2009 - Volume #33, Issue #2, Page #43[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Master" Of Silicone Caulk Finds Exciting New Uses
"None of the engineers who work with it have any idea what the life of caulk is. It's guaranteed for 50 years, but early samples have yet to break down," he says. "Plus, it's cheap. I can make caulk roofing for less than $2/sq. ft."
To make his flexible roofing material, Meredith spreads caulk on light-weight fabric screening laid atop plastic sheeting. Once the first coat has dried, he lays down a second thin layer. After it dries, he pulls away the plastic and checks for thin areas or holes to which he adds more caulk.
He points out that any open mesh fabric will work as screening. He calls the caulk material flexible glass and says it could be used for roofs, tents, greenhouses or even to cover insulated walls of buildings. The bonding fabric determines the basic strength so for the strongest material he uses stainless steel or galvanized mesh.
"You can add any kind of pigment to the silicone, and it holds the color," he says. "You can even add glass beads or metal powders to it or poke objects into it. Metal foil bonds well to it. There's hardly anything that won't stick to it."
As an artist, Meredith has used the caulk in a wide variety of sculptures and other artworks. However, he is convinced that once people start thinking of other uses, there is no limit to caulk's potential. He has used it for several porch roofs, noting that the squirrels don't bother it. He also plans to use it on the side of a deteriorating garden shed.
"It stinks when you apply it, but it isn't dangerous," he says. "One tube of caulk will cover about 10 sq. ft."
Meredith has a website detailing his ideas and he encourages people to experiment and let him know their results. He believes automating the process will be the key to widespread use.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Michael Meredith, 5510 Southhampton Drive, Springfield, Va. 22151 (ph 703 764-9563; firstname.lastname@example.org; www. transparentroofing.com).
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