Builders and remodelers work hard to professionally install windows, doors and siding for renewed curb appeal and long life. But when the installation is finished, many miss an important detail that can make or break both the long-term performance of the work — choosing the proper sealant.

Instead of considering all the necessary variables — weather, color, type and ease of use — Many installers simply grab whatever’s in the truck to finish the job, but that’s often a mistake. There are a number of variables— such as climate, color, sealant type and ease of use — that can affect the long-term performance of an exterior sealant. To ensure a quality installation, here are four common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Using the wrong kind of sealant. For many installers, silicone is a verb. But silicone is not always the best sealant for every type of substrate. Silicone-based sealants also are prone to dirt, dust, algae and mold and may not provide the best protection against moisture. Newer, more advanced sealants are made to resist dirt, dust, algae, mold and moisture for a weather-proof seal. Additionally, they can be painted just an hour after application without glossing, dulling or cracking.
  2. Disregarding the weather conditions. Installers can’t choose the weather they work in, but they can choose a sealant that works in all weather conditions. Some sealants are susceptible to inclement weather conditions and are limited in temperature range for application. For example, basic latex base sealants should not be applied below 40° F, when raining or when rain is imminent. Likewise, silicone typically will not adhere to wet or damp surfaces. Choosing a sealant such as an elastomeric block co-polymer that can be applied to wet or damp surfaces and in below freezing conditions (down to 20° F.) will allow work to continue in all weather extremes. Advanced sealants are made for multi-surface adhesion and consistent gunning no matter the temperature, yielding a professionally smooth bead on the first application.
  3. Spending too much time and effort tooling. Substrates such as fiber cement siding or wood siding require a lot of sealant for detail and finishing work. And a big part of that work is tooling, messy exacting work that adds lots of extra time to a job. Advanced elastomeric block co-polymer sealants are self-tooling. As they cure they release solvent and shrink slightly, automatically leaving a concave or flat bead without the need for messy, time-consuming manual tooling. On big jobs, using a self-tooling sealant can save untold hours, leading to better efficiency and higher profits.
  4. Working in a color palette that’s too limiting. Homeowners are picky about details such as sealant matching the siding or trim, so installers need to be just as exacting — or risk unhappy customers. Better sealants come color-matched with top building material manufacturers’ substrates and offer hundreds of options within those color spectrums. Top sealant manufacturers also offer easy-to-use, mobile-friendly color matching tools that make finding the right color a snap.

Clearly installers need to choose their exterior sealants carefully to achieve professional results. But you can take the guess work out of choosing the right one for most daily tasks by selecting elastomeric block co-polymer sealants. They work in a variety of conditions and applications, and maintain their aesthetic appeal.

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