We’ve had contractors call us to ask why their joint sealant isn’t setting right or taking too long to set. The answer can be one of two things. Either the small can of activator is expired – for best outcomes, you will want to use DECK-O-SEAL within one year of our manufacturing date – or there’s a second reason: the installer didn’t use a stop watch set to 10 minutes.
You may think that using a stop watch is overkill theater, but the truth is, a two-component joint sealant like our DECK-O-SEAL joint sealant is designed to be mixed for 10 minutes. When you properly mix for 10 minutes you ensure that both components have been thoroughly combined. The properly mixed sealant will skin over in 4 hours after you apply it. Your end result should look like the bottom right quadrant. On the flip side, when you do not mix correctly, the outcome is a doughy mastic, filled with air bubbles, color streaks and it will look like the top left quadrant.
When it looks doughy, this is a sure sign that someone didn’t mix the activator with the base correctly for 10 minutes.
When Jim Dill, our DECK-O-SEAL Division Manager, teaches how to apply DECK-O-SEAL, he uses his BAKE-A-CAKE analogy. If you’ve ever purchased a cake mix, or even pancake mix, you know that if it isn’t perfectly mixed and the white flour is still showing, some areas of the cake will bake faster than others. When it’s not perfectly blended, your cake won’t be winning any blue ribbons at the county fair.
Once you mix cake ingredients, let it sit for a few minutes, and then tip it on its side to get all of the air bubbles to form one large air bubble, and then pop it, so you don’t have a cavernous cake. You’ll want to do the same with your joint sealant.
The same is true with DECK-O-SEAL. The small can is the activator and the color. The larger can is the base. The base is always white. The only thing that changes from batch to batch is the color. Jim tells people to mix the base first and then mix the small can. Mixing the small can is also key. You do not want to pour the small, activator can into the base without having mixed it first. The small can of activator starts out as a thick, peanut butter-like consistency, but as you mix it, it liquefies. Once it achieves that liquid consistency, that’s when you pour it into the base and begin mixing it.
For example, if you have a white base and a dark gray activator, you must mix it together for 10 minutes to ensure a good, clean, solid mix. If you turn the mix over and notice there’s some marbling, or some dark gray streaks in the white, the sealant will not set or harden as designed.
Over the years, Jim has identified one consistent finding. Time doesn’t fly when you’re mixing joint sealant. When he questions people who have misapplied the joint sealant, Jim has found that they always under-estimate the time they spent mixing the activator and base by at least 50%.
Perhaps we should start bundling DECK-O-SEAL pool joint sealant with a tiny, 10-minute hour glass, like the kind you find in board games.
For more information on DECK-O-SEAL application, please contact us at 1-800-342-5976 or visit our website for a live chat operator. If you’re interested in hearing tips about becoming more effective and profitable in your business, check out our new W. R. MEADOWS podcast with host Riley and his guest Al Levi, author of the program and book, The 7-Power Contractor, which teaches business owners of any kind how to achieve “Less Stress and More Success.”