The Dos and Don'ts of Working with Silicone Adhesives and Sealants
Getting Started with Silicone Adhesive and Sealants
If you have ever worked in an industrial setting, you have probably come across silicone adhesives and sealants. Silicone adhesive sealant is versatile, but, unlike other adhesives, it must cure. Curing means letting it dry, and, although it is not necessarily a difficult process, it takes patience. Silicone adhesives can take as little as 24 hours to cure, but it may also take up to several days if the sealant is thick. Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure you make full use of silicone adhesives and sealants.
Dos of Using Silicone Adhesives and Sealants
Use a primer whenever possible
Primers are valuable because they help sealants adhere to your chosen surface. Primers may have a short shelf life, but they help improve adhesion by 20%. There are a few solvent-based primers that can be applied by brush or by a cloth that will enhance your bond.
Consider the sealant’s shelf life
The majority of sealants sold today cure at the rate of 2-3mm per 24 hours, and this is exactly why they will not last forever in the tube. They have an especially short shelf life if in hot and humid conditions. Keeping them in the refrigerator will help extend their days, and keeping nozzles always attached will also help them cure slowly. Obviously, refrain from opening the tubes until you are ready to use them.
Prep your workspace
Keep in mind that other people, and even pets, may come in contact with the space you are working in, so make sure your silicone applicator is safely away from children and animals. Choose a work area that is well ventilated if your adhesive has an odor.
An Easy Way to Remove Sealant
Manufacturers always get queries from people asking if there is any miracle substance that can help remove the sealant. Well, the answer to this is no. The only way you will be able to remove sealant is through mechanical methods, such as a cheese wire or sharp knife, or by abrading it with a sander.
Don'ts of Using Silicone Adhesives and Sealants
Not choosing the right adhesive
Before you purchase silicone adhesive or sealant for your project, you must check the materials you are working with. There are adhesives made especially for certain materials. Here is a guide to choosing the right silicone for your project.
For industrial applications like engines, oil pans, transmissions, etc., we recommend RTV silicone. If you're looking for a general-purpose, durable sealant that can be used in a wide range of industrial applications, check out the Window Silicone Sealant. It's even great at adhering to non-porous surfaces like glass and metals. For substrates like aluminum, brass, steel, mortar, granite, marble, wood and many plastics, the Polymer Modified Urethane Sealant is a great option. For more information about MS Polymer sealant, check out this blog post.
Not checking the expiration date
Before purchasing silicone adhesives and sealants, make sure it is not out of date. This is a small detail that is easily overlooked. Silicone sealant undergoes changes if it is past its shelf life. Tubes that are out of date take a longer time to dry and are no longer potent.
Not cleaning the surface
If there is any grime, oil, grease, or other residues on the surfaces which you are working with, you will have a difficult time forming a solid and good bond. Make sure you clean surfaces thoroughly and let them dry before proceeding with your work.
Not following instructions
There are various types of sealants and adhesives, and they come with slightly different instructions for how they are to be used, particularly in terms of how long it takes for the sealant to dry. There are very strong adhesives that might need to be mixed with other substances before use. Therefore, always read the instructions and follow them to the letter.
Not using pressure
Gluing two pieces of metal together is different from using glue with paper and waiting for it to dry on its own. Pressure has to be applied to ensure the bond formed is as strong as possible. A vise or clamp can hold the pieces together with firm pressure so that the adhesive can bond to the metal surfaces which have been prepared prior. Wait as long as possible before removing the clamp, and allow the adhesive ample time to dry. Do not hasten the process, Otherwise, you will have problems.
Ready to Get Started?
Whether you're ready to order your silicone sealant or you still have questions you'd like to talk about with a product specialist, contact us. A member of our knowledgeable team would be happy to work with you through the purchasing process and answer your questions.