Clay pavers have long been a popular choice for outdoor paving projects, and for good reason. They're durable, environmentally friendly, and available in a variety of colours and styles. However, one question that often arises is whether or not clay pavers should be sealed. In this blog, we'll explore the pros and cons of sealing clay pavers and help you decide if it's the right choice for your project.
Bexhill Clay Paving from Artisan Landscapes designed by Jamie Innes
To Seal Or Not To Seal? That Is The Question!
First, let's look at the benefits of sealing clay pavers. Sealing can help protect your pavers from weather damage and staining. Clay pavers are made from natural materials, which means they're porous and can absorb moisture and other substances. Clay pavers don’t fade in colour over time, so sealing them is unlikely to prolong their lifespan.
Sealing can also enhance the colour of your pavers, giving them a richer, more vibrant appearance. It is important to be aware that most colour-enhancing sealers will last up to around five years of being applied. We opt for Dry Treat Colour Enhancer.
Additionally, sealing can make your pavers easier to clean and maintain. The sealant creates a smooth surface that resists dirt, debris, and other contaminants. This means you'll spend less time and effort keeping your pavers looking their best.
Are there drawbacks to sealing clays?
However, there are also some downsides to sealing clay pavers. For one, it can be costly, especially if you hire a professional to do the job. You'll need to purchase the sealant itself, as well as any equipment or tools necessary for the job. If you're sealing a large area, costs can quickly add up.
Jet washing clay pavers at our Kent Showroom
Sealing can also alter the appearance of your pavers, and not always in a positive way. Some sealants may create a glossy or slippery surface that may not be desirable for certain applications, such as driveways or high-traffic areas.
How will sealing affect my bricks?
Another potential downside is that sealing can make your pavers less breathable, which can impact their overall health. Clay pavers are designed to absorb and release moisture naturally, which helps prevent damage caused by freezing and thawing. If you seal your pavers, you may be preventing them from breathing properly, which could lead to moisture being unable to escape properly.
Clay pavers that are sealed may also not be Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) compliant, as water needs to absorb through the sand in the joints. For more information on SuDS, read our blog which explains more.
Sealing clay pavers can help stabilise the jointing sand in your finished project
Let's cut to the chase...
So, should you seal your clay pavers? Ultimately, the decision comes down to your specific needs and preferences. If you're looking for added protection and easier maintenance, sealing may be the right choice for you. However, if you're concerned about altering the appearance of your pavers or restricting their breathability, you may want to skip the sealant.
If you do decide to seal your pavers, be sure to choose a high-quality sealant that's specifically designed for clay pavers. A product like Resiblock 22AF—designed specifically for sealing clay pavers and block paving—Is a good choice. It helps to stabilise the sand between the pavers, and will make cleaning a little easier. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and follow them to the letter to ensure the best results.
In conclusion, sealing clay pavers can be a great way to enhance their appearance, but it's not the right choice for most projects. Consider your budget, the specific needs of your pavers, and your aesthetic preferences before making a decision. With the right care and attention, your clay pavers can provide a beautiful and functional surface for years to come.