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What Is the Correct Procedure for Applying Silicone Sealant? 

 October 29, 2020

By  Dale Keese

Silicone sealant is a moisture-resistant substance often used to fill in gaps and cracks around the home while maintaining some degree of elasticity. In order to take full advantage of its properties, you must apply it properly.

To apply silicone sealant first clean the surface and avoid leaving behind any debris. Next, place the tube in the caulking gun, align it properly, and snip its tip open at an angle. Begin applying as evenly as possible, smooth it out and leave to dry for 24 hours.

Improper application of silicone sealant could render it ineffective. You should also learn more about which type of silicone sealant to use and how to handle this substance later on. We’ll address all those topics in this article so please feel free to continue reading.

Applying silicone sealant is a straightforward procedure that you should be able to finish quickly. Do note though that it can take a while to dry. Apply it as soon as possible if you don’t want to keep people from using something for too long.

Follow the steps below for proper silicone sealant application.

Step 1: Prepare the Items Needed

Aside from the silicone sealant itself, you’ll need to prepare some other items for this project. A caulking gun will make application easier, although it is not truly essential. You will also want to ready cleaning items such as soap, a sponge, a towel, and perhaps a portable vacuum. Grab either a pair of scissors or a utility knife as well.

Step 2: Clean the Surface You Want to Seal

Before you even apply the silicone sealant, you first have to prep the surface it will go on. Failing to clean the surface thoroughly can lead to the sealant not binding properly. Its grip could turn out weaker than intended and it may fail to stick to certain spots.

To clean the surface, start by using a soap-drenched sponge to wipe it down. Get to all the nooks and crannies and see to it that even the smallest particles are removed. If you have a portable vacuum at home, use that to clean the surface too.

Once you’re done cleaning the surface, wipe it dry completely with a towel. You can also point a fan at the surface to speed up the drying process.

Step 3: Position the Silicone Sealant inside the Caulking Gun

Pick up the caulking gun now, push on the release and pull out the plunger. Next, grab the tube of sealant and angle it into the caulking gun. Push the tube up into the gun to secure its position.

Work on calibrating the gun next by pressing on the trigger lightly until the plunger makes contact with the tube. At that point, the tube of silicone sealant should be locked into place and you should be able to release its content easily using the trigger.

Step 4: Open the Tube of Silicone Sealant

Get your pair of scissors or utility knife next and cut open the tube of sealant. You want to minimize the size of the hole as much as you can so try to make the cut very close to the tip. It’s also smart to cut the hole at an angle to facilitate even application.

Step 5: Apply the Silicone Sealant

Position yourself at about a 45-degree degree relative to the surface you want to fill. Point the caulking gun to the gap and start pressing on the trigger. This is the tricky part because you have to apply the sealant at the right pace or risk it becoming ineffective.

Applying the sealant too slow along the gap can lead to an accumulation of the substance. The excess sealant won’t do anything and it will just go to waste. Move too quickly and you may not deploy enough sealant to close the gap. 

If you want to perfect your technique, feel free to practice on a separate surface first. 

After you finish applying the sealant, release the trigger and press on the back of the caulking gun to prevent any leakage.

Step 6: Even Out the Sealant over the Gap

You now have to even out the application of the sealant over the opening. To do that, prepare some soapy water in a container and then dip your finger in it.

Use your finger to press on the sealant and push it into the gap evenly. The soap should prevent the silicone from sticking to your fingers. Continue dipping your finger in water whenever it starts to feel dry.

If you don’t want to use your finger to smooth out the sealant, you can also use a spray bottle and a spatula. Fill the spray bottle with the soapy water and spritz the sealant. Follow that by smoothing out the surface with the spatula.

You can also level the sealant by using some tape. Stretch the tape over the sealant to push the substance into the opening. Pull the tape away before the sealant starts clinging to it and you should see even application.

Step 7: Allow the Silicone Sealant to Dry

Unless you used a quick-curing silicone sealant, you will probably have to wait at least 24 hours before the substance dries completely. Steer clear of moving the items next to it until then. If you did use the quick-curing sealant, that should dry up in less than an hour.

What Type of Silicone Sealant Should I Apply?

Silicone sealants are used in all kinds of applications. That’s why you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that different types of it are also available. Let’s talk about those variations below.

Multi-Purpose or Builder’s Silicone

This is probably the easiest to find variant and one used for all kinds of home improvement and repair projects. You’ll often see it used to seal gaps along concrete or wooden surfaces.

Frame Sealant Silicone

This is the type of sealant used along window and door frames. It features terrific weather-resistance as well as elasticity. Frame sealant silicone products are also offered in a variety of colors to enable homeowners to match it to their paint schemes.

Glaze Silicone

Cracked glass in windows may be causing undesirable air flow inside your home. You can address that issue by applying glaze silicone sealant. Since this sealant features a clear finish, it won’t block the view through your window.

Sanitary Silicone

Sanitary silicone is what you want to use if you’re looking to fill in openings inside your kitchen or bathroom. This type of sealant features fungicide in its chemical composition. That fungicide inhibits the growth of mold that would otherwise thrive on moist surfaces.

High-Temperature Silicone

This sealant is formulated to remain in good condition even as it rests atop high-temperature surfaces. Apply it to metal surfaces that tend to get hot or electrical equipment.

Additional Silicone Sealant Variants

Apart from the options already mentioned, you can also find silicone sealants meant to be used on aquariums, inside refrigerators, and ones that dry quickly. Make sure to shop carefully to get the sealant that specifically addresses your home’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Apply Silicone Sealant Without a Caulking Gun?

Yes, it is possible to apply the silicone sealant even if you don’t have a caulking gun. Instead of the gun, take a tube of sealant into your hands and squeeze its contents out. 

Place your hand near the base of the tube and push on it like you would a tube of toothpaste. The same tips for application apply. Move at a steady pace and keep the tip as level as you can.

Can You Apply New Silicone Sealant over an Existing Layer?

No, applying a new sealant over a layer already in place is not advisable. The old layer may be uneven in parts, thus preventing the new layer from filling in the opening properly. 

Remove the old layer first using a razor blade and some soap before you apply the new coat of sealant.

Can You Paint over the Silicone Sealant?

Whether or not you can paint over the silicone sealant depends on the variant you used. Check on the label first to see if the sealant can be painted over. 

If you are planning to paint over the sealant, remember to let it dry first. Painting over the sealant while it’s still wet could lead to cracks forming.

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