Is Paver Sealer Toxic: Crucial Information You Need to Know

Paver sealers play a crucial role in protecting and enhancing the beauty of brick pavers. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers they may pose. There are two main types of paver sealers available in the market: solvent-based and water-based. The issue arises with solvent-based sealers, as they often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These toxic compounds can have harmful effects on both the environment and human health. When these sealers are applied, VOCs are released into the air, contributing to air pollution. It’s crucial to choose a water-based sealer that’s free from VOCs, ensuring a safer and more environmentally friendly option. By being aware of the potential toxicity of paver sealers, you can make an informed decision and prioritize the well-being of both yourself and the environment.

What Is Paver Sealer Made Of?

The main component of solvent-based paver sealers is the acrylic polymer blend, which provides the desired protective and aesthetic properties to the sealer. These acrylic polymers are derived from synthetic resins and are chosen for their ability to form a durable and long-lasting film on the surface of the pavers.

These solvents are responsible for dissolving the polymer blend and allowing it to penetrate into the pores of the pavers.

To enhance the performance and appearance of the sealer, other additives may be included in the formulation. These additives can include UV inhibitors, which protect the paver surface from the damaging effects of sunlight, and anti-slip agents, which increase traction on the sealed surface.

The solid materials present in the sealer can vary depending on the desired thickness and appearance of the sealer. These solid materials can include fillers, pigments, and aggregates. Fillers are used to thicken the sealer and provide a smoother and more uniform finish. Pigments can be added to tint the sealer to a desired color, while aggregates can be included to create a textured or non-slip surface.

Water-based concrete sealers are an eco-friendly alternative to solvent-based sealers, as they contain lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Not only does this make them safer for individuals handling the product, but it also minimizes the negative impact on the environment.

Is Water Based Concrete Sealer Toxic?

Water-based concrete sealers are generally considered less toxic compared to solvent-based sealers. These sealers have a lower level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. By reducing VOC content, water-based sealers pose less risk to both the user and the environment.

VOCs found in solvent-based sealers can have various adverse health effects when inhaled or exposed to the skin. They can contribute to respiratory problems, eye and throat irritation, and nervous system disorders.

The reduced VOC content means fewer harmful chemicals are released into the air during application and curing. This not only reduces air pollution but also decreases the potential for contamination of nearby water sources.

Water-based sealers offer a high level of durability and protection, making them a popular choice for various concrete surfaces. They can help prevent moisture absorption, staining, and damage from weathering or UV exposure. Additionally, they can enhance the appearance of the concrete, providing a glossy or matte finish without the need for harsh chemicals.

Another advantage of water-based sealers is their ease of use and clean-up. Since they’re water-based, they can be easily diluted and applied with regular tools like brushes or rollers. Spills and accidents are less of a concern since water-based sealers can be cleaned up with water, rather than needing strong solvents or chemicals.

With lower VOC content, they’re safer for users and the environment, as they emit fewer harmful chemicals during application and curing.

One of the main disadvantages of sealing pavers is that it requires ongoing maintenance. After sealing, you’ll need to regularly reseal your pavers to keep them in optimal condition. This is especially true if you use a thinner sealant that may break down and develop a film over time. The frequency of resealing will depend on the material of the paver and the brand of the sealer used.

What Is the Problem With Sealing Pavers?

Sealing Pavers Con #2: It can alter the appearance of the pavers. Sealing pavers typically results in a glossy or semi-glossy finish. While this may enhance the color and give the pavers a fresh look, it may not be desirable for everyone. Additionally, the sealant may discolor or darken the pavers, which can be disappointing if you were aiming for a specific aesthetic.

One downside of sealing pavers is that the sealed surface can become slippery when wet. This can be a safety concern, especially if the pavers are located around a pool, hot tub, or other water feature. If safety is a priority, you may want to explore alternative options that provide better traction.

If moisture becomes trapped underneath the sealant, it can lead to mold, mildew, and other issues. This is particularly problematic in areas with high humidity or heavy rainfall. Proper preparation and application of the sealant is crucial to avoid this problem.

Sealing pavers requires purchasing the sealant, as well as any necessary tools or equipment for application. If you hire a professional to seal your pavers, this can add to the cost. Additionally, as mentioned earlier, resealing will need to be done periodically, so the expense is ongoing. Homeowners must weigh the benefits of sealing against the added expense to determine if it’s worth it for their specific situation.

It’s important to carefully evaluate these factors and consider your specific needs and priorities before making a decision.

Source: Pros and Cons of Sealing Pavers | What You Need To Know

Breathing in concrete sealer can have serious consequences for your respiratory health. Many of these sealers contain harmful chemicals that can lead to asthma and even lung cancer. To protect yourself, it’s crucial to wear a mask, specifically the N95 mask, when working with concrete sealers. This mask is highly effective in filtering out harmful particles and ensuring your safety.

What Happens if You Breathe in Concrete Sealer?

