Why have silicone prices increased?

Why have silicone prices increased?
If you are in the construction or fenestration industries particularly, you will have probably noticed that the price of silicones have increased quite substantially over the last few weeks, and not only that, there is a shortage.
How are silicones produced?
Silicone sealants are made from Silicone metals and many silicone metals are manufactured in China. Silicone metals are made from one of the earths most abundant elements making up 28% of the earths crust (by weight). Silicone metals are created by heating sand with coke in a furnace.
Why is there a shortage?
The production of Silicone metals in China have been cut up to 90% due to several reasons, which has had the knock-on effort of putting up prices by 300% in just 2 months and created a shortage.

What is my alternative to using a silicone?
Window fabricators in many countries have already switched to polymer-based sealants rather than using silicones. MS Polymers like Formoa ® offer the following the benefits:
  1. No staining – silicones tend to leach silicone oil over time which is particularly noticeable on aluminium window systems.
  2. Stronger – MS Polymers are approximately 4-5 times stronger than silicones.
  3. No odour – MS Polymers don’t omit an odour.
Are there any downsides to using an MS Polymer over using a Silicone?
Yes, as with everything, there are potential downsides to using an MS Polymer over using a Silicone and here are the reasons:
  1. Price – MS Polymers used to be more expensive than regular silicones, however, due to the recent changes in the market and shortages with Silicones, that has now changed.
  2. Ability to extrude from a cartridge easily - silicones are easier to gun out. (Tip - this isn’t a problem if you use a 25:1 ratio applicator gun or another option would be go battery powered).
  3. UV Stability – construction grades of MS Polymers are more times than not manufactured to a price. This means it compromises so many properties that are seen in automotive grade MS Polymers such as the Formoa ® Range.
  4. Colour range availability - however, Formoa® 010 Colours are available in over 300 colours.

If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch.