Sunday, August 30, 2015

Gap fillers

Whether it be a small crack in a wall or a gap between a splash back and the kitchen tiles, gap fillers and silicone products offer a wide variety of uses. There are so many products on the shelves today it's hard to know which one is right for the specific job you have in mind.

Harvey Katz Hardware Store


Which one should I use?

I have probably tried them all at some time or other and they aren't all as durable as a small number of them claim to be. It is good practice to read the label for any specific materials you may be trying to bond to and if you don't see them written there, then look for a product with instructions including the materials you want to bond together.

Preparation

A good thing to do before even thinking of applying anything is to give the surface a clean with metholated spirits. This helps ensure a good bond with the product and your surface. I always keep a spray bottle half full of metho with my tools in the car  just in case.

If using a polyurethane sealant, turps is even better. Oil and water don't mix so never use turpentine for water based fillers.

The next step before application is to mask off the areas you don't want to cover with sealant.
Things can get really messy very quickly, especially with products such as Sika- flex and other polymer based materials, so masking tape is a definite requirement for the do-it-yourself home handyman!

Application

Cutting the tip of the nozzle to the width of the gap you want to fill is crucial. If it's a wide gap then you will need to cut the nozzle further down from the tip, or closer to the tip if only a small crack. A good thing to remember is that when you make the cut, a slight angle is going to make your job alot easier.



Technique

The main thing about getting a smooth finish with any kind of polyurethane or water based sealant is the technique with which it is applied and the finishing touches. Using a steady stroke, gently squeeze the trigger as you move along the joint trying to apply an equal amount of pressure with the tip of the nozzle not quite touching the surface.

Finishing

If using a polymer (oil based) sealant, get yourself a bowl of soapy water and dip your finger, or the back of a spoon, (I prefer the finger method) into the bowl. Remember oil and water don't mix so the idea is
to get a smooth finish without leaving a mess on your hands! Run your finger (or the spoon) gently over the bead of sealant until it becomes smooth and even. Finish by GENTLY peeling off the tape.

As with most so called small jobs around the home, there is a bit more involved than at first glance. By following these simple steps and with a lot of practice, you will be filling gaps like an expert in no time!

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