Adhesives, Silicones & Sealants. The How to Guide.

sAdhesives, Silicones & Sealants - The How-To Guide

Tips & Tricks Using Adhesives, Silicones & Sealants. 

Many of us would have made use of an adhesive or a sealant over the years. Today we will be reviewing the tips and tricks using these all-important products. There is a wide range of adhesives, sealants, and silicone on the market offering an easy solution for numerous applications in the building and industrial fabrication industries. In many circumstances, these non-metallic substances have become the go-to product when it comes to joinning two surfaces or caulking a joint. Adhesives, glues and joint sealants can bond or seal different materials together and distribute stress more broadly. They are cost effective and offer an aesthetic improvement over metal fasteners like general purposes rivets. This is a beginners guide to the do's and don’ts of adhesives, silicones, and caulk sealants. We shall be reviewing an A to Z listing of popular terminology that relates to the world of sealants and touching base with key pointers! The golden rule here is to take the time to read and understand the technical and safety sheets associated with these product, as there are differences between products and manufacturers. Adhesive, silicone and sealant manufacturers like Bostik®, Soudal®, Sika®, and Shelleys® have extensive online data with technical and safety data information. 

Cleaning the surface.

Remove grime, grease, oils, and other residues from the surface as you will have a difficult time forming a solid bond without a clean base. To properly clean a surface for adhesives and sealants, follow these general steps:

  1. Gather your supplies: You will need the following items: (a) Isopropyl alcohol or a suitable cleaning solvent. (b) Clean lint-free cloths. (c) Clean water (if required by the adhesive/sealant instructions). Stay away from petrol based products like white spirits, turps etc. Aerobolt's "surface cleaner" degreases and cleans up surface at the same time and improves the gluing process.  

  2. Pre-test the cleaning solvent: Before applying the cleaning solvent to the entire surface, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn't cause any damage or discoloration.

  3. Apply the cleaning solvent: Moisten a clean cloth with the chosen solvent (isopropyl alcohol or specific adhesive/sealant cleaner). Pour the product onto the cloth rather than dip the cloth into the solvent. Gently wipe in one direction, and wipe off in another direction with another cloth. This is called the 2-rag method. Change cloths on a regular basis. Avoid excessive scrubbing, as it may damage the surface.

  4. Plastic coated metal sheets will require the foregoing cleaning process even if the material looks prestine. It may look clean but the chemicals associated with the protective plastic coatings tends to negate a number of adhesives.

  5. Remember to always refer to the specific adhesive or sealant manufacturer's instructions for the recommended cleaning procedure. Different adhesives and sealants may have specific cleaning requirements, and it's essential to follow their guidelines for optimal bonding or sealing results.


Curing means to dry and is simply done by most sealants and adhesives by drawing moisture from the air. Adhesives, and sealants are formulated with moisture curing technology that reacts with atmospheric moisture to initiate the chemical cross-linking of the ingredients to cure. As the ingredients cross-link they build internal strength and create the chemical bond required for these products to work.  

With moisture curing adhesives like MS Polymer Bond Flex or Polyurethane Matrix FC its important that air reach the adhesive when you have completed the work. These products can take as little as 24 hours to cure, or longer depending on the gauge and width of the product. When bonding two large layers apply the adhesive in numerous thin beads rather than a single thick bead so air can reach the product.    

Fast Track Curing. 

Accelerating the curing process of sealants and adhesives can be achieved through several methods. Here are a few techniques that can help expedite the curing time:

  1. Enhance air circulation: Improved air circulation can facilitate the curing process. Use fans or air blowers to create a constant flow of air.  

  2. Use curing agents or accelerators: Some adhesives have specific curing agents or accelerators available from the manufacturer. These substances are designed to speed up the curing process when added to the adhesive. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer regarding the correct amount and application method.

  3. Increase humidity: Higher humidity levels can increase the curing time of sealants and adhesives. To speed up the process, work in a well-ventilated area or increase the moisture levels in the air. The cooler months tend to have lower moisture levels.  

