Protecting Building Aesthetics

Dow Corning sealants are featured in the weatherproofing of the glass curtainwalls of the Time Warner Center in New York City. RSG Caulking & Waterproofing, one of the largest caulking installation companies in New York, has successfully used Dow Corning sealants on almost every project for the past 22 years.

Because the physical condition of a building can change greatly over time due to external forces such as sun, wind and rain, choosing materials that will maximize the life and appearance of the structure, while minimizing the amount of damage, is crucial. This is especially true in selecting a sealant. Following are some of the most common aesthetic issues to consider.
  • Dirt Pick-Up – Accumulation of dirt on a sealant’s surface is particularly prevalent on construction sites with large amounts of dust. The actual amount of dirt pick-up will vary with exposure conditions, but excessive pollutant contamination will result in lower durability and weaker bond strength. To avoid this, choose a sealant that can tolerate higher levels of contamination.
  • Chalking – As the substrate begins to degrade and erode over time, the surface becomes more rough and porous, which leads to a loss of surface gloss and color. Chalking is most observed in organic sealants that are initially black or brown, but later transform into a light gray or beige. This does not occur with silicone or acrylic sealants.
  • Change of Color – Color change can result from factors both inherent and external to the sealant. Incompatibility of the sealant with other building materials is a contributing factor. Materials with high incompatibility levels include low-molecular-weight polymers, antioxidants or tar. A sealant that is compatible with a variety of other substrates is preferable.
  • Surface Crazing – A variety of factors, including sunlight, environmental stress and aging, can cause cracks in the sealant’s surface. This is especially common with organic sealants. Generally, sealants with higher polymer content are more durable and less subject to crazing.
  • Fluid Migration – Fluids can migrate from a sealant to the substrate, creating a dark “wet” band look around the joint of the sealant. The extent and rate of fluid migration varies with the type of sealant. Cheaper, less formulated sealants are the most prone to staining and fluid migration.
  • Other Environmental Factors – Oxygen, ultraviolet radiation, climate/temperature, microbial growth and other environmentally-induced mechanisms can contribute to the fatigue and stress that degrades and lowers the overall bond strength of the sealant.
While aesthetic issues cannot be completely avoided, they can be mitigated through prior knowledge; selection of high-quality, high- performance building materials; and working with a reputable manufacturer.

About Dow Corning Construction

For more than 60 years, Dow Corning has provided silicon-based, performance-enhancing materials and additives for glazing, sealing, and weatherproofing new and existing construction projects. For more information, visit


Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Adhesives & Sealants Industry Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

ASI April 2014 Photo Gallery

Our April 2014 issue is now available!


ExxonMobil Tackifier Expansion

Dwight Tozer, vice president of ExxonMobil’s Adhesion Industry business, discusses the company’s latest tackifier expansion project with Editor-in-Chief Susan Sutton.

More Podcasts

Adhesives & Sealants Industry Magazine

ASI February 2015 cover

2015 February

You won't want to miss our special Adhesives at Work: Electronics section, plus articles on converting/packaging, silicones, coatings and more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Paid Leave

President Obama recently announced he wants U.S. businesses and the federal government to provide paid sick leave and paid parental leave to all workers. Do you think this is a good idea?
View Results Poll Archive


Handbook of Sealant Technology

The Handbook of Sealant Technology provides an in-depth examination of sealants, reviewing their historical developments and fundamentals, adhesion theories and properties, and today’s wide range of applications.

More Products

ASI 2014 Buyers GuideASI's Buyers' Guide

Annual purchasing resource for equipment used in the manufacture/formulation of adhesives, sealants, pressure sensitives, tapes and labels and for application of finished adhesives. 


facebook_40px twitter_40  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40 google+ icon ASI 30px

Clear Seas Research

With access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.