Sticking with Correct Sealant Application

Learning how to properly seal building penetrations will help prevent the permeation of air, gas, noise, dust, fire, smoke, or liquid from one location through a barrier into another.  "Although representing less than 1 percent of the structure, sealants' correct application is critical to the water and airtightness of the building. Since metal substrates expand and contract with changes in temperature, sealants (they consist of polymers that allow flexibility) aid metal panel joints that experience dynamic movement." Mark Robins, Senior Editor, Metal Construction News.

Sealants are often called upon to perform several functions at once, whether it's performance and/or cosmetic related.  Depending on the nature of the application, a sealant may require very little strength or great strength.  Not only is it important to apply the sealant correctly, it's also important to select the appropriate type of sealant for the application type.  The sealant must be matched properly to the substrate to ensure both compatibility and performance.

No matter the type of building or type of sealant (from paste-like materials to flowable sealants/adhesives), the same principles of construction apply.  Knowing how to properly apply them is a must so that they work effectively.

Follow Manufacturer's Instructions

It's always best to follow manufacturer's instructions in order to understand how to best use product features. Manufacturer instructions contain specific details about the product that are not readily available anywhere else. Manuals and guides inform consumers about product specifications. Without this information, you may not understand how to properly apply that specific sealant. 

Training, Training, and More Training! 

Training and experince is an invaluable tool.  The more you know about selecting and applying sealants the less errors you'll make which in turn means you'll be more cost-efficient in the construction and maintenance phases.

Practice Makes Perfect

Even with all of the training you may receive it's always best to still practice sealing joints, etc.  And never hesitate to ask for help!  

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Resources:

Metal Construction News's article, Sticking with Correct Sealant Application, is a useful reference on how to avoid common errors when applying sealants to select applications.

Laminators Incorporated also has a handy list of adhesives that work hand in hand with their architectural products and installation systems.