Let’s start with the function of sealants. They are employed to connect and join various parts and materials to the main structure of the building and to each other. Your commercial structure will perform better and last longer by sealing out water, humidity, UV light, and other threats.
Sealants come in different compositions. The varying types aren’t better than or worse than other options, but rather more suitable or less suitable for the job at hand. Your choice should come down to evaluating the performance properties of the different compounds and what they will be used for. Sealants are typically classified according to three factors:
- Chemical type (polyurethanes, poly-sulfides, silicones, acrylics)
- Elasticity – caulks, plastomeric and elastomeric sealants)
- Form – supplied in cartridges for extrusion on-site, pre-formed (dry tapes or ribbons), or hot-melt sealants
Certain formulations will be more effective in closing the gaps between different elements and construction surfaces, preventing moisture and substances from permeating the exterior and mechanical joints.
In addition to filling the gaps between two or more building components and providing an impermeable barrier, sealants provide the critical benefit of flexibility. Flexibility enables your commercial building to withstand the inherent movement between construction materials. These shifts occur from variations in temperature that create unavoidable expansion or shrinkage in the building’s structure.
Adding Sealant Review to your Maintenance Schedule
Now that the importance of sealants has been established, let’s move on to ensuring their continued efficacy. Proper inspection isn’t difficult but requires a regular review for deterioration. Look for signs of cracking, wear, peeling, and disbanding. Home in on windows and doors, window seals, sidings, roofing and balcony joints, air vents, Glass Thermo and expansion joints, and exterior lights. Ideally, this examination is done annually, between the spring and fall months, to allow for repair time prior to the onset of winter weather.
Regardless of the sealant class your structure demands, its role in protecting the building envelope is essential to its structural integrity. And maintaining that integrity through consistent review of your building’s sealing preserves the investment that your commercial structure is.