3 Things to Look for In a Quality Epoxy Sealer

I get a lot of calls each day from people asking me about Pond Shield epoxy.  I receive questions about almost anything but the one thing the majority of them have in common is whether or not Pond Shield epoxy is the right product for the project in question.  So I will try and clear some of that up for you here by giving you three things to look for in a quality epoxy sealer.

As long as your project is sturdy in construction there is no reason why an epoxy sealer will not work for you.  The biggest problem though is that most people do not understand what makes a good, quality sealer.  Knowing that puts a pond builder that much closer to finishing a successful pond.

The first thing you need to find out is whether the sealer is designed for under water use.  This is probably the most important thing to find out.  An epoxy sealer that is meant to just provide nominal sealing to the surface applied does not mean that the epoxy or the bond will not break down after being subjected to an under water environment.  You would be surprised how many epoxies there are on the market today that cannot stand up to the punishment of an underwater service environment.

The second thing to consider is how much of the epoxy is made up of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  For lack of a better analogy, these are the amounts and types of solvents that are present in the epoxy sealer.  What happens with these volatile organic compounds is they will evaporate from the epoxy as the sealer cures.  Guess what happens when that evaporation takes place?  The coating can lose some of its body and can shrink.  The problem with shrinking is that if you are counting on the sealer to waterproof the surface applied, there can be repercussions if that coating surface diminishes after it has cured, especially in joint areas.

Finally, you have to consider how a sealer works.  A proper coating is not just applied like paint.  What I mean by that is when you apply a coating you are not just putting whatever color you chose onto the pond surface.  Because of this, you have to consider the minimum application thickness of the coating after it has been applied.  The reason there is a minimum thickness is because the sealer is going to be put under very specific stresses and has to be thick enough to take the punishment.  A mere 2 mil thick sealer, just is not going to withstand the forces placed against it and the pond will have problems.  Sometime people ask if they can stretch a kit that covers 60 square feet to 65 square feet.  The answer is no because if the kit is stretched to cover more area than it is intended to cover, then somewhere the coating is not going to be at the recommended minimum thickness and that area will have problems.

So keep these basics in mind when you are getting ready to coat your pond or water feature.  You will find that following the basic rules of coating will give you a much better outcome and greater chances of a successful project.

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How to Choose a Pond Sealant

You have found yourself at the right place if you want to know how to choose a pond sealant. I have personally heard of people using all sorts of things to seal their pond or water feature with. I have heard of people using asphalt, tar, latex paint, liquid rubber paints, various unknown epoxies, polyester resins, deck sealers and even spray paint, just to name a few.

While there are all types of sealants available to make something waterproof, most of the list of products available generally has to be thrown away simply because they are toxic in nature to fish and plants.  If you are building a water feature that will house either of those two life forms, then you need to steer your project towards a sealant that will do the job and not kill your stock. So that is the very first thing you need to consider. Many sealants can actually leech toxins off into the water and cause serious harm. This can happen rapidly or in some cases over a long period of time which could also lead to misdiagnosing the illness being seen in the stock.

The next things you need to consider is what the pond sealant is made of. I keep using the word sealant here because generally that is a recognizable terms when it comes to waterproofing. What you should not confuse the term with is a type of material that is used to saturate a surface and repel water or moisture. These types of sealants are not really sealants per say but repellants that normally need to be reapplied on a regular basis.

What you are looking for is a pond sealant that will not only waterproof, but bond to the surface it is being applied to. Bond is very important because without it, the sealant will eventually fall off of the surface in which case you will see peeling. When peeling happens, water can get behind the sealant and the decomposition of organics in the water can actually expedite this process. Rubbers and latex materials are prone to peeling because their bond strength is inhibited by their flexibility.

You also need to choose a sealant that was specifically designed to work under water. Too many times people take this simple fact for granted. Just because the sealant is capable of waterproofing a surface does not necessarily mean it can withstand the rigors of existing under water. This is also a reason why so many sealants can fail.

Flexibility is also important. It should be considered very carefully because too much or too little can cause premature failure of the sealant. Rubber for example tends to have the highest amount of flexibility, but with that comes its inability to hang on to the surface it has been applied to. Epoxies on the other hand have exceptional bond strengths. This means that when they are applied, they tend to not want to come off. Arguably though, most people tend to think epoxies are a bad choice because they think epoxies are brittle and are prone to cracking through.  Generally with the average epoxy this would be correct. However, a good epoxy sealant will not only have great bond strength, but it also has a certain amount of flexibility built into it that allows it to move with the surface applied to and not be prone to peeling because of it.

Finally, the pond sealant should be designed to work properly for a decent amount of time. The last thing you want to be doing is recoating every year. The effort in preparation alone does not even equate to the stress cause on your stock each time you have to empty the water feature, clean it, recoat and fill it again. This does not even take into account the new cycle the water feature needs to go through in order to hold your stock again.

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