There are many types of sealants available in the market today and each of them has its own unique properties and characteristics that make them ideal for different functions. In general, sealants prevent fluid, liquids, and substances from entering through openings and surfaces. They can also act as an impermissible barrier for air leakage, preventing sound, heat, insects, dust, and debris from entering mechanical joints.
Depending on the type of sealants you use, they will differ in consistency, flexibility, and longevity. To achieve the best possible results, you will need to know which type of environment and service condition would be ideal for maximizing their benefits. Therefore, it is crucial that you understand the various types of sealants and know their appropriate uses for different applications.
Polyurethane sealants are among the two most common types of sealants used by many in the construction, remodeling, and repairing sector. While highly flexible, they also provide strong adhesion strength and high resistance to abrasions and shears. They are usually available in single or multi-components formulas and are suitable for horizontal and vertical construction applications. They are non-sagging, which means you won’t have to worry about them budging as they can adhere well to a wide range of materials and substrates. Additionally, they are hassle-free and easy to apply as you won’t need to prepare the surface in advance. Finally, they also contribute lesser Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to the atmosphere, making them a safer option.
The most expensive option used in home renovations and improvements projects, silicone sealants are very durable and flexible while having a lifespan of more than two decades depending on the conditions, environments, and products. As a result, they are one of the most durable and versatile applications – from heat-resistant, food-safe contact solutions to anti-molding silicones to sealing bathroom tiles on floors. However, silicone can stain certain substrates and collect dirt easily, requiring you to prime the surface before applying the silicone sealant. Despite this, professionals regularly use them for their industrial applications due to their reliability.
Acrylic sealants are highly sought after for their UV stable properties and suitability for outdoor applications due to their moisture resistance. This means that they will not degrade in quality after extended exposure to the sun, making them a viable option for exterior uses. However, their rigidity can be impractical when used for interior home improvement projects and repairs as they can be more difficult to apply than other types of sealants. As acrylic sealants are made from resin and will not shrink, they are suitable for long-term use and are usually used for caulking, filling in gaps, and jointing purposes. They usually can last up to five years before requiring a recoating.
Polysulfide sealants are recognized for their ability to remain flexible and elastic even in colder temperatures, making them ideal for jointing works. In addition, they shrink minimally, have high resistance to UV radiation, allowing them to be used for exterior applications. As they are waterproof, they can directly contact water and are suitable for underwater use. While they are more expensive than the conventional sealants used in homes, they have up to a 20 years life expectancy – which many industry professionals feel compensates for the high price. However, it is worth noting that polysulfide releases high amounts of VOCs. Therefore, it is crucial that you work carefully and adhere to the additional safety guidelines by the manufacturer.