While there are many types of seam sealer products available, for the most part they will fall into three categories:
Before application of any type of seam sealer it is important that the surfaces to be sealed are clean and dry. The surface must also be free from any wax, grease, grime or dirt as these contaminants can prevent proper adhesion.
If you intend to use a “rub-on” type product such as 3M™ Super Weatherstrip Adhesive Sealant, apply a liberal amount of adhesive along both edges (approximately 1/4″ on either side) and allow it to penetrate the edge at least 24 hours before installing the windshield. This allows time for bubbles to rise out while preventing moisture from entering through the edges.
For installation of the windshield, use three or more interlocking panels and seal each edge to prevent moisture from penetrating behind it. Be sure not to use interlocking seams along the topmost portion of the windshield as this is where most water will collect when driving in wet conditions. Install weatherstripping at top of glass only if vehicle is equipped with an outside mirror. Otherwise, allow a 1/4″ gap between glass and weatherstripping to minimize air pressure difference that occurs with changes in cabin temperature (-40 F / 110 F). This allows for easier removal of ice during extreme cold weather conditions.
If using a “spray-on” type product such as 3M™ Original Multi-Surface Adhesive Sealant , a light misting of adhesive on both edges is usually sufficient. Allow time for adhesive to penetrate the first 1/2 – 1″ depth in order to create an effective barrier and prevent moisture from entering behind it later on.
For installation, apply adhesive evenly to one edge only (usually the upper-most portion of windshield or rear glass) and install weatherstripping by lightly misting it onto other edge with a spray-type applicator.
Apply two interlocking panels of weatherstripping along each side and one across top of windshield or rear glass (if equipped). Make sure not to use interlocking seams at top as this is where most water will collect when driving in wet conditions. Seal all edges well in order to prevent moisture from entering windshield channels during winter months. Weatherstripping may be left off if vehicle is equipped with an outside mirror. Otherwise, allow a 1/4″ gap between glass and weatherstripping to minimize air pressure differences with changes in temperature. This allows for easier removal of ice during extreme cold weather conditions.
Once installation is complete, run a squeegee over entire windshield to remove any excess adhesive that may have been left behind. Any adhesive that has not penetrated the glass will cause haze and once dried, cannot be removed later on. Allow 4-6 hours drying time before driving vehicle or until the surface feels dry to touch without leaving an imprint of moisture residue when lightly touched with finger tips.
Note: If using a “roll-on” type product such as 3M™ Wet Edge Sealant, apply a thin yet thick line to one edge only (usually the upper-most portion of windshield or rear glass). Also, try not to overlap too much as this can cause air pockets that will require additional drying time. If
using a “spray-on” type product such as 3M™ Wet Edge Sealant, apply adhesive to both edges evenly and allow installer to mist the weatherstripping at installation site. In this case, it is important that the installer not touch the surface of the adhesive with his/her fingers or palms in order to avoid fingerprint contamination which will cause hazing during drying process.
When you notice a leak in your car there are certain ways you can try to fix the problem yourself. Depending on where the leak is coming from, there are two different types of sealants that you can use to try and stop it.
We will first take a look at what they are, how they work, and then we'll discuss when you should be using these products to repair leaks.
Flashing Compound or Sealant
The first product that we're going to talk about is flash coating compound or sealer. A flashing compound usually comes in an aerosol can for easy application, although it's also available in stick form if you want a better grip while applying it. It does not dry like a liquid sealer so it's important to apply with an even, thin coat. If you don't do this you're likely to get lumpy or dried out areas where the sealant doesn't cover completely.
When using flash foam make sure that you avoid applying too much as it can drip down and cause more problems than if there were no sealant used at all. Also remember that the application of flashing compound will not fix a leak in your car's bodywork from rust damage, such as when the corrosion has gone right through the metal. In some cases, especially on older vehicles, it is best to use both products together to give yourself the best chance of fixing your leak for good.
Liquid Paint Sealant
Liquid paint sealants are heavier than flash foam and they will fuse with your car's bodywork when it dries. This is why you should apply this type of sealant thinly, just like flashing compound so that you can ensure a smooth finish. You should also check that the surface of your car is clean before applying either of these products to give yourself the best chance of having no leaks at all in the near future.
