Sealants are a necessary material in construction. They have three main functions:
- Create a protective barrier to prevent substances, air, dust and even insects from passing through
- Fill the gap between two or more surfaces
- Prolong the lifespan of the surface they’re sealing
But to achieve these functions, your sealant must be compatible with the materials you’re joining. There’s a wide variety of sealants & adhesives available, which can be confusing for construction rookies.
Silicone and polyurethane are among the most common sealants for construction projects. Both have their advantages and limitations. It’s essential to understand the characteristics of both sealants so you can choose the ideal one for your project. ;
Silicone adhesives, such as Bryson Trade Series Multi-Use Silcone, are commonly used for basic repairs around the house. But construction jobs also frequently require silicone sealants.
Silicone is an inorganic substance. It is more resistant to ultraviolet rays than polyurethane. Silicone sealants perform better in settings that get plenty of sun. UV rays can cause all sorts of damage to construction materials, from degradation to discolouration. Silicone is also more resistant to excessively high or low temperatures.
Because they’re impervious to UV rays, silicone sealants also offer colour stability. The sun can fade away the colour on some surfaces, lowering the aesthetic appeal of the structure. You won’t have this problem if you use a silicone sealant. Polyurethane, on the other hand, isn’t as resistant to discolouration.
Silicone also adheres well to various surfaces, performing best on metal, tile and glass. However, it is ineffective on wood because of its long curing time.
Another disadvantage of silicone is that it has a low resistance to tear and abrasion. This means it won’t do well on high-contact or high-traffic surfaces. The silicone sealant’s surface is also prone to dirt retention due to static charge.
Polyurethane is an organic substance, unlike silicone. Polyurethane sealants don’t offer the same level of colour stability and temperature resistance as the silicone kind.
But polyurethane sealants also have their advantages. First, they offer better adherence to wood, thanks to its fast curing rates. You can also use a polyurethane sealant on non-primed concrete. However, it doesn’t perform well on glass.
Second, polyurethane holds up better against abrasion than silicone, making it an ideal sealant for high-traffic and high-stress areas. Polyurethane also dries stiffly, whereas silicone cures softly. Although the latter offers more flexibility, the former acts as a true sealant and creates an impenetrable barrier between two surfaces.
Lastly, you can paint over polyurethane, unlike silicone. If there’s a gap you need to fill and hide, use a polyurethane sealant. You can paint the sealant after it dries to make it look good as new.
From these advantages and disadvantages, you’ll see that polyurethane and silicone sealants each have their applications and uses. The choice depends on the needs of your project. If you need assistance in choosing a sealant, consult one of the Bryson team.
Provider of Quality Sealants and Adhesive Products
Bryson, a trusted partner of fit-out and refurbishment contractors, carries an extensive range of sealants and adhesive products. We also offer power tools, fixings and fasteners, PPE and other materials necessary for a safe, efficient construction project.
Contact us or visit our online store to browse our products.