The Real Cost of Sealing Pavers in Florida -
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Serving Sarasota & Manatee Country in FL

The Real Cost of Sealing Pavers in Florida

Unfortunately, it is very common to drive through just about any neighborhood in South West Florida and see tons of paver driveways that have been sealed incorrectly. Even an untrained eye can typically tell when they have been done incorrectly, due to the white haze over the top of the pavers. The paver sealing business is one of the easiest business to start, so we constantly see new start – up businesses jumping into the market claiming to be an expert at paver sealing. These are usually painters, pressure washing contractors, handymen, etc. who want to “add on” to their existing business.

Usually, these inexperienced contractors are not intentionally out to cause harm or do a bad job. I think most of them actually want to do the best job possible, the problem is, it is what they don’t know, that eventually causes the damage. They give their potential customer a price of $800 to clean and seal a 2,000 square foot driveway. That equates to $.40 per square foot. What a deal, the customer thinks.

So, the customer gives this contractor a 50% deposit as requested to get started. The contractor will require the 50% deposit because he does not have the funds to purchase the necessary materials otherwise and he has not established a commercial credit rating yet that would allow him to purchase the products from a supplier on credit. He takes the deposit and drives to the local “big box” or hardware store and walks straight to the paint section to pick out the sealer that he is going to use. There is one sealer there that costs $250 per 5- gallon bucket and another one that costs $99.99 per 5 -gallon bucket. Which one do you think he will pick?

One of the most common sealer brands that we see applied here in our area is Seal N Lock. HOWEVER, WE DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT.

Seal N Lock:         Costs $295 for a 5 – gallon bucket.
Coverage Rate:    1,000 square feet per 5 – gallon bucket.

The Contractors Problem Becomes Your Problem: Let’s say for discussion purposes that you’re hiring this contractor to clean and seal your 2,000 square foot driveway and he’s charging you $800. So, we know that based on the “coverage rate” of 1,000 square feet per 5 – gallon bucket, they will need (2) 5 – gallon buckets. So, the cost of (2) 5 – gallon buckets is $295 X 2 plus tax, which would total $631.30 for the sealer alone. Since he charged $800 to do the job, he has less than $200 left over to pay for his time, his equipment, his truck, his insurance, his workers compensation, his taxes, etc, etc, etc.

He starts doing the math himself and realizes, he’s not going to make any money on the job. Then, when he gets the sealer, he realizes he’s in control of mixing it. You see, this type of sealer gives you a part A and a part B and you mix those together with water. If you want to increase the coverage rate, you simply add more water to make it go further. This means more profit for the contractor and lower quality for you. So, he does your job and doubles the recommended amount of water and he gets away with it. It looks fine for a couple of months, so he keeps doing it on every job. If it is a big job and he really wants it, he just adds more water, so that he can get the cost down even lower.

There is a race in Florida to make the cheapest paver sealer and then there is a race to be the cheapest applicator/contractor that applies it. These are two races that The Respectable Group will never participate in”.

The best type of sealer to use in Florida is a water – based sealer. Water is the ingredient or vehicle that takes the “plastic protection” in the sealer down into the porous areas of the paver. The water begins to evaporate as the sealer dries, leaving the “plastic” to protect the paver. The more water you add, the less “plastic” there is to protect the pavers.

The other type of sealer we see used in Florida is called solvent based sealer. WE DO NOT USE SOLVENT BASED SEALERS. When solvent-based sealers go bad, it’s a nightmare. We see these used a lot by painters and handymen because they’re rolled on as opposed to being sprayed on. The problem with these solvent based sealers is that they almost always, eventually turn a milky white over time requiring them to be stripped off. They are typically slippery, they show roller marks, and they are not environmentally friendly. If your contractor wants to use a solvent based sealer on your pavers, RUN. These sealers are thick and lay on top of the pavers. They prevent any moisture and water from penetrating the surface, HOWEVER, they also prevent water or moisture from escaping as well. Florida has a very high – water table level and this water and moisture is constantly trying to escape up through the surface. With solvent based sealers, when the moisture tries to escape up through the paver, it gets trapped between the paver and the solvent based sealer. Over time, this problem develops a hydraulic pressure that eventually breaks the bond that the sealer has with the paver. We call this delaminating. When the sealer delaminates, a void is created that fills up with moisture. The moisture and trapped air gives a white appearance to the sealer. When this happens, the sealer must be either chemically stripped or sand blasted off the surface. Both of these are very costly and labor-intensive options.

Bottom – line, like with most things in life, but especially with paver sealing, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. We think we do a great job of offering a superior value for our customers dollar. We just can’t seem to figure out how to be the cheapest. And, we never will, as long as people continue to hire the type of contractors described above.

Our business is broken down into four categories:

  1. The quality of the materials we use
  2. The quality of the People we employ
  3. The quality of the equipment we use
  4. The quality of the customer service we provide

 
We work extremely hard at being the best in ALL four of the categories above, so that we can offer the very best to all of our customers. Each of these four categories come with a monetary value. We add those values up and that determines how we price our jobs. Decrease the quality or eliminate one or more of these categories and the price goes down. But, comprising on quality, or eliminating one or more of these categories, is not our business model.

Thankfully, we have found that there are enough quality minded customers that are willing to pay a little more, for the difference in quality that we provide and those are the people that hire us.

The reality is, many people are willing to take big risks in order to save money. If they hear cheap, they don’t hear anything else. And ultimately, those are the customers that then wind up calling us to come and fix the problems that the cheap and inexperienced contractor caused. They wind up spending more money in the long run, because they have already paid to have the job done the wrong way initially, and they now have to pay us to correct the problems.

If you are interested in the very best quality, at a fair price, then we are absolutely the best choice for your needs.

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