Ep 12: What is paver restoration?

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Welcome to the Adventures in Paver Sealing podcast, with your host, Jeff Evers of Paver Protectors. Hello, welcome to today’s podcast. Today, I wanted to discuss paver restoration. We get asked all the time, “what is paver restoration?” Actually, we get asked more than we like. People ask me, “do my pavers need paver restoration. Why do they need it? And why do I need it and my neighbors don’t need it?”

These are the questions that get asked pretty much on a daily basis. Now we love it. When you ask questions, because when you ask us questions, gives us the opportunity to answer them and educate you on the area that you’re asking about in particular paver restoration. First off, what is it?

What is paver restoration? Paver restoration is removing the old seal coating down to the original brick and then re-sealing it correctly with a quality, breathable sealer. This is in fact fixing a problem that exists because the pavers were sealed improperly the first time around, usually by a homeowner or another contractor. We see this all the time. Homeowners like to do it themselves, or they hire a contractor, and they’re not using the right type of products. People ask…

Why is the paver restoration needed?

And not all jobs we quote require paver restoration. In fact, most don’t. However, there are a lot of jobs that we do that require paver restoration. We do about five of those a week. So on average, the percentage of the jobs we do are small, but in the overall scope of things, that’s quite a bit. That means somebody is out there sealing pavers incorrectly. But we are here to fix it and we have the ability to do so. Now the reason that paver restoration is needed is because the sealer that was previously used was not breathable and moisture has gotten trapped underneath the layer of sealer. Now a breathable sealer in particular will allow the moisture and condensation to escape. Okay? So that way you’re not going to get that Whiting. Okay. It’s very important to use a breathable sealer in a southern tropical environment like Florida, which is where we operate our business.

Now, when moisture condensation appears under the layer of sealer, it causes a hazy milky look to the pavers. Some people in the industry will call it Whiting. And people say, you know, cause people call all the time and say, “my pavers are turning white. Can you help us? I need you to come out and take a look.” Well that is not what it is, (the pavers are not turning white) it Is actually trapped condensation. That’s what most people call it. They say, “why are my pavers turning white?” So that’s what we call it on our estimates. It’ll say, Whiting: yes or no? And if there’s any whiting evident we’ll check “yes” and usually recommend paver restoration. Okay.

Now why would anybody use a sealer that causes this? I’ve had people ask me that and it’s like, well, if they know the sealer is going to turn white or trap moisture, why would they use it? Why did they do this to me? Well, in most cases, it’s not intentional. I mean, we see it all the time. Usually it’s a homeowner that did the job themselves to save a few dollars or they hired a contractor based solely on price alone and not experience and knowledge of paver sealing. I mean, it’s crucial that you hire somebody who has a proven track record when it comes to sealing. As a homeowner, you should be asking, “is paver sealing your expertise? Are you licensed and insured for paver sealing? May, I have a few addresses of the homes you’ve done recently?”

You should also check reviews on Google, Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, places like that. If the person you’re checking up on has bad reviews, well that tells you a lot. Good reviews tell you a lot and if they don’t have any reviews, that could be telling too. It doesn’t mean they do a bad or a good job. But it also means are they even doing any work? You know, if they do two jobs a week, they may not have any reviews and when it comes to sealing pavers, you want somebody that does this more than a couple of times a week. When the clerk at Home Depot or your neighbor’s brother-in-law gives you advice on paver sealing, ask yourself, “does he really know what he’s talking about when it comes to paver sealing?”

If you hire a contractor and he is so much cheaper than everybody else, you have to ask yourself, “well why is that?” I mean, we all have fixed expenses that come into play. Some companies have more overhead than others. But expenses include worker’s comp insurance. That is a MUST when people are working around your house. And the sealer. But also what you can’t put a monetary price on is experience. You know, somebody’s been doing this 10, 15 years, and somebody’s been doing it for six months to a year, you’re going to get a lot different results. These are some of the things that go into the pricing of jobs when quoting a job from a legitimate paver sealing company. So hiring the right person is the number one way that you can avoid costly, paver restoration on your pavers. So, I have customers say, “well, now that I need paver restoration, what do I do now?”

What are the pros and cons of paver restoration?

Well, at this point, you need to find somebody who does paver restoration. Now, there are a few of us out there. But there’s not nearly as many paver restoration companies, as there are sealing companies. Now, stripping coatings is a very intensive process and it requires extensive training. The EPA has banned methyl chloride, which was one of the main ingredients in most strippers that were on the market. And that’s what most companies use. So when the EPA banned methylene chloride, a lot of companies did away with stripping because it’s much more difficult to find strippers that don’t contain methylene chloride. Now we have our own stripper and it does not contain methylene chloride. So we are able to use it. And so we do a lot of paver restorations throughout the year. There are other options and other companies that do it as well. But you are harder pressed or you have a harder time finding somebody that knows how to do it for those reasons.

Now there are pros and cons when it comes to restoration. Now the pros are, it eliminates the unsightly old sealer. When this job is done, your pavers look rejuvenated with a nice color enhancement and a nice sheen. And the good thing is paver restoration will not be needed again as long as you don’t hire somebody using the wrong products and you stick with the right people that have a warranty on the work and do guarantee that their sealers will not turn white.

There are a couple of cons when it comes to paver restoration. Paver restoration is more expensive than just a traditional clean and seal. You gotta remember when we come in for a paver restoration, we are actually fixing the damage that somebody else has done. The sealers do not come off easily. That’s why they’re sold. I mean, if they’re half decent sealers, they’re not gonna come off very easily and they’re made to not come off. So it’s very difficult to get them off. Sometimes you may need to do some touch up paint and you may lose some plants and or landscaping that are in the immediate area where the restoration is taking place. Now, these chemicals, even though they don’t contain methylene chloride, they are strong enough to remove a sealer off your pavers. So you gotta remember they’re very strong. So just the vapors alone can possibly bubble the paint on your wall or your screen cage. If it’s a pool deck, we do our best to minimize this. We typically do not have problems, but all of our contracts stipulate that these things could happen and we cannot be responsible for them.

And if you own a pool and it’s the pool pavers that are being restored, you do need to keep in mind you may need to drain the pool after the process is done and the pool’s been cleaned. It’s rare, but I’d say maybe 20% of the jobs that we do, the pool color will turn a light green and even though the pool cleaner can get the water back to a pH neutral or whatever it’s supposed to be, the pH levels will be fine, I should say. They can’t seem to get the blue color back into the water. And in those few cases, they’ve had to actually drain the pool and refill it. So that is something you need to keep in mind as well. The best thing is to avoid this from happening. But once it’s happened and you need a restoration, the only way to fix it (other than replacing your bricks) is to do a restoration.

Now, keep in mind, this is definitely NOT a do yourself project. Better leave this one to a professional. A lot of people will try to seal themselves. That’s fine and dandy. But when it comes to restoration, I mean, you could burn your skin. You could do damage and you really need to know what you’re doing when using these chemicals.

So in closing, that’s all about what I wanted to talk about today. I hope it helped you with any of the questions you may have had about paver restoration and you see the ads for it. We advertise for it heavily in the publications here in Southwest Florida and other companies do as well. And you may ask yourself, “well, what is it and why?” I’m hoping I answered those questions for you. If you need any further help or if you have any questions, call our office at (239) 288-0705. And of course, visit our website at paverprotectors.com. Have a great day. We look forward to our next episode coming soon.

Thank you for listening to the Adventures in Paver Sealing podcast. To learn more about Paver Protectors, please visit paverprotectors.com or call (239) 288-0705.


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