A sealant is a mechanical seal used in home and industrial applications to block the passage of fluids or other materials through gaps. Gaps are created when two or more parts are bonded together, affecting the objects’ functions. Sealants can be used to block off any spaces and fill in gaps between surfaces.
A sealant is a thick substance with minimal or no flow characteristics. This helps them stay on the surfaces they are used on. Sealants can also be made thinner, allowing for capillary action to allow penetration of a specific material.
Sealants are commonly used to close holes that cannot be closed with other materials like drywall or concrete in industrial applications.
Common Types of Sealants & Their Applications
There are many types of sealants, and each sealant has its pros and cons. Some sealants are best suited for a particular use, which means they might only be suitable for some applications. Others might be more all-around focused, so choosing the best sealant for you is important. Below, we will look at the common types of sealants and their applications.
One type of sealant that is most frequently used is silicone. The substantial hydrolysis and polymerization of siloxanes and silanes are required to create silicone sealants. Due to their excellent performance qualities—including their resistance to UV rays, harsh temperatures, and the highest levels of movement—silicone sealants are used in a wide range of building applications.
Silicone sealants are suitable for sealing various materials because they dry at room temperature. After application, the shelf life of silicone sealants is 10 to 20 years.
Latex is commonly used at home and among DIYers because it is simple to apply and has a strong adherence to most surfaces. Latex is perfect for circumstances where gaps or voids are very small and can be painted over.
Latex can be vulnerable to shrinking and peeling away from the substrate, leaving spaces that can be penetrated by water. It is less expensive than other sealants and works best for interior finish applications with few gaps and little movement.
Acrylic may be used on a variety of materials both indoors and outside because it is resistant to moisture and low and high temperatures.
It is typically used in construction to fill in all types of cracks and openings and to expand between building elements, PVC, iron, and aluminum. It is also used to plaster woodwork and seal joints. It is not prone to shrinking like latex. Although paintable, it is more difficult to apply than latex and has a limited range of movement; as a result, movement over time can lead to cracking.
In order to stop liquids and other substances from entering through joints, polyurethane sealants form solid bonds between materials and seal them. The preferred option for contractors, it binds well to different surfaces and requires minimum substrate preparation. Compared to many other sealant kinds, they offer greater flexibility and good adhesion and movement capabilities. They are also abrasion-resistant which is why it is popular in the construction industry.
In addition to not working with structural glass assemblies, they can be stiff and more challenging to apply and work with than silicone.
Polymer sealants are best used on joints exposed to temperature changes. The downside, however, is that they take the longest to cure compared to the other sealants.
There are numerous sealants, each compatible with a different surface. Knowing which sealant is ideal for a given type of material is important. When a sealant is used on a substance incompatible with it, the substance may deteriorate, and the joint may not be properly sealed off.
Porous surfaces allow water from precipitation to pass through. The best sealants for them must have strong resistance. Examples are silicone and polymers.
Concrete is a structural component used in building construction. It comprises dense, chemically inert particles mostly sand or gravel. A polymer is an effective option for sealing concrete joints.
Silicone and polymer-based sealants work best for sealing metal. It offers a durable, flexible, and firm seal. It adheres strongly to various metals, including steel, stainless steel, anodized or pure aluminum.
Penetrating ceramics can be difficult because they are thick and have small micropores. Therefore, silicone and acrylic sealants are what you should use on them.
Silicone-based sealants perform best on textiles.
Silicone sealants are also ideal for bonding plastics and rubbers.
How to Apply a Sealant
Below, is a step-by-step guide on how to apply sealants.
- Clean the surface. Prior to application, the surface needs to be cleaned and prepared. To make sure joints are totally clean, wipe away all dirt, dust, and debris.
- Prepare the joints. The best approach to get a straight, polished line is with masking tape. Apply the tape on either side of the desired line. Push down and make sure it is firmly adhered to the surface.
- Apply the sealant. Use a hand application method or a machine to apply the sealant. Handguns are commonly used to do this. For optimal results, work at a moderate pace. Low speed will result in a surface that is uneven and rough. High speed will prevent the sealant from properly laying and therefore will not give a solid seal.
- Smoothen the surface. You can do this with a plastic card. It makes it easier that way. Don’t forget to take off the masking tape so that the sealant can touch the joint more adequately.
Silicone Sealants vs. Polyurethane Sealants
The chemical makeup of silicone and polyurethane sealants is one of their primary differences. Polyurethane is an organic substance, whereas silicone is an inorganic one.
Additionally, silicone sealants outlast polyurethane sealants in durability. Effects from a polyurethane sealant last between five and 10 years. A silicone joint, however, can last up to 20 years or more.
Silicone Sealants vs. Acrylic Sealants
Paints of all kinds can be used on acrylic adhesives unlike silicone sealants. But when it comes to durability, acrylic sealants are nowhere close to silicone sealants because of their higher flexibility.
Also, unlike silicone sealants, acrylic sealants can only last well in warm, dry atmospheric conditions.
Shop Sealants Online or Contact SSG Brands to Find a Dealer Near You
At SSG Brands, we sell a wide range of Akfix products. You’ll find the ideal solution for creating water-tight and professional seals on ceramics, textiles, concrete, metal, etc. If you have any questions or finding a dealer near you, contact SSG brands today. You can also visit our online store where you’ll find all the products we carry.
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