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How to choose the right sealant for the job

Whether you’re an experienced professional or an aspiring DIYer joining legions of Brits in sharpening their skills, you’ll encounter all manner of tasks requiring an effective sealant. However, you might not know that different jobs often require very different solutions, and it can be vital to choose the right one.

When you need to make something watertight, here are five of the likeliest candidates for your sealant.

Acrylic caulk

This is one of the most effective solutions for projects at home thanks to a few factors. The first is that it’s odour-free, so it won’t disrupt your comfort when you’ve finished the job. Another is that it’s extremely well suited to being painted over after it’s set, making it easier for you to ensure that everything looks seamless and stylish once your work is complete. If you’re doing some work on stairs or floorboards, for example, it’s an ideal option – and, while it typically includes latex, latex-free variants are available to get around allergies.

However, while acrylic caulk offers a moderate level of water resistance – so can be used in some parts of a kitchen or bathroom – it’s likely that you’ll want to go in a different direction for those jobs.

Silicone

Silicone sealants, by contrast, are not only waterproof but highly resistant to discolouration and mould. If you’re replacing fittings in the kitchen, then, silicone might be the right material for you. Its ability to withstand extreme temperatures even when exposed to the weather also makes it suitable for work on the outside of a building, or around windows.

Resin

Resins, which are applied as a viscous paste but set rigidly when given time to cure, are among the most versatile options. It’s no more unusual to see a strong resin used in art than in the parts of a jet liner, with both natural and synthetic variations that play to different strengths in terms of cure time, durability and chemical resistance.

Polyurethane

A polyurethane sealant is one of the most durable types on the market, with extremely high levels of weather resistance and the strength and flexibility to fasten to masonry, pipes and ducts. It’s much more likely to be suitable for construction professionals, for example, than DIY enthusiasts but, if you find yourself considering repair work for your roof, it certainly could be applicable for such things.

Hybrid

Unsurprisingly, given the name, hybrid sealants are designed to offer some of the best of both worlds, particularly combining aspects of silicone and polyurethanes thanks to modern advances in technology. Their reduced solvent content helps to ensure a longer shelf-life for your work, while they tend to be among the easiest sealants to apply.

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