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What is a Seam Sealant?

By B. Turner
Updated May 17, 2024
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Seam sealant is a chemical coating material used to seal joints in fabric or metal. This product can be used to repair rips or holes, or to reinforce existing seams. Depending on how seam sealant is used, it may eliminate air leaks or minimize water infiltration to protect an item from rust and other types of damage. Different types of seam sealant products are designed to meet the needs of specific applications, and should only be used on the materials specified by the manufacturer.

This product comes in both liquid and gel-type varieties to meet the needs of different users. Liquid seam sealant is designed to be sprayed onto fabrics, or applied using a paint brush or roller. Silicone or gel-type products can be applied using a caulk gun or similar applicator. Thermoplastic or rubber seam sealants can be applied like caulk, then dried or cured to create a permanent and long-lasting bond. When choosing between these products, users should consider whether the sealer will be used indoors or out, and what kind of conditions it may be exposed to over time.

Fabric seam sealant products are sold at camping supply and outdoor stores. Many tent manufacturers also include some type of seam sealant along with the tent to allow buyers to repair damaged seams. This sealer can be used to fix tears or rips in a tent or rain cover, as well as jackets or backpacks. Sprayable seam sealer is often carried with camping gear to a campsite and used for making emergency repairs.

Many seam sealant products are specially designed to meet the needs of metal-based applications. These products are commonly used to seal seams in automobiles or recreational vehicles. They may also be applied to building materials, including metal roofing or siding. Most metal seam sealers feature a rubbery texture to allow for flexibility and movement in the metal.

Some metal seam sealers are designed for indoor use only, while others are specially formulated for outdoor use. Buyers should also determine the condition of the metal and choose a seam sealer designed for that type of finish. This may include choosing a sealer for bare metal, primed metal, or even painted finishes. Many of these sealants can be sanded and painted after they cure to help them blend in with the surrounding surface.

Seam sealants offer many advantages to users, including both short- and long-term benefits. In the short term, these sealants improve comfort by eliminating water and air leaks. This helps to create a dry, sanitary space on a campsite or in a building with metal roofing or siding. In the long term, these sealants prevent moisture-related damage like mold, rot, or corrosion. This helps to extend the life of a fabric or metal object and reduce maintenance or replacement costs over time.

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Discussion Comments
By Feryll — On Dec 24, 2014

@mobilian33 - Go to a home improvement store and ask for a roof sealant to repair the leaks in your roof. One of the clerks at the store I go to was very helpful, and she showed me all of my options and then recommended the one she thought was best for what I needed. There are special products made especially for this job.

I used the roof sealant on my roof, and it has worked well. However, I had a tough time finding exactly where my leaks were originating, so I have quite a bit of the sealant spread on my roof. But this is not a problem. You can't see the sealant unless you are on the roof, and the sealant isn't going to damage anything. When you replace the roof the sealant will come off with the shingles.

By mobilian33 — On Dec 23, 2014

I have a couple leaks on my roof. Whenever it rains really hard or for a considerable amount of time the water begins to drip into my kitchen and onto my back porch. I have had a roof repair and roof installation guy come out several times.

The guy put tar around the places around the chimneys and the exhaust vents on top of the house, and he covered a few nail holes. After all of this, the roof still leaks. I am tired of calling the roof guy out to the house, and I don't want to pay him anymore money.

I'm wondering how well these sealants work to stop water leaks from a roof. I have seen an advertisement about a marine sealant that is strong enough to patch holes in a boat, but that was a commercial, so I don't know how much truth there is to this.

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