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New Trends in Sealants and Adhesives for Construction and Remodeling

By Jason Wirth, Senior Director, Product Management with DAP Global Inc.

Adhesives and Sealants are critical tools for building projects and on the job site. As builders look for better sealant and adhesive solutions for their remodeling and construction projects, several new industry product trends are emerging. DAP, a leading manufacturer and supplier of caulks, sealants, foams, adhesives, and patch and repair products, offers tips and trends for professional contractors and remodelers to improve productivity (and their bottom line) on the job site.

  • Polyurethane foam adhesives are on the rise…especially in subfloor.

The use of polyurethane foam adhesives continues to see steady growth in a variety of building and construction applications, including subfloor installation. Significantly higher yields, faster application, and superior bond strength are all contributing to a more efficient (and profitable) subfloor installation project for our customers. The unique collapsing foam formula provides significant polyurethane bond strength and when applied with a foam gun, product can easily be reused on the next install.

When making the product selection, contractors should look for polyurethane foam adhesives that offer superior adhesion strength and strong warranties. Select a product that bonds all types of wood, plywood, osb and moisture resistant osb panels and bonds to wet, frozen and treated lumber.

Throughout the pandemic, traditional construction adhesives have been hard to find and supply struggles are likely to continue. More and more contractors are adopting polyurethane foam adhesives and we are starting to see this technology used in other jobsite applications including drywall installation, landscaping, and other general purpose projects.

One product developed specifically for subfloors is SmartBond® from DAP, a high strength polyurethane foam adhesive that is faster and easier to use than traditional cartridge adhesives. A single can of SmartBond equates to 8-28 oz. traditional cartridges, providing 8x the coverage, so you can do more, with less. SmartBond is compatible with the Touch N’ Seal 46″ applicator gun that reduces reaching, bending over and walking on joists for 25% faster application.

SmartBond® is a high strength polyurethane foam adhesive that is faster and easier to use than traditional cartridge adhesives.

  • Water repelling, water-based sealants? They are for real.

Water-based technology is getting more and more advanced as contractors demand sealants with superior performance matched with ease of use, paintability and VOC requirements.

As technology advancements in sealants increases, users can get higher performance characteristics in easy-to-use water-based latex formulas which include features such as the ability to repel water, dirt and stains so the sealant is easier to clean. Some of the latest technologies from DAP includes sealants that are both water and rain-ready in only one hour. This technology ensures that the sealant works quickly after application.

Superior polymers create sealants that allow water to ‘bead’ up on the surface of the sealant and won’t allow water to settle. This feature provides a 100% waterproof seal that helps prevent the growth of mold, mildew, algae and stains.

Dynaflex Ultra Advanced Exterior Sealant from DAP, for example, features innovative Weather Max™ Technology for long-lasting, all-weather protection. Ideal for sealing windows and doors, this premium latex sealant provides exceptional UV, mold, mildew and algae resistance, as well as a durable, 100% waterproof seal that stands up to the elements. It stays permanently flexible to endure expansion and contraction caused by sun, heat, cold, wind and rain.

DynaFlex Ultra Advanced Exterior Sealant features innovative Weather Max™ Technology for long-lasting, all-weather protection.

Another product from DAP, Kwik Seal Ultra®, is an advanced interior sealant specifically developed for kitchen and bath applications and formulated with innovative ultra-hydrophobic technology that repels water, dirt and stains and offers a lifetime mold and mildew resistance guarantee, so the sealant stays looking clean, fresh and new.

Kwik Seal Ultra is an advanced interior sealant specifically developed for kitchen and bath applications.

  • ‘Hybrid’ sealants and adhesives and how can they help you.

Silicone and polyurethane adhesives and sealants have been on the market for years, but as pros know, these products can have limitations. Hybrid technology has been developed to fill these performance gaps.

Typically, ‘hybrids’ today are a sealant or adhesive that takes elements from both silicones and polyurethanes to create an exceptional performing sealant that accepts paint and offers excellent durability, adhesion and overall performance. These products are often referred to as “hybrids” or “modified polymers.”

While hybrid technology is prevalent in the sealants market, this technology is also becoming much more prevalent in the adhesives market as well. The adhesive advancements deliver even faster bonds, which significantly reduces the amount of clamping and bracing needed on even the toughest and heaviest applications.

Lastly, the silicone market has been incredibly tumultuous over the past two years with skyrocketing costs throughout the market. As you look for alternatives to silicone, consider a proven hybrid technology product due to its ability to provide similar durability but having the added benefits of being applied to wet surfaces, are paintable, offer superior adhesion, and work in a variety of climates.

