Boat Maintenance

Choosing the Right Marine Sealant

Choosing the proper sealant compound for a boat or marine dock is very important. Some sealants are extremely weather-resistant but do not form a watertight bond, while others are excellent for bonding two different materials but may become weakened when a cleaning solution is used on one or the other. The most versatile sealants are sold under a variety of brand names, but boat owners should become familiar with the generic or chemical name of each type. Ballast Point Yachts, Inc., a leading San Diego yacht brokerage, runs through the three most common types of marine sealants.

1. Polysulfide Sealants

Polysulfide is the most versatile of all marine sealants. A form of synthetic rubber, polysulfide allows for a bit of stretch, something commonly experienced when wave motion or temperature change affects the entire vessel. This material is especially good for bonding rails and trims to hardwood, particularly teak. However, polysulfide does not work well as a sealant for plastic. Never use polysulfide sealants on plastic windows or port lights.

2. Polyurethane Sealants

This compound acts more like a rock-hard adhesive. It is recommended for use on any type of hull-to-deck joint, and rub rails and toe rails are usually bonded using this type of sealant. Just remember that the bond is so tight that disassembling the two components in the future will be very difficult. Polyurethane also reacts negatively with most plastics.

3. Silicon Sealants

Silicon-based sealants are generally used to tightly fit gaskets. This makes it perfect for bonding plastics, especially PVC. Silicon sealants are also a great choice for bonding together two different metals such as stainless steel and aluminum. However, this type of sealant should never be used below the waterline.

When looking over familiar brand names, remember to check for the actual composition of the sealant to ensure you get the best sealant for your purposes. If you’re unsure about which sealant is best and would prefer to find trusted boat repair in San Diego, give Ballast Point Yachts, Inc. a call at (619) 222-3620.  We provide comprehensive repair services, cleaning and detailing, bottom painting, and interior design. We can also help you buy or sell a boat, provide an appraisal, or conduct a pre-purchase inspection.