A sealant is a specialized material used primarily to prevent the penetration of gases, liquids, dust, and other contaminants by creating a temporary or permanent adhesive layer over the surface of an object. Some types of sealants function as a barrier, as well as an adhesive, and even provide strength to the surface over which they have been administered. Sealants are synthetically manufactured, and their characteristics can vary considerably depending upon their chemistry, and the purpose for which they have been developed. Factors such as adhesive strength, resistance to liquids, elongation characteristics, capability of resisting environmental stress, and their method of application play an important role in determining their applicability and usage.
Silicone and urethane sealants
Many types of sealants are available in the market which offer adhesive properties. Two of the most widely used types of sealants are silicone and urethane. They are both extensively used in the commercial construction market segments. Urethane is generally preferred in the construction industry, and silicone too has its own importance and utility within the same industry. While urethane is preferred for sealing exterior joint openings, neutrally cured silicone sealant is more widely used when long lasting adhesive properties are desired.
Characteristics of silicone based sealants
Silicone based sealants can contain solvents which provide them with properties to adhere strongly to glass, metal, and tiles. Silicon, however, cannot be used on wooden surfaces – it does not stick to wood. They don’t degrade or become denaturized when exposed to direct sunlight or UV rays. They maintain their flexibility up to a certain extent and do not break when they are twisted. It’s not recommended to paint over silicon surfaces, or over surfaces where silicon adhesives have been used. You need special solvents to clean silicone base sealants. Since it is an inorganic compound, it is not affected by UV radiation, and has excellent resistance to mildew and mould. It can be applied to heated surfaces, and can withstand adverse climatic conditions, even shortly after its application. It has a tendency to adhere to nonporous substrates, which makes it an ideal choice for application over glass, ceramic, metal, and porcelain surfaces.
Advantages of using silicone based sealants
One of the biggest advantages of using silicone base sealants is that they can be made available to support a wide range of colors, which significantly increases their utility. Moreover, they don’t stain the surface, and cure quickly, making them an ideal choice for carrying out emergency repairs. They cost very less and are highly affordable.