Does Paver Sealing Prevent Weeds?
by Daniel Bianco & Criss Bageard
Over the years one of the top questions we are asked here at Paver Seal Tampa is, “Will sealing my pavers prevent weeds?”
The honest answer is, it depends! A through cleaning, sanding and sealing goes a long way towards prohibiting weed growth. It’s definitely going to make it difficult for weeds to get out of control and take over your paver system. The Sealing process is designed to remove existing weeds and lock in the joint sand. This process establishes a great base for weed control and prevention. When it comes to total prevention, a little routine maintenance may be required. Here are just a few reasons sealing alone can’t completely prevent weed growth from returning.
- Healthy, existing root systems underneath pavers.
- Potted plants on surface or adjacent garden beds.
- Wind blowing seeds onto surfaces. (Even through screen enclosures.)
- Water run off.
- Foot Traffic can easily introduce spores & seeds to paver areas.
- Adjacent Grass Beds can easily grow “runners” into the joint lines
- Any organic matter that accumulates over time and left sitting on the surfaces may contain seeds.
Why Did I think Sealing Pavers Prevents Weeds?
Many contractors tell customers that sealing “Prevents Weeds.” The fact is, cleaning and sealing does not prevent weeds in they way it is most often implied, as a be all, end all, permanent solution to weeds.
The reality is paver cleaning and sealing is a great way to “Prohibit” and reduce weed growth. It is also the best way to get a “clean slate” and start fresh with clean surfaces and joint sand. The sealing process is designed to harden and stabilize the sand, which in turn helps to prevent weeds from infiltrating easily. The paver sealing process works great to reduce and prohibit weed growth. Unfortunately many people have misrepresented Paver Sealing and the degree to which it can completely solve the problem of weeds.
We see outstanding results everyday with little to no weed growth as far out as a year or more from the initial service.
Keep in mind that total prevention of weeds, long term, may only be possible with a few simple maintenance tasks that we share below!
How long does Sealing Prohibit Weed Growth?
Another frequently asked question we hear everyday is “How long does paver sealing prevent weeds from returning?” While paver Cleaning and sealing is a great way to remove almost all of the existing weeds and organic matter, it may not be the total solution for permanent weed prevention. The length of time that it takes for weed growth to appear will vary depending on a few factors. So with that in mind, here are some of those factors.
What are the variables that affect how long sealing prevents weeds from returning
- Newly Installed Hardscapes. Sealing newly installed paver systems is a great way to prohibit weeds before they ever start. They have the longest prohibitive time frame in general before weed growth returns. Aside from weeds, New Pavers have specials considerations and should only be handled be a sealing specialist.
- Over Grown or Heavily Soiled Surfaces. Without a doubt you can expect that there’s a thriving root system underneath your pavers if they have been taken over by mother nature. If this is the case it may be a great idea to pre-treat the weeds with one of the solutions listed below prior to your paver sealing professional actual doing the project. Remember if weeds do return, your favorite herbicides or natural remedies will not damage the pavers or the sealer. Taking care of any weeds immediately will ultimately prevent them from returning and taking over your outdoor spaces.
- Mother Nature. Various weather factors, animals, and a wide range of random variables can contribute to weed growth including potted plants and garden beds adjacent to hardscapes.
- Neglect. Without a doubt the biggest factor is that our outdoor areas and hardscapes can get away from us overtime. In a few years time, instead of maintenance, you will most likely have to start at square one with the sealing process.
Sealing Helps Prohibit Weeds Longer Than Unsealed Paver Joints.
The truth is Paver Sealing is the best way to achieve longer lasting results when it comes to weed control. From time to time it may be necessary to do some simple maintenance tasks and treat any random weed that gets through. At the end of the day, no one can guaranty any length of time for weeds to return. Results vary. We have seen jobs where weeds have come back as soon as a few months. Many projects have remained weed free for almost two years.
The best thing you can do to prevent weeds from growing in between your pavers is to keep your pavers clean. Regardless of whether or not your pavers are sealed, you can stop weeds before they take over.
How To Stop Weed Growth In Between Pavers
Even though Sealing helps to prohibit and reduce weed growth, you’re probably wondering what do you do if and when weeds begin to appear?
