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Sealant: What Is It & What Does It Mean To Your Roof

What is sealant? What does sealant do for your roof? Do you always need sealant? The more you know about this valuable roofing component and where it is intended to be used, the more informed decisions you'll be able to make about a problem needs professional attention and when a problem needs professional attention.

Sealants and Roofing

A sealant is a type of paste or paint intended to prevent moisture from passing, thus creating a barrier at weaker points along a roof. Sealants are typically installed in two stages. First, the sealant is laid down and sculpted to a particular area. Then, it's left to cure and harden until it is ready to face the elements.

"That sounds just like caulk," you might be thinking. However, caulks and sealants do have some important differences. Caulks are generally cheaper, lower-quality versions of sealant. In addition, caulk is designed for general use around the house. Sealant is a more professional product designed for more specific uses. Sealant is made to meet various standards for roof protection. When applied correctly, sealant lasts longer and provides more reliable protection. You should never use a caulk where a sealant is necessary…which is why sealants are usually recommended and applied by professionals.

Advantages of Sealants

  • Sealants tend to keep their space and mass. Caulks and other alternatives tend to shrink over time, creating space for leaks.
  • Sealants pass building codes for rooftops and other applications. Alternatives rarely pass the same required codes.
  • Sealants can have a variety of viscosities, so they can be applied to different spaces and materials more easily.
  • Sealants come in several different varieties, including polysulfide, silicone, and urethane. These different chemical compositions react in unique ways to materials (and have other unique properties), allowing professionals to pick the best sealant based on what they are protecting.

When Sealants Are Used

Keep in mind that every roof project is a little different. There are multiple uses for sealant as a result of factors like climate and roofing materials. However, you are most likely to need sealant in these specific situations:

  • Flat Rooftops: Sealants are one of the most important parts of flat rooftops, which have to counter problems like pooling water. Flat roofs in both homes and businesses are covered by a thick coating for serious protection.
  • Unique Roof Objects: Certain roof objects, from vents and chimneys to satellite dishes and decorative additions may require sealant to protect them.
  • Flashing: Flashing refers to the metal strips that protect roof edges. Flashing edges should be protected by the application of sealants. This will prevent against the development of leaks as well as the deterioration of the flashing.

Photo source: Flickr

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