..from the author

Over the last 25 years it has been my privilege to work on general projects of all kinds; working with many brilliant people.  Among these projects have been public facilities, industrial, educational, commercial high-rise, medical, and major sporting facilities.  I began as a caulker climbing 40’ extension ladders to seal tilt-up concrete panels and progressed to larger and more complex building envelope installations, including structural glazed systems, curtain walls, and point-to-point glass.

Self-taught, I learned how to install sealants in every kind of cladding that can be fixed to the exterior of a building.   Installing sealants to perform with longevity is a must, and finishing them with aesthetic appeal is a requirement by architects and those they work for.

In all my experience there seemed to be no contribution of or practical guide to assist me in learning more about the substrates I was caulking, or the proper methods of installing their sealants.  Of the five basics to every sealant job, Clean, Prime, Pack, Shoot & Tool, perhaps one of leading causes of sealant failure has to do with improper tooling. Knowing what tools to use was a knowledge often forgotten or sometimes passed down from caulker to caulker, learning from their mistakes.

But, mistakes can be costly in today’s market place.  Just about everything that can fit into one’s hand has been used to push sealant into construction joinery.  Also, I found that many specifications for sealants were lacking comprehensible instructions and up-to-date information.  To this day, many sealant specifications are very generic and offer little practical counsel in HOW to actually install sealants.

Therefore, I decided to change this indiscretion and offer the kind of information that would help ensure real quality assurance to each project, and every design professional, contractor, and developer who wants their magnificent edifice to remain dry inside after it is built.  Other design professionals may win awards and accolades for their building excellence, but it will always be the less thought of caulker who will be held responsible to keep the elements out and away from the occupants of the building.

It is the caulker who will be accountable for the performance of the sealants installed in highly engineered and complex structures.  The standards and guidelines presented in this manual are for them and everyone interested in the successful installation of sealants in construction and restoration.

W. BelCher

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