By Rob Paddock
Rob_PaddockWhy should goalies stay fit?
Why should inspections and maintenance be performed on sealants?

These seem like logical questions to me. I would presume that goalies mostly stand around waiting for the action to come to them. What then, is the point of maintaining their bodies at an optimal level of fitness? Surely they only need to muster up the energy for a few short sharp bursts of energy every now and then?

Clearly, I do not understand anything about what being a goalie entails.

If you chat to any accomplished football goalie, they will tell you that, although they only have to make a couple of physically exerting dives and saves in a game, they are constantly on the move, pre-empting the attacking strikers moves. In some games and seasons they have to endure a never-ending series of attempts from the opposing teams strikers to penetrate their defence. The physical exertion in these games is exhausting, and if they are not at an optimal level of fitness, they are sure to let their team down.

Inspections and maintenance are to sealants, what training and regular practice are to goalies: vital for optimum performance.

When a contractor is hired to review the condition of the sealants on your scheme’s building, they should carry out the following basic steps:

1) Inspection – to review the sealant joints for five main signs of failure:

  • improper installation – a wide range of symptoms that could lead to problems
  • loss of elasticity – sometimes indicated by loss of flexibility
  • loss of adhesion – the sealant is separating from the surfaces to which it was applied
  • loss of cohesion – visible cracks or splitting within the sealant itself
  • weathering – could include, for example, blistering, chalking, discoloration or cracking

2) Cleaning – to remove mildew and dirt.

For some sealants, the accumulation of mildew and dirt may impair the sealant’s ability to perform its function. Most sealants, except for silicone, are reasonably resistant to dirt pick-up. Alcohol based cleaners should not be used for silicone sealants; a mild soap and water solution is usually adequate.

3) Touch-ups – to repair minor gaps in the sealant.

Touching-up of problem areas is not a long-term solution.  This is because applying a sealant over an existing sealant (even a compatible product) will result in an inferior seal compared to the original installation. Touch-ups should be recognised for what they are – a temporary measure designed to prolong the life of the existing sealant until a more permanent solution (involving replacement of affected areas) can be scheduled.

4) Replacement – when a significant portion of the sealant in a given area shows signs of failure, or when the sealant has lost its flexibility, it is time to consider replacing the sealant.

Different areas of the building envelope may require replacement of the sealant at different times, depending on exposure to weather. For example, sealants usually break down more quickly when exposed to sunlight, so the sealant on the north side of the building (which is exposed to (the) more sun) may require replacement long before the sealant on the south side of the building shows any signs of problems.

How often must sealants be inspected and maintained?

Sealants should be reviewed every year or two. The action taken at that point – cleaning, touch-up, repair or replacement – depends upon the observed condition of the sealant. Because there are so many different types of sealants and many causes of sealant failure, the inspection and maintenance should be carried out by a professional contractor.

Generally, do not try to extend the service life of the sealant past the manufacturer’s recommended interval. Go for quality. In most cases, using the best quality materials will lower future servicing and repair costs.

Article reference: Volume 5, Issue 1, Page 4.
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.