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A Brief Guide To Sealants

guide to sealants imageWith so many different sealants available, it can be difficult to keep track of which sealants are best suited for different applications. The following list provides an overview of the most common sealant types and the applications for which they are best suited.

  1. Low Modulus Acetoxy (LMA) Silicone Sealants are the cost effective "all-rounders", they are suitable for a wide variety of general building, sanitary (when they contain a fungicide), glazing interior and exterior applications and adhere to many common building material.
  2. Low Modulus Neutral (LMN) Silicone Sealants are the best option for the sealing of UPVC Window or Door Frames (exterior). Offers better adhesion, accommodates more movement and is generally longer lasting than LMA's.
  3. High Modulus Acetoxy (HMA) Silicone Sealants are most commonly used for kitchen and sanitary applications (ensure the sealant contains a fungicide).
  4. Food Grade Silicone Sealants are designed for use in areas where food contact may occur including contact with raw meat. Ensure the sealant has a European Food Grade Certicate or is FDA Certified.
  5. Oil Based Mastic is a very traditional product used in the industry for decades. It is an economical, general purpose sealant for applications which have low level movement. It is important to note after a certain period of time they will dry out and crack.
  6. Butyl Rubber Sealant are non-setting sealants and remain a chewing gum like consistency during their lifetime. They are commonly used on caravans, cars and in general construction where a semi-permanent seal is required.
  7. Acrylic Caulks are the economical, paintable alternative to silicones. However the external application of this form of sealant is very much ruled by the weather, conditions must by dry and preferably warm when applying otherwise the sealant will be washed out of the joint. They also do not offer the same flexibility as a silicone or lifespan.
  8. Intumescent Sealants are designed for joints where a fire retardant seal is required to prevent the passage of smoke and vapours. For exterior use, use a Fire Retardant Silicone.
  9. MS Polymer Sealants are an "all in one" sealant suitable for virtually any application where a sealant or adhesive is required. The sealing and adhesive properties make them perfect for surfaces that experience frequent vibration or strain. They are also ideal for gluing panels, skirting boards, windows, mirrors and insulation materials. Some of the new generation of MS Polymers are formulated to be food grade including Idealseal MS290 and Idealseal Foodfix Crystal Clear. Please note due to the UV stability of clear ms polymers they do have a tendency to yellow when used externally.
  10. Polysulphide Sealants are designed to seal joints subject to movement where a tough, flexible, watertight seal is required. It is important to note that they are difficult to tool. In recent years many manufacturers including ourselves have discontinued Polysulphide sealants as both our polyurethane and ms polymer ranges will perform the same applications with better results.
  11. Polyurethane Sealants are most commonly used for boat, car, caravan and mobile home applications. However they are also suitable for expansion and floor joints. Some Polyurethane Sealants including Idealseal Auto-Marine are also safe to use on ponds, aquariums and terrariums.