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Is Silicone Good For Waterproofing?

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Skye Rhodes

Items that have gone through silicone waterproofing can last up to 20 years without leaking, yet many people still ask if silicone is good for waterproofing.

Silicone is an inorganic substance made from silicon, oxygen, and carbon.

It’s a popular sealant that is used to create a protective layer whereby water can not pass through.

It’s mostly used on rubber, plastic, and metal due to its high heat resistance and ability to stay watertight for long.

A broken joint fixed with silicone will serve you for a whopping 20 years without leaking.

This is one of the great factors that make silicone the chief adhesive sealant among many other choices.

Why Do You Need Waterproof?

How does it feel when you’re all dressed up for that important meeting, you’re running late and suddenly the heavens decide to drench you?

Yeah right, you curse the heavens for wetting you. Waterproof fabrics, coats, and umbrellas save the day.

So why do we need to be waterproof?

To save a dime on that leaking bathtub that will break your bank if you had to uproot the entire tub.

Silicone is great for most plumbing pipes in aquariums or ships that demand the ability to stay watertight throughout.

Silicone waterproofing on metals is used to prevent rusting.

This is especially done on metals that are mostly used underwater.

These waterproofing joints are very important when dealing with metals or objects that are or will always be used underwater, assembled near water, or even be exposed to rain. 

Waterproofing sealants are more of rubbery plastic, flexible and they do have a high heat resistance combined with a low toxic rate.

These characteristics make the silicone sealants more advisable and the best resort in sealing aquariums, ships plumbing pipes, and other items that are subjected to water.

Silicone being synthetic and an inorganic substance means that it will not deteriorate quickly.

The estimated time for the silicone sealant to start deteriorating is around twenty years.

But all that relies on the UV lights, moisture, temperatures, the chemical properties of the metal, and other things.

Most metal structures or products rely on silicone adhesive sealants for protection against the negative impacts of moisture and water.

To get the most effective waterproof result, it’s important to know the location and chemical properties of both materials to be glued together.

Silicone is a multipurpose adhesive and sealant that creates a waterproof, protective seal, and can last up to 20 years with proper care.

The Many Uses Of Silicone Waterproofing

Silicone was voted as the best among sealants because of the defining characteristics it possesses.

Its elasticity

Silicone retains its flexibility even after serious vulcanization and this quality allows it to fix a substrate material that has fractures or minor cracks.

Its increased resistance

Silicone is reputed to be an essentially inorganic material all because of the refinement and process it undergoes.

This makes it more resistant to acid rain compared to the other sealants.

Its longevity

This aspect works hand in hand with the resistance.

The longevity of the silicone sealant makes it withstand and maintain a waterproof seal than the siloxane counterparts.

If you love doing things yourself, you’ll love waterproofing your tent, tarp, outdoor seat covers, or your other fabric using silicone.

In most cases, your tent will be made from a waterproof fabric but the holes on the hems lose their ability to drain water.

You need not worry, a walk to your convenience store can sort this effectively.

Loctite Clear Silicone Waterproof can be applied to the hems and let dry within twenty-four hours.

While outdoors camping you may feel that you’ve run out of water-resistant clothes, in which case silicone will come in handy.

A simple DIY application over any fabric will ensure that no water can pass through.

Backyard chairs that require you to cover them with polythene during the wet season can be spruced up with a silicone layer and save you the worry of drenching while you’re away.

You’ll be assured of a non-fading effect over the years.

Silicones can be used as sealants, adhesives, or even as a lubricant; and their low toxicity makes them useful and ideal for a wide variety of products and industries.

Other silicone uses are as follows so do not hesitate to try it on the following areas if you feel an urge to repair and fix some surfaces:

  • Thermal electrical insulation
  • Voltage line insulators
  • Various automotive applications
  • Clothing including sportswear and undergarments
  • Medical devices
  • Home repairs
  • Hardware
  • Aquarium manufacture
  • Noise-reducing applications

Types of Silicone Sealants

Silicone sealants come in different packs and hold different qualities and abilities though they all strive to do the same job of waterproofing.

They have their attributes and some of these sealants are known for combining their attributes from the various types that are listed below for you.

There are various types of silicone sealants with different uses and capabilities but most are not exclusive and a good number of them will combine attributes:

Low modulus or High modulus

Mostly silicone sealants are described or classified as high modulus or low modulus.

The high modulus silicone makes a stiffer and more rigid seal that comes out beautifully.

On the other hand, the low modulus silicone is reputed to be more elastic and can accommodate an extra movement without breaking off the seal.

Here the choice falls on you on whether you want to go for the high modulus or the low modulus silicone sealant.

Why is this part important?

This is because the category helps you out in identifying the kind of job you want your silicone sealant to rate or give you. 

Acetoxy silicone sealants or neutral alkoxy silicone sealants?

