How to choose the right sealant for the job

With a wide range of sealant and adhesive products available, it can be difficult, even for experienced tradespeople, to navigate their way through the options. Andy Cummins, Senior Product Manager at Geocel takes a look at the choices on offer and highlights the benefits of using products that are specifically formulated for the job at hand.

From small everyday tasks to large scale projects, sealants and adhesives play a fundamental role in almost every trade throughout the construction sector. Consequently, the market has been flooded with a vast array of sealant products and inevitably, product quality varies considerably. Applying poor sealant or adhesive during a project can lead to problems further down the line when these jobs may need to be revisited, which can often be costly, both in terms of time and money.

The plumbing sector is no different, with water damage one of the most common reasons for insurance claims in the UK. As such, it is crucial that plumbers can identify high-quality sealant and adhesive products that have been formulated specifically for the job at hand.

To identify the ideal products, plumbers should look at three key attributes:

1. Compatibility with substrates.

2. Correct sealant chosen for joint design or expected movement.

3. Correct sealant for service conditions (i.e. durability/fungicide).

By sourcing a product with the exact characteristics required, those within the trade can complete jobs quickly, whilst also offering their customers long term solutions.

Currently, the sealant market is dominated by two traditional sealant types – silicones and acrylics – as well as MS Polymers. By having a strong understanding of these three sealant-types and what distinguishes each one, plumbers will be well-equipped to identify the right product for a job.

Silicones

Silicone sealant solutions are highly versatile, adhering well to a wide range of construction substrates. They also offer outstanding UV and colour stability as well as extreme temperature, water and elastic resistance. As such, silicone sealants provide the ideal solution for expansion and connection joints in sanitary areas, floors, walls, and glazing applications.

Trade Mate Sanitary Sealant, for example is a silicone sealant that is designed for sealing around sanitary units and non-porous surfaces. Following application, this product is ready to be used within one hour, and will not crack, shrink or discolour.

Acrylics

Acrylic solutions are better suited to smaller tasks such as jointing, caulking and filling gaps on materials. They also have fast overpainting times, helping tradespeople to complete a job faster. However, acrylic solutions are not suitable for applications where there is high movement or regular exposure to water.

Nevertheleless, Acrylic solutions such as Geocel Quickgrip Supergrab can provide a useful tool for plumbers. This adhesive can be applied internally and externally or used to replace nails and screws. With an extremely fast grip time, and high bond strength, this solvent free adhesive is ideal for projects such as kitchen installations.

MS Polymer

MS Polymer solutions offer many of the benefits of traditional alternatives – with the paintability of acrylics and UV stability of silicones. However, they also have unique features. For example, MS Polymers do not stain natural stone, meaning they are ideal for projects that involve sealing marble or granite kitchen work tops.

In addition, MS Polymers are suitable for use for internal and external applications and can be applied to wet or dry materials. As such, they are a very reliable and versatile solution for plumbing applications. Products like THE WORKS PRO, for example, can bond and seal virtually any material and can even cure underwater. In addition, there is no shrinking, no staining and no need for additional fixings after most applications.

Whilst it is crucial that tradespeople are able to differentiate between these sealant options, it is also very important to source sealant products from a reliable and experienced supplier. This is the best way to guarantee you are specifying the right product for a job.

Geocel, for example, has been in the sealant market for 30 years and is able to provide high quality products that are carefully designed for the job in hand. Its Trade Mate range includes a number of other sealant solutions for plumbing applications, such as Trade Mate Plumber Joint, Plumber Thread, Plumber Grease and Plumber Flue – each individually formulated to deliver the most desirable characteristics for the application.

In environments where water ingress can cause significant damage to a customer’s property, it is crucial that the right sealant and adhesive products are being selected for each individual job. That is why it is crucial that tradespeople are aware of the different sealant and adhesive types available and recognise where trusted suppliers can help.

For more information on Geocel, please visit: www.geocel.co.uk.

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