So what's best for you, Acetoxy Silicone Or Neutral Cure Silicone?
A quick Google search for either of these caulking materials pulls up countless articles and blog posts with titles such as “Acetoxy Versus Neutral Cure Sealants” or “Acetoxy Neutral Cure Comparison” — which can give a casual reader the impression that one is better than the other. In reality, the two materials are equally useful; they are simply suited for different environments and uses. In this article, we will explore the strengths and weaknesses of both Acetoxy and Neutral Cure Silicone, as well as which material is right for what type of project.
This silicone material is made with acetic acid, which is released while the caulk is drying. Chemistry buffs and cooks alike will remember that acetic acid is, aside from water, the main component of vinegar — and the first thing you will notice when using acetoxy silicone sealant is its strong vinegar-like smell. Unlike the vinegar in your pantry, however, acetoxy are quite corrosive, which, as we will discuss shortly, affects the way acetoxy silicone should be used.
The Advantages Of Acetoxy Silicone
One of the biggest advantages of acetoxy sealants is that they dry significantly faster than neutral cure silicone — in fact, acetoxy silicone usually becomes tack-free within minutes, although it is important to understand that it will not be fully cured for up to 24 hours. At the end of the day, acetoxy’s fast dry time is a plus, especially for anyone working a time-sensitive project.
In addition to curing faster, acetoxy silicone sealants are more affordable than natural cure caulking materials. For example, our Premium 100% RTV Silicone Sealant here at Silicone Depot is available for $3.50 for a standard 10 oz. sausage, whereas our Premium Neutral Cure 100% RTV Silicone Sealant costs $4.29. Of course, larger orders on our products do come at reduced bulk pricing; but paying less per sausage is clear benefit of acetoxy caulk.
The Disadvantages of Acetoxy Silicone
As we touched upon earlier, the high concentration of acetic acid found in acetoxy silicone is highly corrosive. This can cause discoloration when used on natural stone. When used on bituminous materials (i.e certain roofing materials, carpet tiles, paints, and waterproof materials) it can cause the bitumen to “bleed.” Acetic acid can also damage certain metals such as brass and copper — and it is important to keep sensitive electronics away from acetoxy silicone while it is curing, as the resulting vapors can potentially cause damage. Last but not least, the aforementioned odor caused by acetoxy silicone is not exactly pleasant.
Neutral Cure Silicone
As the name implies, neutral cure silicone cures in a different manner than acetoxy caulking. More specifically, neutral cure releases alcohol upon drying rather than relying on highly corrosive substances such as acetic acid. Here’s a quick run down of its advantages and disadvantages
The Advantages of Neutral Cure Silicone
Because neutral cure silicone doesn’t create an acidic environment, it is the perfect solution for caulking materials that would otherwise be damaged by acetoxy sealant. (I.e. stones, brass, copper, bituminous materials and any space that is close to sensitive electronics.) Additionally, neutral cure silicone is better for exterior use because it is more weather resistant than its acetoxy counterpart.
The Disadvantages Neutral Cure
The longer dry time of neutral cure silicone can be a drawback for anyone hoping to finish their project as quickly as possible. (If you are sealing up a space in your shower, for example, you might not feel like waiting 24 hours plus just to bathe!) People using industrial quantities of silicone sealant might also be dissuaded from using neutral cure silicone because of its high price tag: in many scenarios, acetoxy silicone gets the job done just as well, so why pay more?
Summary: When to use Acetoxy Silicone Vs. Neutral Cure
If you’re looking for a quick answer, here’s a simplified summary of the points we elaborated on above!
Acetoxy Silicone is best for:
●Interior spaces that will not be exposed to extreme temps or varying weather.
●People who are concerned about their silicone budget.
●Materials that can stand up to a highly acidic environment.
Neutral Cure Silicone is best for:
●Exterior spaces and areas that will be exposed to a range of weather conditions.
●Projects that are not urgent.
●Stones, sensitive metals, and other materials that might be damaged by acidity.
Ready to start shopping? Visit Silicone Depot online to find the right sealant for your needs!