What are the Different Types of Waterproof Sealant?

Autumn Rivers

Sealant is often used in construction and home projects to both close gaps and protect surfaces. If the goal is chiefly to prevent water damage, a waterproof sealant typically should be used. There are several types that are made of different substances, and most have a few particular surfaces that they protect best. The main types include silicone, polyurethane, and bituminous, and can range in shade from clear to lightly tinted.

Waterproof silicone sealant.
Waterproof silicone sealant.

One of the most common types of waterproof sealant is silicone-based. Not only can this type typically keep water from damaging most materials, but it can also protect surfaces and its own structural integrity from ultraviolet (UV) rays and extreme temperatures. There are different types of silicone waterproof sealant, some of which can protect against mold or be applied to natural materials like marble or stone without staining. In general, silicone sealant cannot be painted over, though there are a few specialized silicone sealants mixed with other substances just for that purpose.

Applying waterproof sealant to a wall.
Applying waterproof sealant to a wall.

Polyurethane sealant, on the other hand, typically can be easily painted over. This is helpful when it comes to blending waterproof sealant with the surrounding d├ęcor. It also does not usually shrink, and is not easily damaged by abrasion, which means it is used often with both flooring and cars. The drawbacks of this type of sealant include having a shorter lifespan than silicone sealant, and having a lesser ability able to withstand extreme temperatures and UV rays. Additionally, polyurethane sealant is not known for being friendly to the environment.

Clear sealant is one of the most common types of waterproofing materials.
Clear sealant is one of the most common types of waterproofing materials.

A kind of waterproof sealant that is less suitable for floors is the bituminous type. A few versions of this product are particularly fuel-resistant or able to withstand hot and cold temperatures. For these reasons, some types can be used as concrete sealant on airport decks and roadways. Roof sealant also is often made with this substance to protect the tops of houses and buildings from water damage. Additionally, bituminous sealant is usually one of the best to use around a lot of water, such as in tanks that hold several tons.

Clear sealant is the most popular type, as it is often best for industrial and commercial projects that do not need color. Tinted sealant that specializes in waterproofing is also available, though. For example, much of the wood sealant on the market includes a slight tint that enhances the natural beauty of the wood. Such sealant also often includes some resistance to mildew.

Cement waterproofing is usually performed after the cement has cured.
Cement waterproofing is usually performed after the cement has cured.

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Discussion Comments


What type of sealant is best for using around a toilet bowl which is sitting on top of tile?


I made some coasters with photos that I put on ceramic tiles, put cork on the back and they turned out great, but the acrylic sealant I was told to put on them isn't drying hard for you to put a drink on; a ring sinks into the sealant and when you go to stack them they stick together even though they have been sitting to dry for over a month! What else can I use to put on these that will turn hard so I can use them? Any ideas?


your information is very useful.


Silicone sealant is the best for metal. If you have any aluminum accents in your home you should really look into buying some sealant so nothing rusts. Things like screen door frames and vents are pretty susceptible to the elements, so having them coated is a good idea.

I have also found that silicone sealant is great if you have a leaky tap or a pipe with a very small crack. It can save you oodles on repair bills and is available fairly cheap at your local home improvement store.

Just make sure if you are using it on a hot water pipe that you check the temperatures at which you can use the sealant. This is printed on the bottle.


If you have outdoor wood it is important to make sure that you use a waterproof sealant to make sure it keeps looking great. Whether it is an outdoor deck, or your favorite lawn furniture, keeping it coated and protected from the elements is a good idea.

For wood, waterproof sealant is not like a stain, it does not have any coloring and goes on perfectly clear. It will go over existing paint or stain though, so you don't have to worry about what you are applying it to.

As a note, make sure not to let the waterproof sealant touch other surfaces like aluminum or glass. It can mark and damage them.

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