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DIY Silicone Lessons via DIY Struggles in Handling Industrial Strength Compounds

I have been paying my dues in the niche of silicone adhesives - you might have read my first discussion about using these rather high-on-DIY spirit compounds that make life a lot easier for guys like me who just getting around how to do small mend jobs around the house. Our living space is rather big for just two folks. The society here has been lethargic in the upkeep. As a result, many irritating things like small cavities and damp spots continue to bother us. This time, I have been proactive in using materials that I can easily buy from Amazon to turn into some sort of a handyman, closer to what constitutes the definition of a family man for me. With some weeks of constant jobs and testing, I have concluded some handy information for you, i.e. if you want to understand how useful silicone can be provided you are using the right type and yes, there are types here to handle:

Type 1 - standard silicone that is dexterous and transparent

This is the most standard, most commonly available of all silicone sealants and adhesives. It is naturally transparent and sticks rather well. The consistency is more fluid rather than being sticky - a problem you will find when handling the black type for the first time. For starters in this segment, I would say don't look beyond this variety. Get used to applying it, especially in tight corners and cleaning it up which can be really challenging if you don't know how to prepare the application zone and the surrounding surfaces. The curing time is just about a day. Once dried, the transparent silicone looks like a very thin layer of dried glue that can stick to nearly everything. I have used this for sealing spaces and unwanted cavities in and around:
  • window sills
  • doors
  • door sills
  • tiles
  • metal brackets on walls
  • glass panels
  • cracks around corners of room
  • crevices around the washroom area

Type 2 - black silicone that will challenge you in every way

This is the second most common variety of silicone compounds out there, particularly if you need it for more weather-protecting applications. The first impression is that of a tar-like consistency. Touch it and you realize that your initial impressions are not all wrong. Black silicone is sticky, rather difficult to handle if you are not wearing gloves. This also brings me to a very critical part of the discussion. Always wear some sort of gloves or protective wear when handling silicone sealants. They can be harsh on the skin and the black type sticks for saving its dear life! Black silicone takes a longer time to cure. The packaging itself often says this might take up to 2 days. This can be a bit irritating if you are repairing surfaces that are used daily like around the sink or the sitting toilet. Here, you need to have some backup arrangement because moisture exposure during the curing stage means lesser performance after drying. Things I have noticed about black silicone adhesive or sealant:

- always cover your hands
- if you get it on your skin, wipe with a dry towel rather than washing with soap
- it smears easily but flows a bit too much at times
- takes more tidying-up as compared to transparent silicone
- this is the other extreme of silicone sealants with white caulk-like silicone in the middle
- once cured, black silicone adhesive has more than impressive performance
- it tolerates heat rather well

Type 3 - white, caulk-like silicone that is positioned midway...most balanced

This is the most balanced type of silicone sealant, not too flowy or too thick. The consistency is just about perfect, and this is perhaps why it is recommended as a caulk-like silicone too. White silicone is not really that sticky. It binds well but won't hold properly unless it is caved within surrounding surfaces. This makes it the ideal cavity filler. The better option if you are working in places like bathrooms that need more white lines rather than any type of dark shades that can make the place look ugly. I have used white caulk for cavity filling in walls surrounding kitchen cabinets and visually, this is perhaps the most aesthetically perfect form of silicone sealants and fillers.

One thing more about silicone filler compounds:

  • Some are sold as being neutral while others say acidic curing
  • This refers to the curing process
  • Acetic acid is found in silicone compounds that cure acidic
  • This creates an odor that is really not a big problem unless you are allergic like me
  • If this bothers you, try "neutral curing silicone" - as easily available and just a few more bucks!

I seriously recommend keeping a few pieces of towels, towel-like rags, or plain rags that are disposable. This is because, despite your best intentions and maximum precautions, you are most likely to make some contact with silicone adhesives. And these are not easily washed off. You have to dry wipe the compound away. Directly washing it under the tap can make it messier. I am not averse to using my hand or fingers too, without any protection, when the silicone filler has to be routed inside hard-to-reach crevices and gaps where the nozzle cannot be moved around.


1 comment:

  1. My most recent house work using silicones has been sealing away small duct spaces and taping gaps. I have also used the clear transparent type of silicone for ensuring that some of the smaller potters for plants placed on the balcony don't fall off - here, I am using silicone as an adhesive and the good thing is that it does not react to sunlight or water.

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