How To Apply & Remove Silicone Sealants

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Removing and applying silicone sealants can be messy and time-consuming without expert advice. In this article we explore the most effective ways to remove and apply silicone sealants from and to work surfaces.

How to Remove Silicone Sealants

Ensure you are wearing safety glasses and protective gloves before attempting to remove silicone sealants.

How to Remove Silicone Sealants from Industrial Equipment

DOWSIL DS-2025 is a cleaning solvent used to quickly remove substantive residues of cured silicone from surfaces, equipment and manufacturing units. It is a non-flammable, non-aromatic solvent which leaves surfaces silicone free through a process of depolymerisation and dissolution. DS-2025 is best followed by using the DOWSIL DS-1000 aqueous silicone cleaner.

DOWSIL DS-1000 is an aqueous cleaning solution designed for removing non-substantive uncured silicone residues from equipment and manufacturing units. It is non-flammable and complies with the EU detergent regulation on biodegradability of surfactants.

How to Remove Silicone Sealants from Tiles and Baths

Aside from using the products mentioned above, the simplest way to remove silicone sealants from tiles is by carefully using a sharp utility knife to cut the sealant where it meets the surface. Start shallow and slowly get deeper so that you don’t damage the surface that you are removing the sealant from.

removing silicone sealant
Using a retractable utility knife to gently remove silicone sealant from bathtub (Image: WikiHow)

It’s likely that small strands of the sealant will remain even after the cutting procedure. To remove these smaller strands, we recommend using an isopropyl solvent wipe such as the Wipemaster Wipe 9 and repeatedly rubbing over them until they come off. Loose bits of sealant can also be removed by hand.

How to Remove Silicone Sealants from Glass and Wood

In order to remove silicone sealants from glass and wood, use a hot air gun or hair dryer to apply heat directly to the sealants on the glass or wood. By doing this, the sealants will soften and come off easier with a utility knife; reducing the chances of damaging the material that the sealant has been applied on. For glass, any leftover sealants can be gently rubbed off with a solvent wipe, as described above. For wood, avoid using alcohol and instead use a simple wood cleaner or a damp cloth, in order to refrain from damaging the wood.

How to Apply Silicone Sealants

Before applying silicone sealants, ensure the substrate surfaces have been cleaned and degreased using a solvent wipe such as the Wipemaster Wipe 9.

The simplest way to apply silicone sealants is by utilising a silicone (caulking) gun.

Firstly, pull the metal lever at the back of the gun and load the tube of silicone into the gun, so that the nozzle is sticking out of the front of the gun. Then, adjust the metal lever until it is calibrated perfectly with the size of your tube and the silicone is held firmly in place. At the tip of the nozzle, make a slice at 45 ° and cut a small section off. Then, test your silicone on a piece of scrap material, holding the gun at a 45 ° angle, to ensure it is flowing as desired. If the silicone is flowing smoothly, then move on to your work surface and squeeze the trigger gently to apply the sealant along the seam of your surface, moving the tube steadily as you do so. You can then spread the sealant as desired using a wet finger.

applying silicone sealant
Applying a silicone sealant using a silicone gun (Image: Direct Sealants)

How Long Does Silicone Take to Dry?

Generally, silicone sealants take around 24 hours to cure completely. DOWSIL silicone sealants (at room temperature and 50% relative humidity) will cure to a depth of about 1/8″ in 24 hours. After this point, they can be used as intended, and safely be exposed to water and moisture.

How to Apply New Silicone Sealant Over Old Sealant

To apply new silicone sealant over old sealants, firstly the old sealant has to be removed. This can be done as instructed in the first segment of this article. Applying new sealant over an existing layer of sealant will not yield successful results. This is crucial to note as the new layer of sealant will not completely seal otherwise.

After removing the old layer of sealant, apply the new layer as explained above.

Our brand DOWSIL offers high performance silicone sealants with decades of proven experience. Click here to see their range of products.

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