Most outdoor spaces in Central Florida integrate concrete paver driveways, walkways, porches, and pool decks to increase the value and appeal of a property. These specific pavers are very porous and are made from a mixture of concrete and color additives. Different color pigments are used in a variety of mixtures to give customers the look they desire for their home. Because of their durability, availability, and low maintenance care, concrete pavers are the most common surfaces we see here in Florida.
It is important to note that we HIGHLY recommend holding off on sealing newly installed pavers for at least 60-90 days. New pavers ultimately need time to “breathe” and be exposed to the outdoor elements. Skipping this step will cover a paver surface in a white hazy material known as efflorescence. Efflorescence appears when salts from new pavers rise up to the surface. While it’s not uncommon, it is important to let rain and moisture bring out these salts before a surface is sealed.
Unfortunately, once pavers are installed they are left susceptible to Florida’s harsh climate. Overtime, the UV rays from the sun will fade out the color pigment within the pavers. Acid and the constant beating down from rain, will also begin to expose the rocky concrete elements inside the paver. We see this most often in areas where gutters were not installed properly, or at all. Salt from pools, can also aid in the degrading of paver pool decks if left untreated. By choosing to seal these surfaces sooner rather than later, the lifespan and visual beauty can be extended for a lifetime.
Travertine pavers are also among the most common surface media chosen for designing outdoor living spaces and driveways here in Florida. Unlike concrete pavers, travertine is much more dense. The tiles are completely natural and do not contain any color additives. For this reason, customers who have chosen to go with this type of surface, will not have to worry about their natural tile losing its color over time.
Just like concrete pavers, we HIGHLY recommend holding off on sealing newly installed travertine surfaces for 60-90 days. If not given this time to adapt to environmental elements, a hazy material known as efflorescence will get trapped underneath the sealer. Efflorescence appears when salts from new pavers rise up to the surface. While it’s not uncommon, it is important to let rain and moisture bring out these salts before a surface is sealed.
It is not uncommon for travertine pavers to begin to deteriorate over time if not properly maintained. Unfortunately these types of tiles contain pores, that when exposed to the hot and wet weather in Florida, will turn into perfect crevices for mold and algae to grow. When left unsealed, this mold and algae will also begin to spread and take over the joints in between each of the tiles. The sealer we use for travertine pavers penetrates deep into these troublesome pores, creating a barrier that makes it difficult for mold and algae to grow. When you choose to seal your travertine surface, you are not only protecting it from natural elements, but also enhancing the natural color of these beautiful tiles.
Paver and Travertine Sealing – Our Process
Our process for cleaning and sealing concrete and travertine pavers are very similar. It is important to ensure the surface is completely clean to avoid trapping in unwanted stains, algae, or dirt below the applied sealer. For paver and travertine sealing jobs, the following steps are followed to achieve the overall enhanced look of a surface:
- Specialized high-pressure cleaning of all pavers. Pavers may be treated with a mild chemical to remove any hazing or scuff marks created during the installation process. Rust remover and an algaecide will also be used as necessary on any stubborn rust or algae stains.
- Every joint in-between pavers will be blasted clear to the base of the paver, leaving no sand or dirt behind. This will allow us to liberally brush sand into every joint, compacting it down to the base of the pavers, ensuring weeds and algae are not given any space to grow in the future.
- Once the surface is thoroughly cleaned and sanded, sealing can commence.
- A very high quality modified poly-urethane sealer will be applied liberally with a sprayer. It is a waterbourne sealer that is not “solvent” or “oil” based. It is also a color enhancing sealer, giving the surface a permanent “Wet Look” (Natural look, or “Dry Look” sealer, WITHOUT the color enhancement, is also available upon request). The sealers we use will never make your surface slippery.
- The 1st coat of sealer for your surface is a flood coat. This allows us to soak the pavers AND the sand in our sealer, essentially locking in the sand for years to come.
- The 2nd coat of sealer is what we call the top coat. This final coat of sealer is applied to even out the look of the sealer, as well as to ensure no porous pavers go without enough sealer.
- A 3rd coat may be necessary if the surface has been unsealed for 10+ years, or if the customer is looking to achieve an Ultra-Gloss/very shiny finish. This will be determined by our technicians on site, as well as customer input.
Natural and Concrete Stone
A growing number of homes today are using stone masonry in the renovation of outdoor hardscapes. These stones can most commonly be found on outdoor patios, outdoor kitchens, firepits, pool decks, and even vertical walls and pillars. Here in Florida we most commonly see flagstone, travertine, slate, and concrete stone. Unlike the other natural stones, concrete stone is produced in factories from a mixture of concrete and color additives that give the stone a more “natural” appearance. To preserve the beauty and overall curb appeal, stone should be periodically maintained.
Just like any outdoor surface, stone will be exposed to the sun and rain for extended periods of time. If left unsealed, the integrity of the stone will deteriorate. Overtime, Florida’s environment will fade out the color in the stone, stripping it of its natural beauty. Furthermore, rain can aide in the buildup of mold and algae, while also leaving behind tough to remove calcium deposits. Sealing these stones will not only protect your surface, but your investment as well.
Natural and Concrete Stone Sealing
Our process for restoring natural and concrete stone begins with thoroughly cleaning the surface with our pressure wand. Oftentimes builders are sloppy with their stone installations, and leave behind traces of concrete slurry/mortar. The high pressure water we use will remove all dirt, debris, and algae from the surface of the stone. For tough to clean areas, we always have on hand additional chemicals, should they be needed. Once cleaned, the surface is ready for sealer application. Our sealer will be carefully sprayed on the stone surface, making sure to avoid overspray to windows, doors, and other personal property.
