Sealants and Adhesives -General uses ?
Breaking the stereotype that sealants are only for construction purposes.
Sealants for DIY users?
Now, it is usually presumed that construction contractors are the only people who use sealants. But this is only almost true. As innovations in this field made the use of sealants easier, it became easier for homeowners and DIYers to use it around their homes. We had previously posted about how you can apply sealants to fix your doors, interior and exterior cracks and to take pest control measures. In this article, we list down the different types of sealants that are suitable for use in homes.
Which are the various types of sealants ?
- Water-based latex
How and why do you use sealants ?
We may not know about it, but our homes develop cracks and holes faster than we assume. It makes no sense to buy a sack of putty for closing up a few small gaps in and around the house. This is where sealants fit into the picture. Besides being a perfect solution for the sealing activity, sealants also have high resistance towards liquid degradants, gases and fumes.
Now, where you should use which sealant depends heavily on your requirement and the environmental factors surrounding the area of application. In this article, we list down the common sealants for home use and where they can are used below.
Acrylic sealants are favoured when you require the sealant to be stable under massive UV radiation. This makes acrylic sealants the first choice for external applications. They are also not susceptible to shrinkage. But it is to be noted that acrylic sealants are slightly trickier to apply for home repairs and improvements. Acrylic sealants also lack flexibility and thus, should not be used in places where movement is expected. These sealants generally have a lifetime of 5 to 10 years.
Another essential characteristic of acrylic sealants is that they can undergo curing in the absence of oxygen. So these sealants are generally used for thread-locking between screws and bolts.
Butyl sealants are prevalent in the market due to their low costs and high versatility. However, their stringy consistency makes the application of these sealants difficult.
But it should be noted that these sealants are not to be used for heavy construction applications. This is because they cannot accommodate for shearing movement. Butyl sealants also have a lifetime of 5 to10 years. After this, they require maintenance.
Polysulfide sealants are becoming more favoured because of their property to maintain elasticity even under low-temperature conditions. Minimum shrinkage and UV resistivity are also desirable properties characteristic of polysulfide sealants. Thus they are highly suitable for external applications, even for underwater requirements.
Because of its myriad of properties, it is also priced at a premium. However, when you consider the fact that its lifetime is between 15 to 20 years, it is an excellent range of products to consider. Also, it is vital to keep in mind that polysulfide sealants have a high VOC content, thus requiring you to take additional protective measures before application.
Another product in the sealant market that is gaining high traction s the polyurethane foam sealant. They are preferred for general use, and their properties cater to a wide range of applications. Strong adhesion, abrasion and shear resistance and an ability to be applied on a wide range of substrates make it a go-to product for most home users.
Silicone sealants have long been the most common sealants used across the industries. The costs involved also match the characteristics. These sealants, when cured, are incredibly flexible and can last for as long as 20 years. Extensively usable for home repairs, these sealants can also be modified for specific needs: anti-mold silicone sealants, heat resistant silicone sealants and food-grade silicone sealants.
However, the disadvantage of silicone sealants is the possibility of staining on substrates, need for a primer material to prep the sealant and also dirt accumulation.
Water-based latex sealants
A recent innovation, water-based latex sealants are safe and straightforward to use. They also are highly compatible with many substrates. Since they are also paintable, they find use in most interior design applications. Water-based latex sealants have gained their popularity by being comfortable and safe to apply as well as adhering to many different surfaces. Another advantage of water-based latex sealants is that they are paintable, which contributes to the visual appeal of the result. These sealants are especially suitable for tiny gaps and voids where movement is minimal. However, these sealants are shrinkable.
What to look for when choosing a sealant for home
When you decide to purchase a sealant for home use, the two most essential points you have to check are the flexibility and longevity of the sealant. However, it is also necessary that you make sure of what your requirement is – whether you need hardness or adhesion or UV resistivity.
- Adhesion: adhesive strength various from sealant to the sealant. Make sure you know what your requirement is and purchase accordingly. All manufacturers provide technical specifications including the adhesive strength and the list of substrates it can bond.
- Cost: The higher the price, the more versatile its use can be. However, sometimes even sealants for highly specific needs can cost more than general sealants.
- Durability: Take the manufacturer’s specifications on how long the sealant can last. Depending upon your use, remember that you may need to use a specific-need sealant.
- Ease of application: Easiest to apply sealants are always preferred by homeowners. However, we have a list of articles showing you how easy it is to apply sealants.
- Flexibility: Flexibility may be required if you want the joints on which the sealant is to be applied needs to be movable once cured.
- Hardness: This is a tradeoff between flexibility that you will have to consider. Hardness is the property of maintaining a solid structure.
- Resistance: When using for external applications, you will have to consider what the sealant will be exposed against. Will it be high UV, heavy dust, high temperatures? These are factors you will have to consider before purchasing the sealant.
- Staining: Staining can occur when the sealant is not designed particularly for the substrate. But in silicone sealants, the staining is a usual reaction.
- VOC content: the VOC content is a measure of the toxicity of the product. Thus, for home applications, it is desired to have a sealant with low VOC content.