Sealant Calculator

Created by Kenneth Alambra
Reviewed by Steven Wooding
Last updated: Aug 10, 2022

If you need to find out how much silicone sealant you need, or even any types of similar sealing material, this joint sealant calculator is for you. This tool also works as a caulking calculator since caulking is very much the same as sealants. But we'll talk more about that later.

In this calculator, you will learn:

  • What sealant is;
  • What is a sealant for;
  • The difference between sealant and caulk;
  • How to use our sealant calculator; and
  • How to determine how much sealant you need.

What is a sealant and what is it for?

Sealants are construction materials used to fill voids and gaps, usually for weatherproofing or waterproofing purposes. Sealants have excellent adhesion properties, making them suitable for various uses.

We mostly see sealants used in sealing glass joints (where the edges of two or more adjacent glasses meet) like those in glass containers (e.g., aquariums and tanks) and glass panels used in windows and walls. Sealing is not the same as welding the same materials together. Instead, we let the sealant stick to the objects we need to join. You can learn more about welding in our welding calculator.

Sealants come in different materials, but the most common are silicone, polyurethane, and acrylic. We apply sealants in a pasty consistency, and they dry and set flexible to the touch. Their flexibility and elasticity make them perfect for joints where we need to allow structural movements (e.g., due to thermal expansion). Once dried, they can either be paintable or not.

When visiting a hardware store to buy sealants, they would also probably ask if you need caulking. Caulking is similar to sealants but dries to a less elastic, more rigid material. They also tend to shrink as they dry, so to avoid further gaps due to their shrinking, it's advisable not to apply very thick caulking.

In the next section of this text, let us discuss how to use our silicone sealant calculator.

🙋 Grout is a similar material to sealants as we also use it to fill gaps between tiles and bricks. Learn more about it by checking out our grout calculator. You can also use that tool in conjunction with this if you want to fill your tile gaps with sealant.

How to use this silicone sealant calculator

To use this silicone sealant calculator, follow these simple steps:

  1. Enter the total length of the gap that needs sealing. It could be a result of the summation of straight measurements like the perimeter of a glass window or the joints of an aquarium, or it could be a curved distance measured using a flexible rule or a measuring tape.

  2. Input your desired width and depth of sealant to apply to that total length. Upon doing so, our calculator will display the volume of sealant you will need for this distance.

  3. If you already know the volume you need to fill or seal, skip steps 1 and 2 and enter the volume in the Volume needed parameter. You can check our volume calculator if you need help determining the volume of the most common prismoidal shapes.

  4. Type in your expected wastage percentage during your sealant application. This volume adjustment will determine how much silicone sealant you need to buy. If you've mastered the art of applying sealants, you can enter as little as 0% for your wastage percentage.

  5. Select the package size available to you or the size you're comfortable using. Applying sealants needs some level of precision, and using larger tubes can hamper your sealant gun control.

  6. If your preferred package size is not in our options, choose Custom as the package size, and our tool will display the Tube volume variable. There you can enter your desired package content volume. After that, our silicone sealant calculator will show how many of those sealant packages you'll need for your project.

  7. You can also enter the price per piece of your selected package size to estimate the total cost of the sealant you'll need.

Please keep reading to learn how our silicone sealant calculator does its calculations so that you can do it yourself too! 🙂

How to calculate sealant volume – A joint sealant calculation example

Finding how much sealant you need boils down to calculating the volume your sealant will occupy. In this tool, we use this particular formula:

Vn=L×w×d\small V_n = L\times w\times d

where:

  • VnV_n – Volume of sealant needed;
  • LL – Total length;
  • ww – Width; and
  • dd – Depth.

Say you have to install four window glass panels that measure 60 cm wide and 90 cm tall each. The total length we'll have to use will be equal to 2 × (60 cm + 90 cm) × 4 =1200 cm since we want to seal each glass panel's entire perimeter. Now, let's say there is a 0.5 cm gap between the glass and its frame, and it has a depth of 1.0 cm. We can plug in these values to our formula to find the volume of sealant we need, as shown below:

Vn=L×w×d=1200 cm×0.5 cm×1.0 cm=600 cm3=600 mL\small \begin{align*} V_n &= L\times w\times d\\ &= 1200\ \text{cm}\times 0.5\ \text{cm}\times 1.0\ \text{cm}\\ &= 600\ \text{cm}^3\\ & = 600\ \text{mL} \end{align*}

As a contingency plan, in case we waste some sealant due to spillage or mistakes, let us consider a wastage percentage we can denote as cc equal to 5%. That means we expect to waste 5% of our sealant. We can use this equation to find the actual volume of sealant we need to purchase (we denote as VaV_a):

Va=Vn1c100=600 mL15100=600 mL10.05=631.579 mL631.6 mL\small \begin{align*} V_a &=\frac{V_n}{1-\frac{c}{100}}\\[1.5em] &=\frac{600\ \text{mL}}{1-\frac{5}{100}}\\[1.5em] &=\frac{600\ \text{mL}}{1-0.05}\\[1.5em] &= 631.579\ \text{mL} ≈ 631.6\ \text{mL} \end{align*}

We now know that we'll need about 631.6 mL of sealant. From the hardware store, we can get sealants in tubes, sausage-shaped packaging in foils, and even in jars or buckets. Let's say the available packaging for us are 300 mL tubes. We only need to divide our total volume of sealant by the volume content, VtV_t, of our chosen size of packaging to find the quantity, nn, we need, as shown below:

n=VaVt=631.6 mL300 mL=2.105 tubes3 tubes\small \begin{align*} n &= \frac{V_a}{V_t}\\[1.5em] &= \frac{631.6\ \text{mL}}{300\ \text{mL}}\\[1em] &= 2.105\ \text{tubes} ≈ 3\ \text{tubes} \end{align*}

Performing calculations for caulking follows the same procedure. Therefore, you can also use this joint sealant calculator as a caulking calculator.

FAQ

How do I determine how much silicone sealant I need?

To determine how much silicone sealant you need:

  1. Measure the total length of the distance you need to seal.
  2. Determine the width of the gap you need to fill or the width of sealant you need to apply.
  3. Note the depth of the gap or your desired sealant thickness.
  4. Multiply the total length by the product of the width and depth to find how much silicone sealant you need.

How much does a tube of silicone cover?

A 310 mL tube of silicone can cover around 12.4 meters of a gap with a depth and width of 5 millimeters.

We can quickly get that value by dividing the volume content of a tube in milliliters by the product of the cross-sectional dimensions of the gap in millimeters. For example 310 mL ÷ (5 mm × 5 mm) = 12.4 meters.

What are sealants made of?

Sealants are either made of organic (e.g., polyurethane and acrylic sealants) or synthetic materials (e.g., silicone sealants) that can be elastic or not, and usually have incredible adhesion to most construction materials like metals, plastics, glass, and wood. We can also use epoxy and wax (to name a few others) as sealants.

How much sealant do I need?

You would need enough volume of sealant to leave no air gaps between the materials you need to seal.

Therefore, to determine how much you need, you have to calculate the volume of the gap you need to fill or the space that would make you cover the gap.

First, take the cross-sectional area of the gap. Then, multiply that area by the lineal length of the gap.

We can safely approximate the cross-sectional area by multiplying the depth and width of the gap we need to seal.

Kenneth Alambra
Length
ft
Width
in
Depth
in
Volume needed
US fl oz
Wastage
%
Actual volume needed
US fl oz
Available and needed sealant tubes or pails
Package size
310 mL cartridge
Number of packages needed
pcs
Cost
Price per piece
$/pc
Cost of sealant
$
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