Whether it’s your driveway, patio or pool deck, here in Florida, weeds and grasses will find a way to grow given the chance. Regardless of using various grouts, sands and sealers, those pesky weeds will find a way to sprout. It can be as simple as walking through your freshly cut yard and leaving seeds on the surface to blow into the joints, or organic matter and debris left on the surfaces. Sometimes it may be as complex as having an existing weed that has created a system of roots hidden below your pavers and is ready to push its way through the joints in the near future! The weeds will find a way!
So the question now becomes “How do I stop weeds from growing in my pavers?” Luckily, there are simple steps you can take and easy treatments with things you probably already have in your house. Next we’ll cover several options and strategies to deal with weeds when they do pop up.
These recommendations are solutions specifically for pavers and hardscapes.
- These are not likely to damage the stones or sealer coatings (concrete, brick, natural stones).
- These solutions will damage surrounding vegetation if you use them in your lawn, landscaping or garden.
Here are our Top Natural Weed Removing Tips:
- Pull them by hand: One of the simplest and natural ways to remove weeds from paver joints is to pull them by hand. Try using a weeding tool or a pair of gloves to gently grasp the weed at the base and pull it out of the ground. Be sure to remove as much of the root system as possible to prevent the weed from growing back.
- Boiling Water: This may be the most effective “natural” method on the list. It not only treat the entire weed or grass, it also treats any seedlings as well. This one is also the most time consuming with the need to boil the water and takes more careful handling when taking it to the area that needs treatment. Please wear oven mitts or gloves and close toed shoes when carrying out the boiling hot water and pour close to the ground directly onto the weeds.
Use With Care
- Table Salt: Yes, really! It dries out the weeds from top to bottom. It may also be the longest lasting natural remedy to treating and preventing weeds, going weeks between applications. You can use a 3:1 ratio of water to salt and spot treat at the base of the weed. This solution is only for areas that soil health is not an issue. Salt will kill plants you want to keep and the weeds you want to remove.
- Vinegar: Another natural drying agent on weeds is Vinegar. Overuse will wear into unprotected pavers due to vinegar being an acid.
- Vinegar and Salt Solution: One “cocktail” you can mix and spray on to weeds, avoiding adjacent plants and grass is 1/2 gallon of 5% white vinegar, a 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap and 1 cup of table salt. Again, this is best in areas away from landscaping, lawns and gardens. If you are concerned about these areas you can always check the pH of the soil or call your lawn and landscape service for remedies to plant die off.
Other ways to Treat Weeds and keep them at bay:
- Use a herbicide: If you’re having trouble removing weeds by hand, or with natural solutions, you may want to consider using a herbicide. There are several types of herbicides available at your local home or gardening store that are specifically designed to treat weeds without damaging your pavers. Follow the instructions on the label carefully and use caution when applying the herbicide to avoid damaging surrounding plants or grass.
- Regular Weed Maintenance by a service provider: Lawn care specialist and some hardscape maintenance services offer paver maintenance. Ask your provider if they can help take the hassle out of treating weeds and grass coming through your hardscape.
Sweeping or leaf blowing organic matter and debris from the pavers on a regular basis will help to avoid seeds pods and spores from settling in the joints. It is important to treat weeds right away if they do appear again. Preventative maintenance is key in reducing the amount of weeds you find popping up over the years.
- Frequently leaf blow debris and organic matter from all paver surfaces. Inspect your pavers for any new weeds once every other month after your initial sealing service and spot treat accordingly.
- Frequency of maintenance depends on many factors but in general you will see little to no weeds overtime as long as the occasional rouge weeds are not allowed to spread.
We offer year round maintenance plans in which we will come out to not only treat weeds, but also mold, mildew and provide other general paver protection services. Your local paver sealing company may offer this service as well!
Paver Sealing and Simple Maintenance Can Prevent Weeds
The Fact is… Weeds are inevitable due to mother nature, even with sealed pavers. Paver Cleaning & Sealing may be the next step for your pavers and weed prevention. By Staying on top of them with routine maintenance by you, the homeowner or a trusted company you will keep the weeds gone and your pavers looking great constantly.
Paver Sealing is a great solution to removing and prohibiting weeds. Now by following these tips, you can effectively keep weeds from your paver joints and prevent them from coming back. It’s easy to maintain the clean and tidy appearance of your outdoor surfaces throughout the year.
Contact our office today for a complimentary quote to maintain your pavers!