Sealant FAQ – Can I get the product in a custom color?

Very often sealants are available in custom colors. Some customers will make you a certain color, but you have to buy a certain minimum order quantity, and that sometimes can be high. It depends on how much custom color you need in the specific job that you’re talking about. There are some other ways of accomplishing that.

Some manufacturers have what they call color packs that allow you to mix custom colors on a much smaller basis. For instance in a 1 ½ gallon type system using color packs in order to achieve the color that you want. There’s a couple of different ways to do that.

Sealant FAQ – Why is tack free time important?

Tack free time is important on certain systems, because you can be using them at a job site where you have a lot of sawing and ground movement with excavation. There can be dirt or contamination in the air and you want to be able to try and avoid having that contamination adhere to the sealant surface.

Having a short tack or open time is important in order to get the material to skin over and be resistant to any type of airborne contamination.

Sealant FAQ – What steps do I have to take to get a warranty?

Usually when you’re talking about a warranty, you’re usually talking about silicon based systems. To get a warranty you normally have to contact the distributor that you bought your sealant from and then they need to contact the supplier they’re working with.

You would be required to run certain tests to the sealant as you’re applying it and verify that you’re meeting those standards in order to be granted a warranty. You also have to provide proof via purchase orders and invoices that you actually bought and used the material that was certified for that application.

Sealant FAQ – What’s the difference between alkoxy and neutral cure?

Alkoxy cure is the cure that you smell, for instance when you apply a sealant and you get that very strong vinegar odor. That’s the release of the acidic acid and that’s how the silicone is curing. A lot of times those particular silicones are used very frequently in bathroom or kitchen environments, particularly where you want to reduce mildew because they’re very good at that.

Neutral cure silicones rely on the exposure to air. The only thing that you typically release with them is an alcohol or another compound. You don’t get the shrinkage with that and you don’t get that strong acidic or vinegar odor that you get from alkoxy.

Sealant FAQ – Why use silicone vs. urethane?

Sealants are typically urethane based or silicon based. Silicone sealants tend to last longer. They also have a really good positive in that they can take a lot of movement. So, if you’re using them in an application where you’re going to experience a lot of movement in the joint then silicone is really, really a good choice.

The downside of them is that you can’t paint them. Paint doesn’t adhere to silicone sealant. The good thing about urethanes is that you can paint them and they skin over very quickly. Skinning over can be important when you’re talking about using them in a job site environment where there could be a lot of dust and things like that.

You don’t want that dust adhering to the surface of the sealant. So, the good thing about urethanes is that they cure quickly and they’re able to resist that kind of contamination. Last but not least is the cost factor. For a long time silicons were considerably more expensive than urethanes.

That is still largely true. However, the prices of silicons have modified over the past five to seven years and the cost differential between silicones and urethanes has been reduced.

Why is my tape not sticking?

Often times the reason for lack of adhesion, which is usually what this question ends up being related to, has to do with surface preparation. A lot of times people don’t realize that the surfaces they might be working with can be contaminated.

For instance, if you’re talking about a plastic part, there may be mold release on the plastic part that was helped to use unmold the product when it was being manufactured. If that mold release is not removed then the tape is actually being asked to adhere to the mold release instead of the plastic itself.

That can interfere with adhesion. Particularly with metal products, you sometimes have oils that are used in order to prevent corrosion or the formation of rust. Sometimes those oils are not removed prior to the tape being applied, so you end up with an interference there between the adhesive system and the metal surface.

There can also be, depending on the manufacturing environment, there can be dust or contamination that may be naturally occuring in that manufacturing environment. If that contamination is not removed prior to the application of the tape that can interfere as well.

What if I need die cut products?

We have three different methodologies here at Tom Brown for die cut products. We have flat bed or steel rolled die cutting, which is really good for smaller to medium sized jobs. We have rotary die cutting, which is really great for very high volume work. We also have a water jet cutting table, which is good for lower volume materials or very large format die cuts.