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What is Rubber Sealant?

Autumn Rivers
Updated May 17, 2024
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Various jobs and projects at home require the use of rubber sealant. As the name implies, this type of product seals and protects different materials using rubber-based substances. The types range in features, with some better at protecting materials from water and others best at guarding against corrosion or some chemicals.

One of the benefits of rubber sealant is that it can be applied to nearly any material, and once the seal dries, it typically can be peeled off quite easily without doing damage to most surfaces. This can also be considered a disadvantage, as sealants that come off easily are not usually suitable for projects that require a heavy-duty seal. Additionally, while rubber sealers can protect against water damage and corrosion, they are usually compromised by toxic chemicals and extremely high temperatures. Thus, they typically are not used to connect or seal materials that would be exposed to such dangers.

Many types of rubber sealant also act as an adhesive, both binding materials and protecting them. For example, a natural rubber sealant can bind glass, paper, wood, plastic, rubber, steel, iron, and fabric. This kind of rubber sealant usually is great for connecting materials, even in water, as long as they do not have to withstand much weight or pressure. While this kind can protect particularly well against water damage and corrosion, it should not typically be applied to materials that will be exposed to the outdoors or harsh conditions.

A particularly popular kind of rubber sealant is caulk, which typically is used to seal gaps between two surfaces. There are a few main types of this product, as well as some specialized kinds that prohibit mildew or are used to seal roof cracks. Butyl rubber caulk is known as the strongest bond, and is usually used to fill in cracks in bricks, concrete, and metal. Acrylic latex caulk usually is used to seal the area around doors and windows, and is frequently painted over to match surrounding colors. Finally, silicon caulk can be used with nearly any material, and is known for staying flexible even after it dries.

Another common product is silicone rubber sealer. This kind of sealant typically is best for applications that require a weatherproof, watertight, flexible seal. It can usually withstand higher temperatures than most other types of rubber sealer, and does not shrink. It retains some elasticity for its lifetime, which means that it does not usually crumble or crack. It is usually best for sealing glass items.

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Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for About Mechanics, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.

Discussion Comments

By OeKc05 — On Nov 04, 2011

@seag47 – I have used a variety of rubber sealants in my lifetime, and every one of them had some sort of strong odor. Though unpleasant, this is not necessarily a bad thing.

In order to have the strength to seal or hold objects together, a product has to have certain strong smelling chemicals in it. When you smell a powerful odor, you know that the product has the ability to do its job.

Wearing a mask over my nose has helped me deal with the smell while working. That way, I don't have to hold my breath. I also open windows if I'm working indoors, and I bring in box fans if the building doesn't have ceiling fans.

By StarJo — On Nov 03, 2011

I used a rubber sealant spray on my roof when it started leaking. The spray turns into waterproof rubber once it dries. At first, I was afraid I would have to hire a roofer to fix my leak, but a friend told me about this spray, and I saved a ton of money by using it.

It shows up black to let you know exactly where you sprayed it. I waited for it to dry, and then I painted it green to match my roof.

I intend to use this spray as long as I can to extend the life of my roof. If a tree falls through it or something pokes a big hole in it, I'm sure I will have to have it replaced, but otherwise, I'm going to keep sealing the cracks.

By seag47 — On Nov 02, 2011

@kylee07drg – I wonder if all types of rubber sealant have a strong odor? I use caulk around my house, and it has a powerful smell.

The walls in my house were starting to pull away from the molding. I put caulk in the gaps to seal them, and I immediately smelled vinegar.

I left my windows open and the ceiling fans on to make the smell fade faster. It still took several hours for it to filter out of the house.

Does anyone know of any other types of rubber sealants with overpowering aromas? Is there a type that has no odor?

By kylee07drg — On Nov 01, 2011

I remember using rubber sealant in my art class. My professor told me I could find it at an art supply store.

It came in a small, cylindrical can. When I lifted the lid, a brush was attached on the inside. I dipped the brush in the sealant and applied it to the surface of the mat board that I needed to attach some thick drawing paper to, and it stuck very well.

The smell was pretty strong, though. I remember thinking that I shouldn't breathe very deeply while I had that can open. I'm pretty sure the can had a lot of warnings on it.

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers

Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for About Mechanics, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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