Silicone adhesive, sometimes known as silicone sealant, is a popular product with a wide range of applications. While its exploits as a sealant or bonding agent don’t rank as strong as its competitors do, silicone has great flexibility even when it is completely dried or cured, and it is popular because of that flexibility. Silicone sealant can also easily withstand high temperatures, making it an ideal choice in applications that are exposed to high heat.
It is regularly used in a number of applications in the automotive industry, especially as an aid for sealing an engine. Its flexibility also makes it a good option as a sealant as far as various crafts and hobbies are concerned.
No matter what you’re using it for, here are a few tips to speed up the drying time of silicone sealants. If you had recently applied some and needed to paint over it for example, a faster curing process would be in your best interest.
Keep in mind that the sealant tends to look wet even after it has dried. Do a touch test to check if it’s really wet before you try these methods.
1. Use a Fan to Dry the Adhesive
One of the easiest ways you can dry the adhesive is by using a fan or heat lamp. Better yet, if you have a hair dryer, you can try dry-sealing it with the hair dryer.
NOTE: While the adhesive can stand up to extreme temperatures when cured, if the sealant is exposed to extreme temperatures in the curing stages, there can be some adverse effects. So, be careful when using the blow dryer. Keep it to a moderate temperature.
2. Add a Drying Catalyst
Very often, silicone adhesives can be dried quickly with the help of accelerators that are easily available in the market. You could also use some extra catalyst that will help in reducing the cure time.
You can reduce the cure time by mixing distilled water in a small amount. The water quantity should be around 1 teaspoon for every pound. Just make sure that you mix the water thoroughly to prevent curing from taking place unevenly.
3. Avoid Storage in Extreme Temperatures
Do not store your silicone adhesive in extreme temperatures, such as keeping it in your tool box in the garage during the blazing summer heat. After you've used your product, any that has yet to be used should be stored to avoid overheating, which would cause it to become “globby,” and it would not dry quickly.
NOTE: To be clear, this does not refer to where you should leave silicone adhesives as they’re curing. Used product can be left out to dry without giving much thought to temperature.
4. Check the Expiry Date When Buying the Adhesive
Check the date on the tube and make sure that it is not out of date. This small detail is easily overlooked, especially at the time of purchase, but silicone sealant does undergo changes if it goes past its shelf life.
If the tube is old or out of date, it takes longer to dry. Most tubes have directions that mention the time it would take for it to dry. If the solvent takes longer than the mentioned time, it is most likely because your tube is old. Keeping this in mind, when you’re shopping for any, be sure to read the date on the tube before you buy it to ensure that whichever tube you get, still has a long time of potency ahead of it.
Tips for Quickly Drying Silicone Adhesives
How long does it take for silicone adhesive to dry?
Some silicone adhesives can dry relatively quickly but this does not mean they are totally hardened and set. Silicone must also cure, which means it has fully hardened and reached its final, solid bonding state.
For the entire drying and curing process to be complete, silicone adhesive needs 24 hours at minimum. If the sealant is applied in a particularly thick layer, it may take several days for the silicone to fully cure.
Can you use a hair dryer to dry silicone?
It's tempting to attempt to speed up silicone dry time with a hair dryer or another device but usually, this is a bad idea. The hot air may help the surface of the silicone dry a little more quickly but it will not speed up the curing process, during which the silicone truly hardens and sets.
If anything, the hair dryer will impede silicone's ability to cure and make the process take even longer because the heat can cause silicone to melt if it hasn't fully cured.
Is there fast curing silicone?
Fast-curing RTV silicone is formulated to cure more quickly than other types of silicone. This silicone is designed to cure at room temperature and in small amounts, will fully cure in as little as an hour's time.
What would cause silicone not to dry?
Silicone, like any material that must dry to fully harden, can be affected by moisture in the air. Too much moisture in the air will cause the silicone to take longer to dry.
Will silicone dry without air?
Good airflow and ventilation around silicone ensures that the material will dry properly. Silicone needs air flow in order to properly cure, so without adequate air this dry time will be extended and it is possible that proper bonding will not be achieved.