A spray sealant is a liquid or foam barrier applied to surfaces to protect them from external elements. Spray sealants are made by combining plastic polymers that adhere to a surface and each other to create a solid layer of defense. Custom spray sealant formulations are manufactured for specific surfaces in both small, commercial, and large-scale industrial applications. Sealing a surface with sealant prevents much of the moisture and chemical seepage that can cause damage. Painted and unpainted surfaces have microscopic gaps and cracks that can be filled in by applying one or more layers of the correct variety of spray sealant.
Sealant sprays are available in many sizes and types to meet the specific needs of the project. Sealing smaller areas is commonly done with small hand-held aerosol canisters. Larger areas require a large volume of sealant packaged inside pressurized refillable cylinders. Carefully reading the label of a spray sealant prior to application is an important step to ensure that it is safe for use on the intended surface. Some foaming sealant sprays have two liquid components that react to generate a dense foam when they are combined in the spray nozzle at the very last moment before application.
The layer of protection provided by a spray sealant generally becomes clear or slightly opaque once it has been allowed to dry completely. Clear sealants applied to the paint of a vehicle allow the color of the paint to show through while extending the longevity of the original shade. The extra cost of using a sealant is an investment in the future condition and appearance of the protected surface. Some spray sealant varieties have an ultra-violet additive that blocks almost all of the damaging rays from the sun. Permanent pigments can be added to a liquid sealant to turn it into a colorful glaze.
Many graphic artists and printers use spray sealant to protect applied inks, paints, and pigments from smearing and water damage. Sealing sprays are sometimes applied to high-quality prints to keep the ink from seeping into the paper and spreading out in the surrounding area. Spraying the front and back of a sheet of paper created a laminate layer that keeps the print sealed. Sealant must be applied from the manufacturer's suggested distance to avoid over-saturation and streaking. Gloss and matte spray sealant options are available to leave the sealed page looking shiny or dull depending on the needs of the project.