Acetoxy silicone sealants are widely used products since they cure quickly and are more rigid.

The acetoxy silicone sealants release acetic acid that usually inhibits a smell similar to that of vinegar.

As for neutral alkoxy silicone sealants, they have greater properties on many different materials like glass, aluminum, stone, lead, masonry, and others.

On the downside, it can take time to dry up due to humidity, temperature, or thickness.

Acid cure or neutral cure?

Neutral cure sealants work best on wood and metal surfaces while acid cure sealants work efficiently on non-porous surfaces such as glazed tiles and glass.

However, do not forget that they can corrode plastic parts too.

High-Temperature Silicone

Can withstand temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius, fitting its role well for seals between high-temperature surfaces in industrial equipment.

Food Safe Silicone – Designed to be very low in toxicity for application in food contact areas/surfaces.

Rutland Products 76C 500 Degree High Heat Silicone Seal

This particular silicone seal forms a flexible and tough seal.

This is a great partner when it comes to fiberglass, stone, wood, brick, glass, and metals.

With Rutland Products you can now work on surfaces like ceramic tiles, fireplace inserts, repair solar panels, and many more places you feel like sealing.

Sil-Bond RTV 6500 High-Temperature Industrial Construction Grade Silicone seal

The best choice when dealing with hot surfaces especially ones dealing with air pollution control, baghouses, precipitators, expansion joints, damper seals and test ports, grills, stoves among others.

Its compatibility with hot surfaces and high heat is arguably perfect.

Sanitary Silicone

This is specifically developed to include fungicides to reduce mold formation.

Best for areas frequently exposed to moisture.

This is one product that is generously blended with a fungicide to help reduce and eradicate any mold forming when exposed to moisture. 

Everbuild 500WH Bath and Sanitary Silicone Sealant

This unique silicone sealant dries off quickly upon application.

This product is a perfect choice for your shower cubicles and bathtubs.

Since it’s designed and manufactured to have a fungicide in it, you no longer need to worry about the mold formation in those areas since this silicone has it under control and it’s got you covered.

Glazing Silicone 

Specially designed to cure into a very clear finish for glassworks, it gives a long-lasting adhesion to glass. 

A sealant that is specifically used when dealing with glasses.

It does a great job of sealing the edges of windows and glass as well.

It’s also known to cure the glazing panels – a great example of this is Everbuild 225BL 310ml.

This silicone product dries and cures quickly not picking any dirt up.

It’s and will forever be flexible; the manufacturer designed it to have a waterproof seal and is also temperature resistant.

It’s a perfect partner and solution in sealing glass, fixing PVCu trims, timber, aluminum gutter sealing, and many more surfaces and glasses.

Neutral Cure Silicone 

The curing process of silicone gives off acetic acid and a vinegar-like smell which may hurt materials being sealed.

This is specially made not to smell.

This particular brand is also another type of silicone sealant that is reputed to be of good quality and is the best resort.

Frame Sealant Silicone 

Designed to withstand frequent exposure to UV radiation and other extreme weather.

It’s commonly used on outside surfaces and can accommodate a lot of movement and is available in many colors to match different outside surfaces.

This particular frame silicone sealant is available in several vibrant colors and they all match with the wood and other common framing materials.

This on an average deals with the sealing of door frames and window frames too.

GE Supreme 100% Silicone sealant

Well for this one, you get to save your money, time and it’s fast.

Drying up is not a problem at all, durability is its goal, sealing firmly is its ability.

It can withstand water after one hour after application, GE Supreme 100% Silicone sealant builds adhesion quickly.

Its Moldfree protection helps to keep off any mildew or mold forming.

With this product, you do not need to worry about the ceramic tiles getting damaged because they will not. 

Aquarium Silicone

Momentive RTV108-300ML

Good glass adhesion and low in toxicity for aquarium applications and best for fish tanks or where other building silicons are discouraged.

We all have to agree that your aquarium cannot do without silicone as a sealant.

In instances where your tanks begin to leak, then Momentive rtv108-300ml silicone comes to the rescue.

A small bead is completely enough to fix the tank issue.

But then using the wrong type of silicone in the aquarium can kill all those aquatic animals you keep.

The perfect aquarium silicone sealant is one that has no additives like GE 1200 Series Construction Silicone Sealant.

Some silicone sealants are worth checking out their components, especially ones that claim to be mold-free, if not taken into consideration the fungicides might cause fatalities.

So try sticking to pure silicone sealants when out shopping for a fix-up of your aquarium.

General Purpose and Builders Silicone

Widely used and most readily available and common places.

Made to be durable and sticks well to many building materials.

Gorilla All-Purpose Instant Grab Construction Adhesive

This construction adhesive sealant is tough and versatile.

It proudly boasts of a water-resistant formula that makes the seal firmly attach itself instantly without breaking the bond.

One great fact about this particular product is that you can paint it after it has dried.