Concrete and Stamped Concrete
Chances are, somewhere on your property you have some sort of concrete surface. These can be commonly found on sidewalks, driveways, pool decks, or patios. Concrete itself is a very porous material. If left unmaintained, concrete becomes susceptible to accumulations of dirt, rust, and algae, giving the surface a grungy appearance. Concrete also has the unfortunate ability to pull stains deep into its pores. The same is true for concrete surfaces that have been stamped to add a more decorative look to a home. Most neighborhoods with an HOA require routine cleanings to prevent dirt and grime from taking over a homes curb appeal. Here at Sealing Specialists we are dedicated to keeping your concrete surfaces looking their best. From simple pressure washing, to a complete concrete surface sealing, we have years of experience with restoring the appearance of all types of concrete.
Concrete Staining and Sealing
Our process for restoring concrete and stamped concrete surfaces is very detailed and can vary from each customers needs and wants. The surface will first be thoroughly cleaned with a surface cleaner. This piece of equipment uses high pressure water to remove any dirt and algae that may lie on the surface of the concrete. Any tough spots that still remain, will be carefully blasted away with our pressure wand.
For homes where rust on the surface is a huge problem, we will use a rust removing chemical to eliminate those unwanted spots. We also have the ability to remove tough algae spots with a mixture of chlorine and water, making sure to be very careful not to damage or kill grass that lies in the immediate area. After a quick rinse off, the surface will be ready for staining or sealing.
Here at Sealing Specialists, we offer a variety of color options for our customers to choose from who wish to have their concrete stained. Once the surface has been thoroughly cleaned, we are able to apply the stain with a sprayer. Because concrete is so porous, the stain quickly penetrates deep into the material, leaving the surface with an enhanced color. This process requires a lot of detail to ensure that the color is evenly distributed throughout the whole surface. To avoid possible fading from sun exposure, we highly recommend that customers who choose to have their surface stained, have it sealed as well.
Unlike concrete pavers or travertine, concrete does not have joints that need filling with sand to block out weeds and unwanted insects. Just like staining, our sealer will be applied to the cleaned concrete surface with a sprayer. The sealer will penetrate deep into the surface creating a barrier to protect the concrete from Florida’s harsh climate. The sealer will also aide in repelling future stains.
Incorporating tile to outdoor hardscapes will no doubt increase the curb appeal of a property. Here at Sealing Specialists, we specialize in restoring tiles back to their natural beauty. In Florida, we typically see tiles ranging anywhere from limestone, slate, porcelain, and mexican (saltillo tiles). While each may have their own distinctive look, they almost always encounter the same problems if not properly maintained. Believe it or not, most tiles are very porous and can absorb stains if quick action is not taken to clean up a spill. Just like pavers, tiles will begin to fade after being exposed to sun for extended periods of time. The wet and humid weather will also serve as a perfect breeding ground for algae growth on the tile surface and grout. For these reasons, we highly recommend looking into prolonging the life of your tiles through our sealing process.
Outdoor Tile Sealing – Our Process
Our process for sealing outdoor tile begins by applying a tile cleaning solution. This chemical will soak deep into the pores of the surface, pulling up any unwanted dirt, algae, or stains. Once we feel the chemical has done its work, we begin rinsing off the surface with our pressure washer. Unlike travertine and paver surfaces, most tile surfaces contain a concrete grout. For this reason, it is not necessary to brush in sand to fill the joints in between the tiles.
After cleaning is complete, sealing can commence. Tile sealer can only be applied to a completely dry surface. Because of this, it is not uncommon that our technicians will have to come back the following day to finish sealing. Once we are confident the surface is bone dry, tile sealer will be carefully sprayed onto the surface, and lightly rolled to guarantee an all around even application.
Do you have a wooden dock, walkway, or deck that needs some desperate TLC? We have seen over the years that wooden docks and decks are the most commonly unmaintained surfaces on a customers property. Here at Sealing Specialists, we have years of experience with restoring wooden surfaces. When installed, most people are unaware of the routine maintenance that wood requires. When left exposed to Florida’s harsh climate, wood surfaces lose their natural beauty and begin to rot away. To combat this problem we have a few options to choose from when it comes to bringing your wood dock or deck back to life. Whether it’s sealing or applying a stain, we want to help you out!
Wood Staining and Sealing – Our Process
Our process for restoring a wooden surface begins by first applying a wood cleaning chemical agent. We use brushes to ensure the cleaner is able to reach deep down into the wood. This will help bring out any algae, discoloration, or dirt that might be trapped just below the surface. Once the cleaner has had ample time to work, the cleaning process can begin. Unlike paver and concrete surfaces, wood is a lot more delicate. Special attention and technique must be carried out in order to achieve the lasting look customers are going for.
For cleaning, low-pressure is used as opposed to the high-pressure we typically use on other surfaces. By using this lower pressure, we are able to remove the chemical cleaning agent without damaging the wood surface. It is important that we always clean WITH the wood grain, making sure to complete whole rows at a time. Stopping periodically will leave permanent lines in the wood. This is the number one mistake we see when customers try and clean their surface on their own. Once the chemical has been completely washed off, and the wood is clean of any algae or debris, staining or sealing can commence.