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7 Terms With Meanings That May Surprise You

There are many terms made up of common words that take on a new meaning in the home improvement industry. Below are some of our favorites.

Liquid Gold

Colloquial industry jargon for firestop products that consist, in large part, of silicone foam.

Needle Glazing

The application of a small bead of sealant @ the sight line adhering to the sash & glass or panel by means of a nozzle w/ an orifice not exceeding 1/8 inch in diameter.

Working Life

The time interval after opening a container of a single component sealant, or after mixing the components of a multi-component sealant, during which application & tooling is possible.


Portion of a caulk, sealant, paint or coating that includes all liquids & the binder. The vehicle & the pigment are the two basic components of such products.

Tape Sealant

A sealant having a preformed shape & intended to be used in a joint initially under compression. Also known as caulk strips.


A thin layer at the surface of a sealant or joint filler that differs in physical properties from the material beneath it. This is generally due to the top layer drying first before the layer underneath has yet dried.

Shore Hardness

For sealants the "A" scale is usually used, whereby a hardened steel pin (which is connected to a calibrated spring meter) is pressed into the sealant & its depth of penetration is measured. Shore Hardness is a strong indicator of modulus. Low modulus sealants have Shore Hardness of 20 or less. Medium modulus sealants have values from 21 to 50; while High modulus materials have Shore Hardnesses above 50.

Shear Strength

The force required to break a bond by shearing the bond line (measured in pounds per square inch of bond area).

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