Protecting Antique Light Fixtures with Silicone Sealant

Protecting Antique Light Fixtures with Silicone Sealant

Jul 3rd 2024

Lighting fixtures can add character, warmth, and cohesion to a home or business, and antique lighting fixtures do this even more. Maintaining older homes or adding vintage touches requires a skilled hand to blend the old with the new while maintaining their integrity. Clients who buy these homes want to preserve and protect the unique charm of vintage pieces and want to see them shine.

When it comes to resealing or installing antique lighting fixtures, the right technique can make a huge difference. To help you protect antique light fixtures, here are some practical tips that will help you get this process right.

Setting Up Before Sealing

There is no single solution for light fixtures, especially when it comes to color. When working with antique lighting fixtures, you'll want to pick a sealant that matches the color of the surface you're adhering to or a transparent sealant to avoid pulling attention away from the fixture.

Additionally, the location of the fixture can change what type of sealant you choose. For example, outdoor fixtures require a more pliable sealant that will adjust in hot or wet conditions, so plan accordingly.

Sealing Around the Light Fixture

It’s important to prep the antique light fixture and the surface before applying sealant. A common trick of the trade is to use glass cleaner or a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water. You’ll want to wipe down and completely dry the area and the fixture. Once it’s clean and you’ve set up your space with plenty of ventilation, you’re ready to start.

With this out of the way, the first step in sealing the antique lighting fixture is prepping your silicone tube. To open the tube, cut the nozzle at roughly a 45-degree angle. Ideally, your hole will be about a quarter inch in size. After cutting your nozzle, you can mount your tube into a caulking gun, which makes application much easier.

Applying Silicone Sealant

For wall-mounted fixtures, you should start at the top and work downward. For fixtures with a square base, start on the corners and work down the planes. There’s less to think about with round ceiling fixtures, but beginning in an accessible place can help you get the bead size right.

Consistency is key when applying the silicone. Prioritize using an even, gentle touch as you apply the sealant. You want a bead width that is the same all the way around. Be careful to not overdo the sealant, as it can cause drips. It’s also essential to avoid any gaps. Make sure that if you have to stop, you go back and reinforce spots that are missing or patchy.

Smoothing Your Silicone Bead

Leaving an unflattened bead looks unfinished and can potentially compromise the integrity of the bond, so it’s important to smooth it out properly. While you can smooth it with a finger, that is not usually ideal. Instead, you should use a tool or spatula to flatten out or profile the sealant.

Starting from the inner edge closest to the fixture, smooth outwards using medium pressure. It’s good practice to press the lighting fixture firmly against the surface so your seal remains airtight. Have some towels nearby to clean up any excess silicone that pools around the fixture or on your profiling tool. Do this as many times as needed until you are satisfied with the texture of the silicone around the antique light fixture.

Curing and Finishing Touches

Now, all that’s left to do is wait. Keep in mind that the sealant won’t dry right away. You have to hold or tape your fixture in place to prevent it from falling. Always check the packaging on your silicone sealant and adhere to the proper curing time. Silicone sealant has an extremely long life, so if you follow this guide, you should have a seal that will stand the test of time.

Take Care of Your Clients’ Spaces with Quality Silicone Sealant

Proper care and technique when installing or resealing antique light fixtures can give them the protection they need to last. It’s always good to be up to date on the best tools available for home renovation, like silicone sealant. For help selecting the right silicone sealant for your next project, give us a call at 812-824-8000.