These liquids aren't completely permanent either, so don't use them on an area where there is already rust damage because the sealant won't stop corrosion forming again in time. In addition to this, if you get a hole larger than 0.4mm then you need to repair it properly with a rust proof filler instead.
If you need to use any of these sealants then make sure that you're using the right product for the leak and not just applying them in the hope that it'll work. The good thing is that both liquid paint sealants and flashing compounds are relatively cheap so even if you try to fix your car yourself and don't quite manage it, it shouldn't cost too much money to rectify the mistake.
A sealant is a coating that bonds to the surface of your vehicle. Seals on the inside and outside, protecting it from elements like dirt, pollen, water spots and UV damage. A well applied carnauba paste wax will protect your paint for several months or longer but to get even more protection out of you'll need a sealant. With their increased durability, durability and long lasting protection they really are worth considering as an addition to your car care routine!
I've written many guides about how different products do what they do but today I'm going to try something new by explaining how you use them! I hope you find this article helpful and if there's anything that isn't clear after reading why not leave me a comment and I'll do my best to help you out!
What is a sealant?
A carnauba paste wax or paint sealant is a clear coating that bonds to the surface of your vehicle. Sealants are well known for enhancing depth and gloss, protecting against UV damage and also providing some limited protection from soil and stains on the exterior only. Seals on the inside too where they will protect the colour from staining as well as provide some protection against acid rain. The most durable carnauba paste waxes can last up to 6 months but a good quality paint sealant or polymer sealant (known for being even more long lasting) should give you between 12-18 months of protection.
Can I paint over a wax paint sealant?
Before detailing your vehicle you should remove all previous protection then re-apply a new layer. This is because it's generally considered better to apply paint protection in layers as it can be easier to correct small mistakes and any imperfections when the coating is fresh! But if you're happy with how your car looks after using either a carnauba paste wax or synthetic polymer sealant, I would recommend leaving that layer on for at least 3 months before applying anything else (unless of course there are problems such as marring).
Choosing a Paint Sealant
There are a number of things you'll want to consider before choosing which product is best for you:
Brand – Brand loyalty has no bearing on how good a product is. In fact, some of the best sealants out there are made by companies that you've probably never heard of!
Price – A quality paint sealant will be more expensive than a carnauba paste wax but there's no need to spend a fortune if you're not going to use it every month. Try and find a sealant in your price range from as reputable a brand as possible – you'll likely pay for itself with better protection and longer lasting results (good products also mean fewer trips to the garage stressing about swirls!)
Durability – The durability/protection offered by paint sealants varies widely depending on the type you choose. Polymer-based or hybrid sealants offer the best protection by far but they are also the most expensive.
Gloss – The amount of gloss offered by a paint sealant depends largely on what type of carnauba wax or polymer resin is used in the mixture as well as how much pigment is added. Some sealants offer no gloss at all while others will make your vehicle sparkle like glass! Personally I prefer a deep, wet-look finish but this really comes down to personal preference. Just remember that once you've applied a layer of paint protection it will never be able to get any deeper than that without stripping off and re-applying. So if you want maximum depth, apply several layers then top it with a high level Carnauba paste wax for an ultra high gloss finish!
How to apply a carnauba paste wax or paint sealant
Wash your vehicle with water and a pH-balanced shampoo suitable for use on cars. Rinse thoroughly then dry completely using a chamois leather or soft microfiber towel. For perfect results, use our 50/50 wool wash mitt ! Never apply any new layer of protection over an unclean surface – the dirt could trap moisture which will cause the paint sealer to smear badly when you try and remove it later! Carnauba paste waxes sometimes have very stubborn stains near seams where they can be hard to get rid of – if that happens just wait until after application to clean properly.
We're going to cover the removal of paint protection in detail at a later date but for now just know that you will need to remove any carnauba paste wax or polymer sealant before applying another layer. This process is known as stripping the previous layer and usually involves using strong solvents such as Paint Thinner, Citrus Solvent or G83 Rubbing Compound to dissolve existing paint protection then clean and polish off the residue after rinsing with water.
How many layers should I apply?
This step is optional – some people apply multiple layers while others choose only to use one product. In recent years the trend has moved towards fewer layers (technically called recoating) which can result in deeper colour and gloss levels but allows faster cleans between each layer. Some brands have started to use more pigment in their products which means that multiple layers can be applied without sacrificing clarity or depth of colour.