  4. It's important to note that while these methods can help accelerate the curing process, they might also affect the final strength and performance of the adhesive. Always refer to the product's instructions and consult the manufacturer or supplier for specific guidance on accelerating the curing time of a particular sealant or adhesive.

Follow Instructions.

This is most important. There are various types of sealants and adhesives, and they come with slightly different instructions for how they are to be used, particularly in terms of how long it takes for the sealant to dry. Therefore, always read the instructions and follow them to the letter.

Prepare Your Workspace.

Optimise surface preparation: Properly preparing the surfaces to be bonded can ensure better adhesion and faster curing. Clean the surfaces thoroughly to remove any dirt, grease, or contaminants that may interfere with the bonding process. Be fully prepared before you start applying these products. Adhesives, and sealants have a short work time. This mean you will need to be time efficient with these products before skin formation takes place.     

Primers and Surface Activators.

Primers and or surface activators are valuable because they help adhesives & sealants bond to the surface. These products help improve adhesion by over 20%.


Always follow safety sheet recommendations and wear personal safety gear. 

Selecting Adhesive Glue or a Caulking Sealant. 

What is your application? Are you using it as a sealant to caulk a joint? Or as an adhesive to join two items? This is an all-important question to ensure you have the right product. An adhesive is a high strength product for the purpose of joining of two pieces of materials together. Aerobolt's number one adhesive is Bond Flex. Whilst a sealant or what we term joint sealant is a low strength caulking product that is perfect for filling and sealing gaps between different materials. Sealants prevent the passage of air and water into openings. Our #1 sealant is Seal Flex.  This is the basic breakdown; however, you will find there are numerous adhesives that work well as a joint sealant and sometimes vice versa. Understanding your application and the results you are seeking is the most important consideration is selecting the right product.

Skin Time.

Once exposed to atmospheric moisture, adhesives and sealants begin curing from the outside in. “Skin time” measures the time between application and the formation of the skin as the outermost layer cures.  As the skin develops, the applied adhesive or sealant rapidly loses its ability to bond to secondary substrates and is more difficult to tool.

Shelf Life.

Most sealants and adhesives cure at the rate of 2-3mm per 24 hours, and this is the reason they will not last forever in the tube. They tend to have an even shorter shelf life in hot and humid conditions. Storing them in a cool location or a cool room will help extend their shelf life. Keeping nozzles attached will help them cure slowly. Refrain from opening the tubes until you are ready to use them.

Can I use a sealant or adhesive past its best before date? 

A sealant or adhesive that is past best its best before date means its properties can't be ensured, however a sealant stored under ideal conditions can remain effective for many months after its expiry. Conversely, sealants stored in overly hot conditions can expire long before the stated expiry date. 


Store in a cool location, off the ground. 

Temperature Range. 

When applying these products ensure you are working within the recommended temperature range.  

Use Masking Tape For Straight Caulking Application.

Apply the professional masking tape to cover both sides of the line to be sealed; apply the sealant across the area, and then remove the tape before the sealant is dry. It is the same concept as cutting when painting and allows you to create a clean finish instantly.

Using Pressure.

Gluing two pieces of metal together is different from using glue with paper and waiting for it to dry on its own. Pressure must be applied to ensure the bond formed is as strong as possible. A vise or clamp can hold the pieces together with firm pressure so that the adhesive can bond to the metal surfaces which have been prepared prior. Wait as long as possible before removing the clamp and allow the adhesive ample time to dry. Do not hasten the process, Otherwise, you will have problems. 

Ready to Get Started?

Whether you're ready to order your adhesive or you have questions you'd like to talk about with a product specialist, contact us. Aerobolt makes the process of selecting and installing the right product easy.  We offer a variety of proven solutions that suit most applications, from attaching a sign to a truch door to the highly specialised panel bonding requirements with our renowed Bond Flex. All our sealants and adhesives products provide the highest performance in adhesion, weatherability and durability. Our expert team is on hand to help you in any current or upcoming project. 

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