Rubber stoppers or plugs can be useful for all kinds of situations and believe it or not, they are quite regularly used. Maybe they are not commonly used for some basic home needs or maintenance, but they are definitely very useful in the industrial sector. Either way, I am sure that you will find yourself in some kind of situation where you will find a lot of use of rubber stoppers. Whether it is to shut cracks or holes to stop water or to reduce air draft.
However, properly using these little items is not as simple as you probably think. You can’t just plug them in and go on your way. You will have to ensure they are correctly installed. These plugs could probably last for years if properly placed. If not, they could give in after just a few days which is not optimal.
To ensure that you will do proper sealing and isolating, here are some tips I can give you about using rubber stoppers. But, first, let’s talk a little about why you should pick them over alternative solutions.
It seems like a lot of people try to patch up holes or cracks with the simplest methods possible. And I understand why. It is easy and it is cheap. Unfortunately, these methods do not last long, nor are they effective. Especially if you are trying to stop the water. It may not leak with the same intensity, but it will definitely continue.
Of course, I am talking about adhesive conditioner sprays or homemade joint compound. Neither of these is the perfect solution and neither of them lasts long enough. You need a more permanent solution and the best way to get that kind of result is with rubber stoppers.
They are so effective because of their very good flexibility. If you have the right type of plug, you could probably fit it anywhere. If the crack is too deep or tight, with enough squeezing, you will fit it in there.
Like I mentioned previously, homemade joint compound or spray adhesive is not good enough because it is not a long-lasting solution. Fortunately, rubber is a very durable type of material. It can withstand anything. Cold or hot temperatures, rain, snow and even freezing temperatures. So, it is pretty clear why people should prefer using stoppers over anything else.
Although, I do admit that for a small number of situations, it could look better to use a joint compound.
I could start sharing dozens of other benefits of using such plugs, but right now the tips on this subject are more important to you, so let’s get into that.
3. Pick the right shape
This is the simplest tip I can give you and it is probably the most important thing you will have to pay attention to. If you expect this to be a successful and permanent solution, you will need to find the right type of rubber stoppers. Otherwise, the hole will not be perfectly sealed and isolated. Water or air could continue to leak.
So, if you can, try to pick a shape of the rubber that is most similar to the crack.
However, if you are unable to find such a shape, you could try something that is a little bit riskier, but it could work. Instead of looking for the right rubber shape, maybe try forming the crack similarly to the shape of the plug. When expanding the hole, make sure you keep it smaller than the plug. This will make for a tighter fit. For more information about rubber stoppers, check out www.etolrubber.com
4. Try freezing the rubber
Sometimes, no matter how much you try or which shape/size you get, it seems impossible to fit it into the hole you are trying to close up. This can get very frustrating, I know. But, frustration will not get you anywhere.
Instead, you should try to look for something even smaller. If not, it might be a good idea to try freezing the plug. This may not make a lot of sense, but it is going to work. A lot of materials, rubber especially, shrink and expand at certain temperatures. In hotter temperatures, they expand while in cold, they shrink.
So, put it in the freezer for ten to fifteen minutes and try again. Try not to freeze it too much because the rubber could get fragile and it could crumble/break.
Once you manage to squeeze it in, heat it up with a heat gun or whatever else you got. This will cause it to expand, filling in all the cracks in the hole, making a snug fit.
5. Consider getting a different rubber material
Did you know there are different types of rubber out there that have a variety of specifications? Some freeze/shrink at a much lower temperature while other types can endure a lot more heat. In other words, it takes a lot more for it to melt. There can also be a difference in the hardness.
Which material you should get should depend entirely on the situation. Get softer plugs if you plan on regularly removing it and putting it back in place. Softer stoppers are much easier to manipulate. However, if you plan your stopper to be a permanent solution, you need a harder material. Something that will stay the same shape and in the same place for months or even years.
It is not always the only solution
In certain situations, rubber stoppers will not fit, and forcing them will just make it worse. It is probably best to accept the “defeat” and look for some other solution. Although, I am sure that you will not have such an experience because in almost all cases for sealing or isolation, rubber plugs will do the job.
Either way, I hope that this article has been informative enough and that I gave you the right tips to ensure that you will properly use the stoppers to plug, seal and isolate the required cracks and holes. I am confident that you will be satisfied with your work in the end.