A wide range of products make up the construction sealant industry. It is important for a builder to understand the difference between different types of sealants to be able to choose the best product for an application. It is also important to consider the environment that will be affected by the sealant as well as the long-term performance of the sealant. Taking the time to choose a sealant that will perform correctly is an investment that is repaid many times over the life of a building.

Wacker Chemie AG is one of the world’s leading silicone Sealant Manufacturers and offers a comprehensive product portfolio of high-performance sealants, caulks, and adhesives. Its silicone products are used in a broad spectrum of industries including transportation, general assembly, and building & construction applications such as expansion joints, sanitary area sealing, window assembly, and joint sealing. Their silicone sealant products are available in a variety of formulations. These include high-performance elastomeric silicon, polyurethane and hybrid, and are available in different viscosities.

The flexibility of a sealant is another important consideration to take into account when choosing a product. It is helpful to ask the manufacturer for the Flexibility Rating, which is usually noted as a Class number (C920). The higher the class number, the more flexible the product is. It is also good to get the flexibility data in writing, so that it can be referenced when specifying the product.

Another factor to consider when selecting a sealant is its ability to handle temperature changes. Many climates and applications see temperatures that are quite high, and it is important to know if a sealant can endure this. It is helpful to know if a sealant can withstand high heat in order to avoid failures such as bubbling, cracking, discoloration, swelling, and softening.

It is also helpful to consider the compatibility of a sealant with adjacent materials when considering an application. It is common for a sealant to be placed in direct contact with other construction materials, and it is important to know whether or not the sealant can be used with these other materials without affecting the sealant’s cure profile or ultimate performance. Often this can be determined by performing a compatibility test or by simply asking the manufacturer.

A sealant must be able to withstand the forces that are applied to it, especially in sloped sealants. It is helpful to know the dead load capacity that a sealant can withstand, as well as the point at which the load causes either an adhesive or cohesive failure (creep rupture). It is helpful to ask for this data from the manufacturer, and if it is not readily available it can be requested.

Other factors to consider when selecting a sealant are its toxicity and VOC content. Most regions have imposed stricter regulations on the use of VOC-containing sealants in their buildings, and it is important to find out if a product meets these requirements. It is also helpful to find out if the manufacturer has performed a Life Cycle Assessment, LCA, and Environmental Product Declaration, EPD, for their product.