Author Topic: Cleaning up silicone?  (Read 1239 times)

Offline IdahoMan

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Cleaning up silicone?
« on: November 17, 2023, 07:35:22 PM »
I'm putting my roof lights on and they need to be sealed around the rubber base against the roof.

Any good tips for doing this without making a mess?
How about cleaning the black RTV silicone off the raptor-liner/paint?

Should I dip my finger in water before running my finger around the base to get the excess silicone off so as to not smear it all over?

Thank you.

Offline VileZambonie

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Re: Cleaning up silicone?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2023, 09:15:36 AM »
Just use a small amount to do what you need. No need to have excess. Just wipe up excess quickly with blue paper towels.
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Offline Dr_Snooz

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Re: Cleaning up silicone?
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2023, 09:07:46 PM »
What kind of silicone are you using? I haven't found any silicone that lasts more than a year or two when exposed to UV light.
1989 Chevy Suburban V-2500, 5.7L, TH400

1990 Chevy C-3500 Ext. Cab, 7.4L, 3L80

2009 Chevy Silverado 1500 WT 4WD, 4.8L, 4L60

Offline IdahoMan

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Re: Cleaning up silicone?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2023, 09:52:37 PM »
What kind of silicone are you using? I haven't found any silicone that lasts more than a year or two when exposed to UV light.

Just RTV-Black/Right Stuff.

I made a bit of a mess on one of the lights, but I got them on.

Offline Dr_Snooz

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Re: Cleaning up silicone?
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2023, 03:21:37 PM »
I haven't tried that one. I'll be curious to see how it holds up to sunlight. I made the mistake of using home center silicone to seal up my camper windows. It took a few years for it to fail on one side, allowing water to pour in. It had completely detached, but only one side. The other side held so tenaciously I couldn't remove it. I spent days carefully chiseling it off. I finally resorted to a wire wheel on my Dremel tool, though that did take some powder coating with it. It was awful. Nor is that my only story of silicone failure. GE is hands down the worst.

I used some Henry 212 roof sealant on some holes in the Suburban roof (an old CB antenna, I think). Eight years later and it's still holding up fine. They are big blobs that go through the car wash regularly. It's tough stuff. Best part is its crystal clear, though it does yellow in the sun. The solvent-based window sealants also seem to do well, and are also clear. You want the ones with a stink so bad it'll buckle your knees at 10 paces.

If you were trying to do tub caulk carefully, you'd put a bed of blue tape down to outline exactly where you want your caulk line. Apply your silicone, smooth it out as best you can, then tear off the tape for the perfect line. When I caulk, I use a wet paper towel. I smooth out my caulk with my finger, then wipe my finger clean on the paper towel. The water helps lubricated the smoothing. There's a feel to it that comes with experience.

You might need to experiment with ways to remove mess before you commit. For wet silicone, I'd try rubbing alcohol. It has acetone in it, but dilute enough not to harm most surfaces. WD-40 might also work, or just about any oil, including salad oil. Dried silicone might come off with WD-40 and rubbing. Or maybe even rubbing alone.

Post pics of your install and let us know how it holds up over time.
1989 Chevy Suburban V-2500, 5.7L, TH400

1990 Chevy C-3500 Ext. Cab, 7.4L, 3L80

2009 Chevy Silverado 1500 WT 4WD, 4.8L, 4L60