Introduction to Marine Silicone Sealant

Introduction to Marine Silicone Sealant

Marine sealants are used to close gaps existing between two points and make them air & watertight in marine commercial or leisure vehicles, so their functions are similar to any regular silicone sealant.

Then what makes marine sealants different from other types of silicone sealants available in the market? The thing that makes them stand apart is their formulation & functionality.

The formulation of marine sealant is stronger as they have to survive and stay intact in harsh marine conditions. If instead of marine sealant, a regular sealant that is comparatively weaker is applied then the marine vehicle is at risk of being plagued with problems like leakage, rust, and water flooding.

Recently, there has been an increase in the demand for marine vehicles as a result of a shift in the consumer preference for sustainable transport options, as they don’t cause adverse harm to the environment.

The increase in the production of marine vehicles has also impacted the sales of marine sealants, positively.

A rise in sealant manufacturers providing marine sealant in the market has been observed. This has led to an increase in the options of marine sealants available in the market, which can be confusing.

Having many options at hand can diverge you from choosing the right sealant dealer.

Before finalizing the sealant provider for marine sealant, there are certain criteria & properties of marine sealants that must be met by the sealant provider.

But before understanding the criterias, let’s discuss the types of marine sealants available in the market.

Yes, there is more than one type of marine sealant available in the market. Each of these marine sealants has a different formulation, application, and properties.

Types Of Marine Sealants

There are mainly 4 types of marine sealants available in the sealant market. These 4 categories have different formulations, properties, and applications.

These three points differentiate one marine sealant from another.

It’s important to understand the functionality of each marine sealant to choose a sealant that is the best fit for the job to be undertaken.

1. Polyurethane

It’s one of the most commonly used marine sealants. Even though it is a sealant, it comes with strong adhesion properties that can hold two substrates together.

Despite its strong adhesion property, a polyurethane sealant doesn’t showcase good resistance against chemicals. The seal is easily damaged if it comes in contact with chemicals.

Polyurethane sealant is used for wood, metal, and plastic surfaces

2. Silicone Sealant

The most commonly used & reliable marine sealant. Marine silicone sealant is quite popular among marine vehicle construction because of its versatility.

A marine silicone sealant works on any substrate and forms a strong airtight & watertight seal. It bonds well with plastic, wood, and metal.

The other benefit of choosing marine silicone sealant is the resistance it provides against harmful chemicals, water, and other potential damage factors.

The seal produced by silicone sealant is super flexible and its application process is one of the easiest.

3. Polysulfide

The properties of polysulfide marine sealant share some similarities with silicone sealant. Like silicone sealant, it’s easy to work with & is versatile. It also portrays strong resistance against harmful chemicals.

This sealant has decent strength and adhesion quality, the seal produced by it is flexible, but not as much as the seal produced by a silicone sealant.

Polysulfide sealant can be applied on metal, wood, and plastic. Though it isn’t compatible with all kinds of plastic.

4. Polyether

Polyether marine sealant is one of the best marine sealants available in the market. And many factors contribute to Polyether sealant being one of the best options.

It has good sealing and adhesion properties and comes with great resistance to chemicals and saltwater.

This sealant is mostly used for below-waterline applications in marine vehicles. It can be applied to wood, metal, and plastic, but only to a few types of plastic.

After understanding the properties of each type of marine sealant, let’s proceed toward where in a marine vehicle, marine sealant is applied.

Application Of Sealant In Marine Vehicles: Above & Below The Waterline

Marine sealants are mainly used to fill gaps between the deck, hull, and windows. Each of these applications demands a different set of properties from the sealants.

Let us understand it clearly with examples.

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1. Bonding Windows:

While closing the gaps existing between the window and the wall, the chosen sealant must offer flexibility and mobility to the window frame so the window can move freely.

Other than the dynamic seal, it’s important to choose a waterproof sealant for the job. This property will make the seal last longer without any damage.

2. Deck to the hull

Hull means the exterior/body of the ship or a leisure boat. In the process of glazing deck to hull, minute spaces are left unclosed, these gaps are to be locked using a sealant.

For this job, the selected sealant should be stainless, a sealant that leaves stain marks will damage the aesthetic of the vehicle. Other than that it should also have average adhesion properties.

The sealant applied on the deck should be weather-resistant, so that it can stand against salt water, chemicals, and other sea extremities.

It’s always advisable to choose a sealant that is dynamic and can work on multiple substrates, as while dealing with marine vehicles, the three main elements used in construction are plastic, metal, and wood.

A silicone sealant works on all surfaces, making it a perfect choice for marine vehicle construction.

Circling back to the information we promised to give at the beginning, below are the properties that you should check for in a marine sealant before finalizing on your silicone sealant manufacturer.

Properties to check for in Marine Sealant

It’s important to check against all these properties because they are a huge factor in determining the strength and stability of the ship.

1. Flexibility

Sailing on water bodies requires a lot of movement and rigidity can bring the vehicle down hindering a smooth sail.

This is why the sealant in use should be flexible, allowing movement while also keeping the structure intact.

2. Resistance

To withstand the extremities of the sea and be seaworthy, it’s necessary for the sealant to be resistant to chemicals, salt water, thunder, UV rays and other weather/sea extremities that can affect the structural integrity.

3. Low VOC

It’s necessary to choose a sealant that has a very low chemical emission. This is important because the emission of harmful chemicals will also cause harm to marine life.

To avoid such a scenario, it’s recommended to choose a sealant that is low on VOC.

4. Compatibility with the Substrates

As mentioned before, the sealant should be compatible with more than 1 substrate, especially metal, plastic, and wood.

As these three are the most commonly used elements in the construction of marine vehicles

5. Curing Time

Some sealants cure quickly, while some sealant never fully cures. When it comes to marine vehicles a quick curing time is beneficial, as the vehicle becomes ready to face the sea faster.

Polyurethane & silicone sealant cures faster than other marine sealants, so at the time of application if the weather seems damp and cloudy.We hope this article has helped you to get a clear understanding of the marine sealants available in the market, their properties, and their applications.

If you have any more queries related to it, please drop them in the comment box and we shall address them soon.

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