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Old 04-13-2019, 10:53 PM
MKF MKF is offline
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Default Thinning Silicone - Acetone?

I know you can thin silicone with mineral spirits or toluene, what about acetone? Or is acetone too strong and will just eat it away? I'm trying to find a quicker way to apply silicone and coco mix to my background because I have a lot of branches to work around and I'm worried I'd have to do silicone in a BUNCH of sessions because I have a lot of hard to reach areas and it'll tack up too fast before I can get a large area done. I'd like to be able to more easily spread it and I have some acetone on hand - just curious if it work to use half a tube of silicone and throw a tablespoon or two of acetone in there to thin it so I can work with it a little easier.
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Old 04-13-2019, 11:58 PM
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Default Re: Thinning Silicone - Acetone?

My advice is just take your time, and resign yourself to a "it takes as long as it takes" attitude. Don't worry about doing large areas, but manageable sized portions.

Thinning the silicone might cause you other problems that you didn't anticipate, such as adhesion/coverage problems.

Be patient...there's no room for a rushed approach when doing this sort of thing.
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Old 04-14-2019, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: Thinning Silicone - Acetone?

Greetings,

You can absolutely thin silicone with mineral spirits or toluene and it does not effect the strength/durability of the silicone afterward. I have not heard of acetone as a silicone thinner and thus would avoid it. Either way, thinning silicone will not exactly save time since you need to wait several days after you apply the silicone for the spirits or toluene to completely off-gas before it's safe to work with again. Un-thinned silicone is usually fully-cured in 24-36 hours.

I have thinned silicone with mineral spirits to more easily coat terra-cotta pots to make them more moisture retentive but the pots had a chemical smell for several days after the silicone itself had cured.
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Old 04-14-2019, 01:52 AM
MKF MKF is offline
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Default Re: Thinning Silicone - Acetone?

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Originally Posted by kimcmich View Post
Greetings,

You can absolutely thin silicone with mineral spirits or toluene and it does not effect the strength/durability of the silicone afterward. I have not heard of acetone as a silicone thinner and thus would avoid it. Either way, thinning silicone will not exactly save time since you need to wait several days after you apply the silicone for the spirits or toluene to completely off-gas before it's safe to work with again. Un-thinned silicone is usually fully-cured in 24-36 hours.

I have thinned silicone with mineral spirits to more easily coat terra-cotta pots to make them more moisture retentive but the pots had a chemical smell for several days after the silicone itself had cured.
Technically silicone isn't cured until the vinegar smell goes away which takes over a week if you've got a sensitive nose like me . Though it depends on how thick it's put on too, I guess. Extra waiting time to off-gas doesn't really matter, either way I'll be waiting a while. Sounds like I'll just go the plain silicone route anyway, I think I've figured out a plan where I can do it in 3 sessions which I can live with.

Acetone is essentially paint thinner, works great to clear GS straws so they're reusable (sorry if you already knew this)!

Thanks for the reply!
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Old 04-14-2019, 11:12 PM
MKF MKF is offline
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Default Re: Thinning Silicone - Acetone?

Final decision - I ended up going with Gorilla Glue. It's working really well. I did not spray any water on top of it so it wouldn't foam up nearly as much (I already have great stuff down and I don't want it to get any more "fluffy" since I already carved the GS how I wanted it). I'm applying it with a gloved hand and spreading it around with my fingers. I'm finding it MUCH easier to spread than silicone as it's not as thick. I found when I tried spreading silicone by hand that it would rather stick to my glove every time I wiped over it when trying to spread it, so it'd just end up being patchy and I'd have to fill in little tiny bare patches everywhere after each "large" session. With GG, after I apply it, I immediately throw down a very large handful of dry background mix (I buy mine from NE herp so it's not just a coco brick you have to dampen - it's already dry and has more than just coco fiber). I push it into the GG, let it sit about 30 minutes, then come back and push it all in again. If I can feel my glove sticking anywhere, I grab another handful, dump it on the spot, and push it in again. I use A LOT of background mix when coating this to make sure the GG is adequately covered, then when I tip the tank later, the extra flows to the bottom and I just brush it down with my hand to get off the excess so I can reveal the patches I need to touch up. I've yet to have any GG bubble up through the background mix so I've not really had an issue with having bald spots. This is working great and now my cure time will only be 24-36 hours instead of 1.5 weeks!! No stinky silicone either!! Only downside is cost, if you have a large tank the cost of using gorilla glue might outweigh the benefits. I am using this on a tiny 12x12x18 so I'm not too concerned. I've used 2-2.5 oz so far to cover probably a 11" x 4" space. By the end I'll probably spend about $20 on GG instead of ~$10 on silicone (assuming I could do the whole thing with one tube, which I'm not entirely certain I could).
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Thinning Silicone - Acetone?

Thanks very much for providing a summation of what you ended up using after people gave you some information. It's a simple thing, but folks sometimes forget to come back and tie a bow on the thread by saying what they ended up doing and how it worked. This is super important because when people come across this thread via Search, they will have a conclusion for what worked (or didn't work) and that will save the same question being asked over and over again (which gets fatiguing to answer).

Thanks!

Mark
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Old 04-15-2019, 05:02 PM
MKF MKF is offline
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Default Re: Thinning Silicone - Acetone?

I work as a programmer so I've formed a habit of documenting my solutions so I can always come back to them when I forget! It's an easy thing for me, and you're completely right that it will (hopefully) help someone later on!
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