This is a question that we hear quite often. There are many different kinds of sealant and adhesive and choosing the right one for a job is not always straight forward. We hope that the following provides you with a better understanding of the options, so that you may choose the correct product for the job.
Some silicones offer super strong adhesion, some perform better as a waterproof sealant, while other may be better equiped to handle extremes of temperature.
Things to Consider
To be sure of selecting the correct sealant you need to first have a good idea of the environment in which the sealant will be used, the primary purpose of the product (to seal or to stick) and the materials on which the product will be used.
Knowing where you intend to use the sealant is vital as there may be some characteristics that will be particularly challenging for some sealants, while no problem for others. Typical questions to ask yourself are: Will the sealant be used inside or out? Will it be exposed to high levels of rain or other moisture? Is it a high humidity area, such as a bathroom? Does the environment experience extreme temperatures?
Consider whether the product is to be used primarily as an adhesive or as a sealant - some offer a stronger bond and are designed to be used more as an alternative to mechanical fixings like nails. Also, consider if the bond should be rigid or flexible. Some sealants, referred to as 'high modulus', provide a more rigid bond and suit applications where little or no movemet is expected or desired, while ''low modulus products allow greater flexibility and movement.
Knowing the materials on which you wish to use the product is also vital, for two reasons. Firstly, the effectivness of the bond - not all products are compatible with all materials. A sealant may offer little or no bond to one material, while being the ideal choice for another. Secondly, the stability of the materials and the product. Some silicones can leach chemicals that may discolour or damage the material to which its applied and vise versa.
Comparing Sealant & Adhesive Products
We have created two compatibility charts that we hope you will find useful. One makes it easier to choose a product that fits with where you intend to use it and the other allows you to check that it is compatible with the materials that it will be applied to.
Environment Compatability of Silicone Sealant and Adhesives (click to enlarge)
Compatible Materials for Silicone Sealants and Adhesives (click to enlarge)
Buying Silicone Sealant & Adhesive
I hope that this information has been of use to you. You will see that the above charts quote particular products, if you would like to buy any of these products or find out more detailed information about them, please see the following links.