Should I seal my outside patio?
Stone patios can often be the most neglected stone floor in terms of sealing, but arguably the most important. With your patio experiencing heavy traffic flows, rainwater and lots of outside muck and dirt it is advisable to make it as strong as possible.
So, the question should I seal my patio? If you want to keep your patio looking the same way it did when it was first installed, then sealing your patio is an absolute must. A good quality sealer applied properly will extend the overall life of your patio stone paving and also, ensure that future cleans are as stress-free as possible.
What happens if I don’t seal my patio?
A common method of patio maintenance is to simply jet wash in the summer. Unfortunately, you are only tackling the problem at surface level, which means all the dirty rainwater and now jet wash water lurks in the structure of the stone. This will cause the stone to mould and then over time erode.
What are the benefits of sealing my patio?
Sealing will not only protect your patio from rainfall but also dirt, which will ensure your exterior looks cleaner for longer. Your patio will keep the water and dirt at a surface level allowing dirt to be simply wiped away, instead of penetrating the stone.
You need to seal your natural stone patio if you want to protect the porous stone from stains and spillages in the future. Popular natural stone paving like Indian sandstone is widely used for patios and will benefit from proper sealing.
What sealer should I be using?
For the best patio sealer, a water repellent penetrator is a perfect choice for a garden patio. A coater will discolour with light, can be easily worn away, will only protect the surface of the stone which will allow water the infiltrate from below and will potentially leave your patio with a glossy finish. An oil-repellent impregnator will provide a stronger internal seal than necessary, blocking the stones inability to breathe. Then when stagnant water inevitably penetrates the stone over time, it cannot escape with evaporation, which will cause internal mould and erosion.
A water repellent impregnator will bond tiny crystals to the pores. These crystals will prevent rainwater and dirt from penetrating the stone but because the stone retains the ability to breathe it can still evaporate any stagnant liquid. High-quality water repellent sealers can last up to 15 years and because the bond is strong it can stand up to the strength of a jet wash too.
Things to know about patio sealers
There are many different kinds of patio sealer on the market for you to choose from. Each of them is slightly different and it can be a minefield when it comes to choosing the best one for you.
Some patio sealers actually change the appearance or colour of the stone. In most cases, the sealer will make the patio appear darker or give it a ‘wet look’ so make sure to test on a small area first before applying to the patio as a whole.
If you’d prefer a sealer that doesn’t change the appearance of your patio, opt for an invisible sealant. These sealants will act as an invisible barrier between your natural stone block paving and the harsh British weather conditions we know and love.
Prior to sealing, it’s important you give your patio a good clean and allow to completely dry.
When Should I Seal my Patio?
Patios should be sealed around 1 year after their installation. The reason for waiting 1 year after the installation before applying sealant is to give enough time for any residual effloresce to evaporate and to allow the paving tiles to weather. If you are using a water-based sealant, then you will need to reapply the sealant every 4-5 years after the first time. If you are using a solvent-based, acrylic sealer, then you should reapply it every 3 years.
How to Seal a Patio
For advice about how to apply your sealer check out our How to guide.