Thursday, September 15, 2005

A homeowner's tale of woe, or...PHENOSEAL®...NOT!

Phenoseal® is a product made by DAP. It's a nice, white sealant that my builder uses a lot. Well, I had a nice tiled seat built in my shower when we remodeled a few years ago, and I recently noticed that some of the grout was cracked and missing. Out came the tube of Phenoseal. It looked great! Then, maybe a month or two later, I noticed a spot of hard goop on the shower floor, which I had to remove with a razor blade. Also, some of the tiles on the front of the seat (vertical) were coming loose. Puzzled for a while, the light finally went on, and I called DAP to find out if something in the Phenoseal could react with the tile cement, and could the Phenoseal actually melt??

The answer was YES. It seems that the Phenoseal re-emulsifies in standing water, like on the seat top, and it oozed down behind the face tiles. So I pried some of them off, and, to my surprise, there was NO tile cement at all on the backs of the tiles. Only wet, sticky, molten Phenoseal. Now I'm prying off those face tiles, trying to get my builder over to retile the front of the seat (the flat tiles on the top of the seat, where I actually PUT the Phenoseal, still look OK, but I have my doubts about them, now) and get my downstairs shower in working condition again.

Of course, I never found any disclaimer or warning about this on the package -- although I'm sure it must be there in 8 point type -- so now I'm stuck with both a mess AND a couple of hundred dollar repair job.

So friends, be careful about using caulking of any type on flat surfaces -- especially PHENOSEAL.

Pheonseal is sold by a number of marine chandlers for use as a boat sealer. I would NEVER allow it on my boat, knowing now what it does and how it performs in a wet environment. IT IS CRAP!!!

O.K., call me crazy, but I really think a sealant should... seal.

DAP REPLIES:
"Thank you for contacting DAP Inc. with your inquiry, based on the description of your application in your "blog" it would appear that the product that the product that you selected was not the best choice for your intended application. DAP Phenoseal Vinyl Adhesive Caulk Does It All is a water based adhesive/sealant formula which is not recommended for use in below waterline applications (FOR BEST RESULTS: Do not use below waterline.)...

Based on the description of your application, we would generally recommend the use of a 100% Silicone Rubber Sealant.

Thank you, Jason"


"NOT RECOMMENDED?" That's an understatement, if I ever saw one. Then WHY do they call it (and these are THEIR words) "DAP Phenoseal Vinyl Adhesive Caulk Does It All?" "For best results..."
Jeez. What an understatement. In a submerged environment, it simply FAILS. BEST RESULTS???

In my mind, these bastards still owe me $200, to boot.

Follow-ups:
September 18, 2006. I finished cleaning the affected area and re-cemented 4 new tiles onto the front of the seat. On Tuesday, I'll clean out some of the grout on the seat and grout the whole area. I never did this before, so I have hopes but not expectations. By Thursday evening, the shower should be ready for use again. If there's any more Phenoseal damage, I'll report back.
August 18, 2007. I see a face half tile on the end is starting to stick out. This wasn't one that I replaced previously, I don't think. I'll let it come out some more before I try to remove it. What a fricken mess. I hope the whole world reads about this garbage product.

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17 comments:

586 La Loma said...

I attempted to seal two flat PVC panels one on top of the other with an overhang of 4 inches. The gap was between 0 and 3/32 inch. I used Phenoseal Vinyl Adhesive Sealant at the joint. Two days later it rained and the sealant did not seal. Water went through the sealant. It appears that the sealant did not adhere to the PVC panels. The air temperature was in the high 60's the day the sealant was applied.
I am now looking for a adhesive sealant for PVC panels.
Regards

nynynyny said...

5200 or 4200 should do the job nicely, I think. If you use 5200, ton't ever try to separate the pieces (and wear rubber gloves when you apply it.)

Trish123 said...

Would love to ask you about your 1965 Pearson Express hardtop post from 2005. Have a Pearson Express hardtop, 28' 1964.

Admin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

DAP rhyms with C-AP

wildmtns4me said...

"Not recommended," means, "Don't use it there." When you see something that says it should not be used below the water line, you ought to ask yourself, "Hmmm...why? What may happen that would cause them to put this on the label?" I'm no rep for the company, but I really do get tired of complaints like these that stem from users not reading labels.

CGC Kitchens and Baths said...

To the person with the tiled shower seat... your contractor should have put a slight pitch on the seat to shed water away from the walls of the shower. As a kitchen and bath contractor, you have two problems...one; your contractor made a mistake in his work (no pitch and poor thinset or mastic installation...grout should not have been coming out so quickly) and 2; you dont know what you're doing and what materials work best where. If you want to be "pissed" at someone it should be at the second rate contractor and yourself! your contractor should stand behind his work...

Admin said...

@CGC: This contractor had done many jobs for me over the years, all of which were excellent. Yes, he should have provided a greater pitch, but I can't go back to him, since he passed away in 2009. The Phenoseal I put in where the grout came out was done by me. Again -- nowhere on the Phenoseal package does it say that the product fails under standing water. That issue lies squarely with THEM, and I stand my ground on that issue.

Philip said...

I agree with CGC, you need to use your own research, investgation and reasoning. Reputable product suppliers outline the appropriate uses for their products. Phenoseal does it all, does not mean that it's good for fire brick repair, lead acid battery sealer, excellent on fried chicken, fixes race tire leaks, hold aircraft panels securely, shield spacecraft from solar radition. I understand you're upset over a poorly installed and aggravated by your own lack of knowledge. Stand by your own work and error and pay for your own mistake. Consider the costy as tuition for a small education.

Admin said...

Fine. I agree with you, up to a point. First off, I did do my homework. I actually read the label and the label does not tell you not to use it under standing water. Secondly, my contractor of many years recommended it. Thirdly, "does it all" seems to say, well, "does it all." If these were not true, I'd just say it was my own fault. So I disagree with all you pros. It's Phenoseal's fault.

Anonymous said...

I spent nearly $21 on this garbage and wasted a week of my time waiting for it to dry. It doesn't dry and it is still soft. When it gets wet, it dissovles. Keep away from this garbage.

indian said...

tile joints should be grouted with tile grout. tile should be set with tile cement. this guy is mad at his own stuipidy, and probibly took the lowest bid if he bid it out.
I have used phenoseal since it was first put on the market with no issuses. I recomend to any one.
this guy should have read the tech bulliten. Its in english and clear if he had he would know better.

Admin said...

My own stupidity? I read the package and followed the instructions. The product doesn't work under standing water. It doesn't say that in the packaging.

Anonymous said...

Funny as a Milguard window installer we use this product on pitched or not window sills in wet climates frequently. Just try prying loose one and you'd wish it was set with the batch from your tub, thats why they made come alongs I guess.

john mathews said...

It is on the back of the tube as plain as day. By the way you need grouting.

john mathews said...

It is on the back label.

Admin said...

John, perhaps it's there NOW. My post was made nine years ago, and there was no such warning.