51 W. End Trail #552
Macungie, PA 18062
Hydro Scrub provides pressure washing services to Berks, Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties, including the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Whitehall, PA.
We are now closed for the season. Have a happy, healthy and safe Holiday season.
Q…What is paver restoration and how long does the process take?
A... Complete paver restoration is generally considered the process of cleaning pavers of dirt/grime and debris, including some of the sand between the pavers, releveling any areas which have settled, replacement of sand, and then sealing the pavers. Depending on the condition of your pavers, some tasks may be eliminated.
The timeframe for paver restoration will either be one day or two days depending on choices made by the customer. While we will discuss details below, but suffice it to say that if traditional sand and no sealer is requested, such can be accomplished in one day. If polymeric sand is requested, whether sealing is requested or not, the process will take two days. Of course, weather conditions dictate timeframes as well....pavers must be dry if they are being resanded with polymeric sand. Additionally, extensive repairs such as border restraints or leveling can take add additional time.
Q… When do pavers need resanding? What is the difference between polymeric sand vs. traditional sand? What does Hydro Scrub recommend?
A… During the cleaning of pavers via pressure washing, fine sand is removed from between the paver joints. This sand is used to stabilize the pavers and to prevent their movement. Resanding is the process of placing new, clean sand back in the joints to replace the displaced sand. One of two types of sand is used during resanding....one being correct and one being incorrect for a resanding project.
Traditional sand, commonly referred to as "general purpose", "torpedo sand" (comes in a long thin bag) or silica sand, is the correct sand for most resanding projects. There is nothing "special" about this sand. It is clean, washed, granular and usually comes in a cream, tan, beige or light brown color, although white colored sand can often be acquired as well. Make sure this sand is washed!
The other type of sand often used...and often used incorrectly we may add...for resanding projects, is called polymeric sand or "stabilizing sand". This sand is usually found in a gray (charcoal) or tan color. Polymeric sand has "special" polymers mixed with the sand which, when hydrated properly, cause the sand to bind together or harden and "lock" in place. Polymeric sands works wonderfully during the initial (new) install of pavers, but technically it is not designed to be used on projects where the pavers were not initially laid and installed with polymeric sand. The reason for this is that it is nearly impossible to remove the sand between the pavers during the washing process to a depth much more than 1/2 to 3/4 inches deep, and most pavers are 2-3/8 inches in depth. Therefore, when the polymeric sand is installed, it is not installed the full depth of the paver, which creates problems. Not a single polymeric sand manufacturer recommends using polymeric sand unless it is a new (full depth) install of pavers and there is a PROPER base drainage layer beneath the pavers. However, there are many contractors who use polymeric sand for resanding projects against these recommendations. Using polymeric sand in resanding projects where the initial paver install did not use polymeric sand may or may not cause problems.
What does Hydro Scrub recommend? For initial (new) paver install projects, use polymeric sand without question. For resanding projects where polymeric sand was used during the initial install, but the joints have become cracked and the polymeric sand can be removed during pressure washing, use polymeric sand during the resanding process. If traditional sand was used when the pavers where first installed, Hydro Scrub would clean the pavers, resand with traditional sand in "wet mode" (using water to place the sand in the joints) and then, if desired, "seal and lock" the pavers with a combination sealer/locking agent. The sealer/locking agent, when properly applied, will soak down between the paver joints and bind the sand granules together, as well as the pavers....exactly how polymeric sand works once hydrated. As a benefit to this process, the pavers are also "sealed" to minimize water damage and staining. The sealer/locking agent can also be applied to polymeric sand to act as an additional locking agent and to seal the pavers. If however, your paver structure is moving (settling, edge problems, etc.) there is no sand, locking agent, sealer which will last or not crack.
The main benefit to using polymeric sand or a sealing/locking agent is that paver joints are "hardened" and this prevents insects from coming up through the joints, as well as lawn or weeds from spouting up through the joints. The downside to using traditional sand is that is usually limited in color...only brown tones are available.
Q…What does sealing do for pavers?
A… Sealing is meant to protect pavers from the elements (i.e., rain, sun, etc.) and anything foreign that were to fall on them. It creates an invisible barrier on top of the pavers that repels water, oil, and anything else you might accidentally drop on your pavers, so long as you wash it clean as soon as you spot it. Sealing also preserves the pavers' natural beauty for years to come. Unfortunately, sealing does not prevent ants from coming up from your lawn or weeds from sprouting up....that is the job of polymeric sand or a sealing/locking agent described above.
Q… What kinds of sealers/finish can be applied to pavers?
A… Two choices exist for finishes when sealing pavers...a glossy/"wet look" or a "natural look". The "wet look" is just that...wet, glossy or shinny. When a "wet look" sealer is applied, it darkens the original colors. Sometimes you get the pavers to really shine, but it depends on the pavers' color. Darker colors tend to have a more noticeable shine then lighter ones. Some people consider the shine a "bonus" that comes with "wet look" sealing, but it is not the sealer's main purpose.
Other people like the "natural look" or as some call it "as close to invisible as one can get". You basically will not notice any sheen or shine to your pavers with a "natural look" sealer unless you look at the pavers at a very low angle and then they may show a hint of a shine. The "natural look" is not noticeable by most people...they would think nothing is present on the pavers.
Q… Are my pavers in need of sealing?
A… A simple test can help you tell if you need sealing or not, but it's not the only one. Turn "ON" your water hose, spray the pavers, and watch if the water beads up on the surface. If water is not beading, you might need a fresh coat of sealer.
Q…How often should pavers be sealed?
A… Depending on weather exposure (i.e., primarily sun) and traffic, a good sealing job, with a good product, should last between one and a half and three years. Walkways and patios on the north side of a property will last longer than driveways and high traffic areas located on the south side of a property.
Q… I had my pavers sealed before, but there's a white cloudy film on the surface, can it be fixed?
A…Your pavers are porous. When a sealer is applied to your pavers, the pavers absorb it. Two reasons cause that white cloudy film, otherwise known as "blushing", on your pavers. First, is moisture. If after pressure cleaning or after a rainstorm, the paver area is not given enough time to dry completely before sealing, the sealer traps moisture inside the paver itself.
When that moisture tries to escape it is blocked by the barrier set up by the sealer and causes that white look you notice. It is possible to improve the look of your pavers if this happens, but the results do vary. Time is on your side here...you have to let the sealer wear off before resealing the pavers.
The second reason pavers get that white look is saturation by too much sealer. Since the pavers are porous as previously explained, if too much sealer is applied, the paver becomes saturated with the product and becomes not only white, but also very slippery and dangerous. Improving the look of your pavers if this happens is very difficult and costly and is not guaranteed either.
If you have any specific concerns, please feel free to contact us to discuss your paver cleaning or paver restoration project.