For example, AMP All Weather Window, Siding and Door Sealant from DAP outperforms silicone in key performance attributes such as wet surface application, paintability and crystal clear clarity, while also offering exceptional weatherability, durability and mold and mildew resistance providing maximum performance for every project. AMP is specially formulated to accept paint like a latex sealant, and unlike traditional silicones, this hybrid technology won’t crack, crawl or produce shiners once painted. AMP saves time by offering ultra-fast 30-minute rain, water and paint ready capabilities, making it perfect for outdoor projects. With the flexibility and durability to hold up to extreme temperatures and UV rays alike, AMP can be applied in extreme temperatures of 0°F to 140°F, and is backed by a lifetime mold and mildew resistance guarantee.

AMP from DAP outperforms silicone in key performance attributes such as wet surface application, paintability and crystal clear clarity, while also offering exceptional weatherability, durability and mold and mildew resistance.

For a professional grade hybrid sealant, pros should consider Dynaflex® 800, an advanced, all-weather elastomeric sealant specifically developed for professional window, door, siding and trim installations. The product offers maximum adhesion and flexibility, is 1-hour paint ready and is 100% waterproof and weatherproof.

  • Flexibility factors: How companies test and market flexibility, and how to know which sealant to select.

Professionals understand that there are certain applications or environments that require a sealant with higher levels of elongation, or flexibility. A sealant with more flexibility will help to accommodate expansion and contraction of building materials for different factors including seasonal climate changes or extreme temperatures. A proper sealant will strongly adhere to the surface and stay durable over time without cracking or losing adhesion to the substrate.

Sealant manufacturers test flexibility in many ways, but one way to understand the flexibility rating of a product is to look for the ASTM C920 performance specification on either the label or TDS. Sealants that meet C920 are run through more stringent testing on several different performance characteristics, including flexibility. It’s also important to look at the C920 ‘class’ information, which is a number usually either 12.5, 25, or 35 for residential construction grade products. When the label says C920 +/- 25, that means the sealant has been tested through multiple cycles of expansion and compression by 25% the original gap size. For flexibility, the higher the class number, the more flexible the product. As higher flexibility usually indicates a higher quality and price, it’s important for pros to understand the right amount of flexibility needed for their jobs.

Super high flexibility sealants can sometimes be heavily loaded with polymer and some of those polymers are prone to flashing or ‘shining’ through paint creating a gloss or sheen on the finished bead. Not all sealants are created equal, so look for callouts on high flex sealants that callout no flashing or ‘shining’ through paint and/or having superior paint properties. The type of paint you use also matters – typically the higher the quality of paint, the less interaction.

  • Consumers seek anti-microbial sealants now, more than ever.

The COVID pandemic has had a major impact on the increasing adoption and use of antimicrobial products in numerous industries, including in the building and construction sector. As a result, manufacturers of sealants have developed products to meet this demand and we are starting to see more and more anti-microbial sealants with increased potency entering the market. Traditionally, kitchen and bath sealants were the primary focus for anti-microbial technology, but we are also seeing positive acceptance in the window and door market. This is especially the case for exterior sealants that fight and resist unsightly and unhealthy mold, mildew, and even algae.

Contractors should look for products that offer guarantees supporting their antimicrobial protection claims. One such product is Kwik Seal Plus® from DAP, a premium siliconized adhesive sealant which is formulated with MoldGuard Antimicrobial Product Protection that fights the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew on the sealant. This advanced technology helps neutralize bacterial and fungal growth where it lives and breathes. This means the sealant is easier to keep clean and stays cleaner longer. As noted earlier, DynaFlex Ultra not only provides exceptional UV, mold, and mildew resistance, but also offers algae protection.

When it comes to the use of adhesives and sealants in the construction industry, product knowledge and selection can go a long way in ensuring a project is completed quick and correctly for a long-lasting result. Not to mention eliminating call backs and boosting your bottom line. For more information on adhesive and sealant projects and products, visit www.dap.com or give us a call at 1-888-DAP-TIPS and we’ll be more than happy to provide advice or help on your project needs.

About the author

Jason Wirth is Senior Director, Product Management for DAP Global Inc., a leading manufacturer and supplier of caulks, sealants, foams, adhesives, and patch and repair products. Wirth has over 15 years of experience in the building products industry including more than seven years with DAP.

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