With this quality, you can now match the seal with the color of your surface.

This product is easy to dispense and it’s also odorless.

Other Specialist Silicones 

Silicone’s ease of manufacture and shaping properties means that unique adaptations are still being formulated for very specific uses like potting assemblies, circuit board coating.

If indoor plumbing piping goes wrong whereby your toilet seat breaks, bath tap twists or the bottom of your loo looks loose, silicone waterproofing is your maiden solution.

Simply apply a fresh coat of this adhesive and let it do its magic.

It’s important to note that you cannot paint over silicone, it’d be best to check out your favorite color from your manufacturer before purchasing. 

Movement

The question that immediately rolls into your mind after deciding on the modulus is, to what rate is the movement allowed?

This is a testy part and also one of the greatest reasons why our silicone sealants tend to fail us is because we always expect the sealants to accommodate more room than it was meant to.

These silicone sealants are known to have limited adhesive properties when put under tension in shear loads.

All this happens when the bead of the sealant pulls off from any side of the joint.

Normally or averagely, the bead of your sealant should not increase the past ten percent limit of its original size. 

According to the experts, a silicone sealant bead with a ten mm width should be able to withstand a stretch of up to 11mm without any resistance or failure.

This is where you apply mathematics concepts and do the calculations of the number of meters you want your silicone sealant to cover.

There are also other techniques you can use to improve the success rate of these silicone sealants for them to withstand the high movements.

There is one method where you apply the sealant when the joint is at the far point of reaching its expected movement then you immediately allow the joint to resume to its normal position once the sealant is cured.

In real-life applications, we will go for a bath.

What you should not do is apply the sealant without filling your bath with water since the sealant will not be effective.

In other words, you should fill your bathtub with water first then apply the sealant remembering to give it time to cure before you decide on emptying or draining the water. 

This will ensure that the sealant is kept under compression when the bath is empty effectively and efficiently avoiding keeping the sealant under tension when the bath is full of water.

Silicone Cons

Silicone has arguably very few disadvantages that include;

  • It’s limited in stretchability and will break when the stretch limit is exceeded
  • Silicon generally supports mold growth, but the fungicide induced sanitary will delay any mold formation though it will not prevent severe mold attacks
  • Can be messy and requires some skill to be applied neatly

Tips To Consider while Applying The Silicone Sealants

Silicone sealant is one product that is easy to apply without the need for experts.

If you are in dire need to seal your bathtub or any home surfaces or other surfaces then silicone sealant is your chief partner and the best resort.

You have to make sure surfaces have to be clean and that there are no scraps of the previous silicone sealants.

Do not forget to dry the surfaces before setting out to apply them.

If you are using a caulking gun to apply, push the silicone ahead of the nozzle.

For those using cartridges, make sure you cut the nozzle at a clear 45 degrees angle to obtain the perfect bead head.

This will take lesser than time than drying which requires a minimum of twenty-four hours.

Silicone can be applied overhead, on surfaces without sagging, slumping, running off, and can also be applied to a sidewall joint.

When bonding materials with sealants do apply a bead of adhesive silicone on one surface and then combine the two parts immediately letting it cure.

Most of all do not forget to apply pressure to ensure that the surfaces are fully attached.

Silicone sealant being a clear gel, it’s wise to use lighting when applying it indoors for enhancing visibility otherwise you might get the details wrongly or you might end up messing things.

Another simple do-it-yourself task is that in cases where you are in a rush or a hurry you can simply hasten the process by adding damp chalk dust and mix it thoroughly and the drying becomes faster and consumes less time.

Just like any other product you might purchase from your local mart, you need to confirm and check the best before date.

Sometimes it’s good to be cautious.

Though the product might have a long life, the shelf life of the product is always limited and it might become solid hard inside the tube because of not being utilized at the earliest time possible.

When applying I prefer to use my fingers since it’s the most efficient tool in spreading it.

Still do mind your hands and clean them with a release agent that eradicates all the sticky silicone sealant that had held on to your fingers.

As for the removal and cleanup, wet silicone can be removed by a solvent known as isopropyl alcohol.

Do not forget to clean up all your equipment too.

One of the best qualities about silicone sealants is that they are perfectly comfortable to any room temperature and are greatly resistant when it comes to withstanding all other chemicals, weathering, moisture, and other threats that might come along the way.

These qualities make it a great choice and the perfect friend you need under these circumstances.

Final Thoughts

This super rubber-like substance is a revolutionary invention that continues to evolve in application and use.

It’s one of those few products as much at home in a kitchen cabinet as it’s in an industrial factory warehouse shelf, common everyday use as well as suited for critical precision specific industrial use.

Silicone is great at waterproofing and can resist the ingress of water well, such that it can comfortably be used in wet environments or even underwater to specified depths.

It’s therefore right to state that silicone waterproofing is good and will here with us for a long time.

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