There are a number of materials and products which are essential for everyday construction. While the list of important products is quiet long, there are 3 products which constructors and house builders need to have in their arsenal.
These products are sealants, adhesives and cement. Without these binding agents and fillers, it is not possible to fit even a single window sill or install one pipe. In short, whether you are building a house or a tower block, without sealants, adhesives and cement, it is unlikely that you can successfully finish your project.
Here’s how sealants, adhesives and cement can help in everyday construction and why they are considered to be essential for the building process.
1 – Sealants
Sealants are usually applied to gaps, joints or cavities to reduce the penetration of air, liquid or gases. This is because sealants are polymers which have a tight molecular structure and contain fast drying epoxies which form a sleek finish. In other words, sealants are designed to close the gaps between different surfaces and to prevent things like dirt, dust and water from entering it. Compared to adhesives, sealants usually have lower strength, but are highly flexible. However, it is important to note that sealants are not used for bonding materials together as they usually lack the sticking power needed for long term adhesion.
Sealants are particularly useful in construction as they have a paste like consistency which allows any gaps between substrates to be filled tightly. They also have low shrinkage after application and curing. Usually, the main objective of sealants is to seal joints and assemblies which mean that good quality sealants are usually resistant to environmental conditions. As sealants are also used between substrates with differing thermal coefficients of expansion and elongation under stress, they usually have enough elongation and flexibility. Hence, sealants contain inert filler materials and elastomers to give them the required elongation and flexibility.
Within construction, sealants can be utilised in any capacity where it is important to keep something in or seal something out. For example, sealant products are used to seal openings between different surfaces which might otherwise be difficult to close.
Similarly, in house builders can use sealants to keep out minute particles, air drafts, soot, etc. No matter what project you’re working on, you can find the right sealant by shopping around on sites such as https://www.evt-sealants.com/en/ who specialise in silicone sealants which are ideal for window construction. These products usually do not need special treatments to work and can be easily applied with specialised applicators and caulking guns.
2 – Adhesives
As the name suggests, adhesives are substances or materials which are used to bind one surface to the other. These are more complex structures when compared to sealants as they are specially designed to bind and grip at a cellular level as opposed to being used as fillers or to seal spaces. They also last much longer and are often nearly impossible to remove. They also look more rigid and durable and unlike sealants, are used so that surfaces can’t be separated.
Adhesives are not normally used on exterior surfaces such as the exterior walls of buildings. While sealants and adhesives are usually sold together and used interchangeably, this is not recommended as both products have different purposes. They are widely used in construction as adhesive products can be applied with wall coverings and floorings or can be a part of materials such as movable wall panels, office workstations, plywood, particleboard, etc.
Adhesives can also be applied in a viscous or liquid state and then cured to a solid state to achieve long term bonding. Like industrial glue, adhesives bond things together and often serve the dual purpose of sealing open spaces and cracks. However, providing a watertight or airtight space is not their primary purpose. It is also important to remember that better adhesion to surfaces for a long-lasting hold requires the area to be thoroughly cleaned and sometimes treated to ensure that the binding provided by adhesives sets properly.
There are many sealant and adhesive hybrid products in the market which serve both purposes; however, they may not be suitable for all projects.
Cement is one of the most common construction materials in the world. It is a binding agent which can set, harden and adhere to different materials in order to bind them together. Cement is not normally used by itself; it is used to bind gravel and sand together to produce concrete or mortar for masonry. Inorganic cement is usually made with calcium silicate or lime and can be divided into two categories – hydraulic and non-hydraulic.
Hydraulic cements such as Portland cement are specially designed to set and bind due to a chemical reaction between water and the dry ingredients. Non-hydraulic cement usually dries and reacts to the carbon dioxide in the air and is resistant to different chemicals after drying. The uses of cement in construction are numerous – it is the main ingredient in mortar which is the most commonly used binding agent for bricks, stones and blocks in surface renderings or walls.
Similarly, it is the base ingredient of concrete which serves many construction purposes such as being used as the base for roads. Portland cement is also used to manufacture tiles, pipes, bricks and other such products.
Without these three binding agents and filler products, it is unlikely that any construction project will be a success.