO 9001 quality standard, if you’re in the UK. If you’re in the US look up equivalent standards.
Block paved driveways and patios don’t just benefit from the amazing visual transformation of a seal.
As mentioned above another major benefit is that sealing effectively hardens the sand in between blocks.
This stops the dreaded weeds from taking over or even poking their ‘heads’ through in the first place.
Another benefit (especially for blocks laid in the last 10 years) is that by sealing you minimize the deterioration caused by UltraViolet (UV) penetration.
Whilst most of us love the sun, block paving tends to fade when exposed for many years.
By sealing a block paved area you get things looking like new again, and to boot, you strengthen the bonds between blocks, stop organic matter (weed) growth taking hold and protect the surface from the sun.
Can YOU think of any reason not to seal?
Likewise, all of the above applies whether it’s a courtyard or garage forecourt and the surface is block paving.
Seal Your Block Paving Area Today!
Driveway Sealing – Tarmac/Asphalt
As the years go by resins within the surface of a tarmac laid driveway deteriorate.
They simply dry out and with constant exposure to UV light can take on the appearance of a faded grey!
Tarmac restorer (not paint) helps to prevent colour loss and improve durability.
But not all tarmac restorers are equal.
This Black Tarmac Sealer is far superior to any tarmac paint.
It both restores colour to the surface as well as improves surface durability.
By using this highly effective tarmac restorer you’ll save considerable time time and money and furthermore you’ll avoid the need to dig up and relay your driveway.
Can YOU think of any reason not to seal?
Seal Your Tarmac Paving Area Today!
Driveway Sealing – Imprinted Concrete
Decorative concrete has proven itself over the last 30 years or so as an excellent paving choice, whether that’s for driveways or patios.
As it’s laid as one slab it doesn’t suffer from the same sort of organic growth problems that other surfaces such as blocks do.
As such sealing is purely to maintain the surface and stop fading of colour.
For imprinted concrete driveways it’s always best to use Acrylic sealers.
It’s best to ‘reseal’ every 2-3 years or so and is an easy DIY job requiring only (you say only!) good weather and a soft headed broom.
As with most things not all sealers are equal.
Cheaper sealers are available on Ebay but if you want to avoid peeling we suggest using the Smartseal sealer.
We recommend it because it’s what professional installers use and Smartseal have a well deserved reputation for quality sealers.
Seal Your Pattern Imprinted Concrete Area Today!
Sandstone Sealing – Patios and Pathways
Increasingly various sandstones are being used to lay beautiful patio areas to enjoy ‘Al Fresco’ dining or simply the delights of long summer evenings.
Just like other paving surfaces sandstones (generally Indian sandstones) are prone to the elements and degradation of colours.
Sandstone is a very porous substrate and can quickly get covered in various types of algae attracted by the moisture in the stone.
Fortunately, specific formulated sealers are available to deal with this.
Sandstone paving sealer will make the surface of the stone water resistant which in turn will slow down the growth and spread of algae.
Sealants are available in Colour Boost, Matt and Satin Finish
Other Driveway Sealing Issues to Keep in Mind:
As with all maintenance jobs, whether that’s in your home or outside, preparation is key to success.
The effort and time spent preparing will really enhance any driveway sealing and ensure you get an outstanding result.
This basically means a very very thorough clean to remove any exsting moss/weed growth and dirt.
- Strimmer (to take care of edges)
- Leaf blower
- Pressure washer (review for 2021 here)
- Crack fillers
- Stiff broom
If your driveway is sloping, you will find that the water will travel down the sub base to the lowest point.
It’s a little thing called gravity!
As such, the top of your driveway may be much drier, yet the lowest part of your driveway may still have damp patches.
As a result of this, driveways ‘on a slope’ usually benefit from a longer dry time, which can be up to a week (preferably more).
An acrylic sealer won’t react too well with damp sand, which is why the sanding and sealing of a driveway or patio area should be completed at the same time.
This way you can see if the fresh dry sand draws up any moisture from the joints between the blocks.
If this does occur it’s easy to remove some sand from the joints and then proceed with sealing.