A good sealant is an important part of many jobs, whether sealing a bath, leak-proofing pipes or adding an upstand to a kitchen worktop. Modern sealants are applied with a caulking gun, enabling you to get an even application in a straight line with just a little practice. Sealants come in two varieties: silicone and acrylic. Let’s take a look at the characteristics and uses of each.
Silicone-based sealants create a tough yet flexible seal and it is this flexibility that gives them such a wide range of applications. Not only can silicone be used for jobs that require a fixed seal but also for jobs where some movement is required. An example is sealing the edges of wooden worktops, which may swell or shrink in different weather conditions.
In these sealants, the silicone polymers are mixed with other substances so that they remain pliable until they cure in the air. Frequently the mix is with acetic acid, which is why silicone sealants often smell like vinegar. If you are using the sealant on a surface that is sensitive to acetic acid, choose an acetoxy cure product instead.
Sometimes called decorators’ or painters’ caulk, acrylic sealant is made from a mixture of acrylic polymers. A cheaper alternative to silicone, acrylic sealants are commonly used for jobs inside the home. If you are not sure how to use a caulking gun to apply your sealant, there is lots of information available online.
Which to use
Silicone sealants, which are available from specialists such as http://www.ct1ltd.com/product-applications/how-to-remove-silicone-sealant/, are superior products for almost every application. The seal is more flexible, which gives a wider range of application. The seal also lasts longer with silicone, as it is a very durable substance. It can be difficult to get a good cure on acrylic sealant outside, as it is dependent on weather conditions; however, silicone seals well both inside and out. Silicone is also a superior product when it comes to finishing, as it is more easily tooled even when it has been cured.
Perhaps the only area in which acrylic sealant has the advantage is when the sealant needs to be painted. Silicone-based sealant does not take paint; therefore, if you want to decorate your seal, you will need to use an acrylic sealant.