Different materials often require different sealants, so it should come as no surprise that there are several types available. Most vary based on the materials they are best at sealing, which usually includes materials found around a typical household. Some of the most common types of sealants on the market include those for decks, concrete, tile grout, and walls.
A deck sealant typically is best for exterior wood. Its specialty is improving the durability of wood while combating decay over time. It usually is clear so that the natural beauty of the wood can shine through. Not only do deck sealants typically protect the wood from water damage such as mildew, but they should also guard it from sun damage. A penetrating deck sealant is absorbed into the material, while a film-forming sealant creates a barrier around the wood.
Concrete sealants work similarly to those intended for decks, but they work best on concrete. Though concrete usually lasts a long time, a sealant meant just for this material can lengthen its lifespan even more. One of the main points of a concrete sealant is to protect it from extreme weather, such as the expanding and cracking that melted ice and rain often cause. It can also guard concrete from salt, chemicals, and stains. Such sealants can be clear or colored, and often are either petroleum-based or water-based.
Some homeowners choose to put in their own tile, or at least perform maintenance on it by themselves. Those who choose to do this are typically advised to seal the grout between the tiles. There are sealants specifically for this purpose, and they usually are known for keeping the grout looking new and attractive. Some grout sealers perform the basic task of protecting the area from stains and mildew, and can be sprayed on the surface. On the other hand, some heavy-duty, costlier types can protect grout from serious stains, like grease.
Tiny cracks in a wall often are able to be fixed with a polyurethane sealant. This type of sealant usually has the consistency of putty, and is known for expanding quickly after application. Fortunately, it is also both flexible and elastic, and can protect walls from water damage.
Nearly every sealant requires users to ensure that the surface is clean and dry before applying the product. Also, the majority of sealant manufacturers advise that sealants be applied in an inconspicuous test spot first to avoid accidental staining of the area. In fact, reading the instructions on the tube or bottle typically is a good first step to most home improvement projects involving sealants.