If you are building a patio and can’t decide whether or not to use outdoor pavers, then I have some news for you. The truth about outdoor pavers, and especially sandstone pavers, is that they are not 100% maintenance free.

But the good news is that they require much less maintenance than concrete or wood. Patios that are built with pavers also look great and elegant, especially when they are installed by an interlocking expert.

But the funny thing about patios that are built with pavers is that when the patio pavers are not sealed, the whole patio loses its beauty and elegance. You might even discover a few ant colonies and their sand pyramids in between the pavers; not a great look! So in order to keep those troublesome ants away, follow these nine simple steps to sealing your patio pavers:

Step 1: When construction is taking place, the only thing that differentiates a professional and a starter is the rate at which mistakes are being avoided. So make sure that you are patient when sealing your patio pavers. Take all the time you need and never rush. Sealing is a very quick procedure and high quality sealants can last up to 15 years under good conditions.

Step 2: Before you start to seal your patio pavers, clean off any dirt on the surface of your pavers. Use cleaning agents that are pH neutral or agents that have been especially formulated for natural stone. Acid cleaners should be avoided. If an acid based product is left on the surface of the stone for too long, it can corrode the matrix that holds the stone together and gives it strength. Acid can pit and delaminate stone so acid cleaners or even foodstuffs (vinegar, wine, soft drinks) should be cleaned off stone if spilt.

Step 3: Always check the present condition of the pavers. This is necessary because some paver stones may have shifted overnight, making them uneven.

Step 4: After you’re sure the pavers are even, re-grout any joint that is making sounds when you put pressure on it. Though this doesn’t sound like a lot of work, you will be surprised at how much time is spent re-grouting wobbly joints.

Step 5: This will probably be the hardest step for most people.

You have to take a break! Your patio pavers are already wet, so in order for them to dry you will need to let them soak up the sunshine for a day or two. Focus on something else, anything! Just don’t go outside and touch those pavers before they’re dry.

Step 6: Now you can choose your choice sealer. The best sealer’s are usually water based, but always ask an expert before you apply it.

Step 7: This simple step is so often disregarded that it warrants extra attention. Always read and follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the water-based sealer. Some products require a different application, so keep this in mind.

Step 8: Now all you have to do is apply the sealer. It is best applied with the use of a pump, purchased at any hardware store. There are many different ways of applying sealants, the choice of which will depend on how rough or smooth the surface is. It is not a complicated process but there are many tricks to it. For instance, it is really important not to apply too much sealant all at once – two thin, even coats are better than one heavy coat.

Step 9: The last thing to do is maintenance. Blow off any leaves so they don’t stain on the pavers, clean up any spills ASAP. There’s little point in spending all that time laying and sealing pavers if you let them fall into disrepair. The sealant if properly applied, will prevent staining from vegetable matter but if rotting leaves or lawn clippings etc. are left to decay on the surface over time they will eventually degrade the barrier set up by the sealant and staining will occur. It is always best to keep stone surfaces free of dirt or vegetable matter that can hold moisture.

Nine easy steps that will have your outdoor pavers looking like a million bucks, good luck and happy paving!