How Do Sealants Compare To Adhesives ?

The terms, sealants and adhesives, are often used for the same products. The prime use for sealants is sealing joints. Adhesives bond two elements together, whether it be elastic or hardening adhesive. Sealants compared to adhesives is a commonly raised question.

The key question is using the right product for the right application.

Aspects of Sealants Compared to Adhesives

Types of Sealants

There are 4 basic types of sealants each with different properties and sub products.


This group of sealants include putty and sodium silicate. These have 0% movement capability.


This group includes butylene and bitumes sealants. These have a maximum movement capability of 7.5%


Plastic elastic sealants include acrylic and butyl. They have a maximum movement capacity of 12.5%


There are 4 types in this group including polysulphide, polyurethane, silicone and hybrid sealants. There maximum movement capability is 25%.

Uses for Sealants

There are 3 different applications.

Connection Joints

The applications below should have a maximum of 12.5% movement meaning plastic-elastic sealants are used.

  1. Used between building materials with an aesthetical aspect.
  2. Joining around frames, ceilings stairs, baseboards

Dilatation Joints

These sealant uses should have a maximum movement of 25% meaning elastic sealants are used.

  1. Joints which are made to absorb movement  caused by expansion and shrinkage, wind burden and vibrations in constructions.
  2. In common joint applications such as facades, floors, glazing and sanitary.

The Riteseal Silicone Sealant falls into this category.

Construction Joints

Joints which are required to bond and absorb movement between different kind of building materials. Sheet material, container construction, automotive = construction sealants.

Types of Adhesives

There are 4 types of adhesives including curing types, solvent based, waterbased and 1 part moisture curing.

PU adhesives are another sub category. Hybrid adhesives are also another type.

Types of Adhesive Applications

Panel Bonding

Gluing of panels, skirting boards, windowsills, stripes and thresholds in the building industry.  An ideal product in these applications is Rite Secure and Seal.

Structural Glazing

Floor Bonding



Wooden Frames