Concrete sealer is commonly used to protect and enhance the appearance of concrete surfaces. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with inhaling the fumes from these substances. Many concrete sealers contain harmful chemicals, including solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These chemicals can be released into the air as the sealer dries, posing a threat to your respiratory system.

Inhaling the fumes from concrete sealers can have serious consequences for your health. Short-term exposure can lead to symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and irritation of the nose, throat, and lungs. Prolonged or repeated exposure to these chemicals can cause more severe respiratory problems, such as asthma and even lung cancer.

To protect yourself when working with concrete sealers, it’s crucial to always wear a mask. The N95 mask, specifically designed to filter out airborne particles, can provide adequate protection against the harmful chemicals found in concrete sealers. This type of mask can effectively prevent the inhalation of solvents and VOCs, reducing the risk of respiratory issues.

It’s also essential to ensure proper ventilation when using concrete sealers. Working in a well-ventilated area can help to minimize the concentration of fumes in the air, further reducing the risk of inhalation. If possible, aim to work outside or in a space with open windows or doors to allow fresh air to circulate.

This may include using protective gloves, goggles, and clothing to prevent skin contact with the sealer. It’s also important to avoid directly inhaling the fumes by positioning yourself upwind or using a fan to redirect the air away from your face.

The Potential Long-Term Health Effects of Inhaling Concrete Sealer Fumes

The potential long-term health effects of inhaling concrete sealer fumes are a subject of concern. Concrete sealers are commonly used to protect and enhance the appearance of concrete surfaces. However, prolonged exposure to the fumes emitted during the application and drying process may have adverse effects on respiratory health. These fumes contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can irritate the lungs and lead to respiratory problems. It’s important to minimize exposure to concrete sealer fumes by ensuring proper ventilation during the application and avoiding prolonged direct inhalation.

Water based sealers are the go-to option for sealing pavers, regardless of whether they’re made of concrete or other materials. Although it might be confusing, water based sealers don’t simply consist of water. While there’s a solvent-based alternative available, water based sealers are the recommended choice for optimal results.

Should I Use a Water Based Sealer for Pavers?

Water based sealers provide several advantages over solvent-based sealers. Firstly, water based sealers are environmentally friendly. They’ve lower volatile organic compound (VOC) content, meaning they release fewer harmful chemicals into the air during application. This is especially important if you’re sealing pavers in an enclosed or poorly ventilated area.

Solvent-based sealers can leave behind strong chemical odors that can linger for days or even weeks. With water based sealers, you can simply clean up any spills or drips with water and soap.

In terms of performance, water based sealers offer excellent protection and durability for pavers. They penetrate deep into the surface and form a protective barrier that guards against stains, oil, water damage, and UV rays.

They’re able to expand and contract with the pavers, which is important in areas with fluctuating temperatures. This helps prevent cracking or peeling of the sealer, ensuring long-lasting protection for your pavers.

Lastly, water based sealers are easy to apply and require minimal maintenance. They can be sprayed, rolled, or brushed onto the pavers, and typically require only one or two coats. Once applied, water based sealers are low maintenance and can last for several years, depending on the level of foot traffic and weather conditions.

Exposure to xylene, a VOC commonly found in traditional solvent-based concrete sealers, can be harmful to both humans and pets. Therefore, it’s important to consider alternative sealers that are safe for everyone when applying decorative concrete resurfacing overlays.

Is Concrete Sealer Toxic to Dogs?

Pets, particularly dogs, are often curious creatures that like to explore their surroundings. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure their safety by considering potential hazards in their environment. One such concern may arise when contemplating the use of concrete sealer on decorative overlays or coatings. Traditional solvent-based sealers utilized in the concrete coatings industry often contain a chemical known as xylene.

Unfortunately, xylene is classified as a volatile organic compound (VOC) which can have detrimental effects on both human and animal health. Inhalation or ingestion of xylene can lead to various health issues, and it isn’t advisable for individuals of any age, including children, to be exposed to this toxic compound. As responsible pet owners, it’s necessary to take precautions to avoid any potential harm to our furry friends.

If used near an area accessible to dogs, the risk of exposure to xylene from the sealer becomes a pressing concern. Dogs are known for their curious nature and can come into contact with the sealer through sniffing, licking, or even walking on the treated surface. Ingesting or absorbing xylene can lead to a range of adverse effects on a dogs health, including respiratory problems, gastrointestinal issues, and even damage to the central nervous system.

To protect our four-legged companions, it’s advisable to opt for safer alternatives to traditional solvent-based sealers. Water-based sealers, for instance, are available on the market and are much less toxic than their solvent-based counterparts. These sealer options provide effective protection for decorative concrete surfaces while minimizing the risk of harm to dogs.


In conclusion, it’s important to be aware of the potential toxicity of paver sealers, particularly those that are solvent-based and contain volatile organic compounds (VOC). These toxic sealers not only harm the environment but also pose a threat to human health.

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