Tamper Resistant vs. Tamper Proof Sealants – And Where These Products Can Be Applied


Often we are asked to explain the difference between “tamper proof” and “tamper resistant” when discussing sealants. More specifically, we recommend the right sealant that will be used in an institutional setting such as a prison, school, animal enclosure, or public building.

Most caulking and construction materials can be easily tampered with or are “pickable.” “Pickable” meaning the ability of the material to be interfered with to the point of removal for uses other than what they were intended. Typical flexible sealants which are usually based on urethane or silicone chemistries can be vandalized or pulled away to expose a joint. Sealant manufacturers are set with the challenge to provide materials that will withstand these common types of vandalism. A “tamper proof” or “tamper resistant” sealants requires a Shore D hardness of up to 58 to 16, respectively, to prevent them from being easily removed form a joint.

Typical architectural sealants are designed for weatherproofing, durability, and accommodating expansion joint movement. Properties deemed as desirable for architectural sealants like low modulus and high movement capability are unfortunately inadequate in many institutional settings. The primary concession created when switching from traditional architectural sealants to security grade sealant materials is the ability of the sealant to withstand high levels of joint movement. In the case of “tamper proof” sealants such as Pecora’s Dynapoxy EP-1200, the result is the loss of all movement capability.

Sometimes no movement capability is unacceptable, and “tamper resistance” is still a requirement. As a result, a new class of sealants was demanded. To fill the gap, we formulated: Dynaflex and Dynaflex SC, which can be classified as tamper resistant and provide limited movement capability in properly designed and an acceptable level of hardness.

Prisons

In prisons and detention centers, safeguards are needed against inmates using construction materials to hurt themselves or others. The sealant has been “picked out” to be used as weapons, to expose joints for hiding contraband and weapons, and even to smoke. All interior joints and seams in areas where residents will be spending time in isolation should be specified with a tamper proof sealant such as Dynapoxy EP-1200. Common areas such as exercise rooms and cafeterias where supervision is present should be specified with tamper resistant such as Dynaflex or Dynaflex SC. Exterior applications where residents spend extended periods of time should also be considered for a tamper resistant specification. All other expansion joints over ten feet above grade level can be sealed with traditional exterior expansion joint sealants such as Pecora Dynatrol II.

Schools/Daycares

In schools where idle “tampering” of a sealant can cause costly damage to a building and in day cares where the possibility exists of young children eating sealant pulled from a joint, security grade sealants are becoming an increasingly viable option to traditional caulks and sealants. All areas within reach of students, both interior and exterior, are potential locations where the use of tamper resistant and tamper proof sealants will result in significant like cycle cost savings. The use of security sealants on exterior expansion joints is specified in all joints up to ten feet above grade where sealant joints are susceptible to tampering and are within easy reach of pedestrians. All other expansion joints over ten feet above grade level can be sealed with traditional exterior expansion joint sealants such as Pecora Dynatrol II.

Hospitals/Psychiatric Units

It is imperative in a psychiatric unit of a hospital for patients not to have access to materials that can be used to injure themselves or others. Patient safety as well as costs associated with vandalism and litigation require non-tamper properties associated with security sealants. All interior joints in areas where residents will be spending time in isolation should be specified with a tamper proof sealant such as Pecora Dynapoxy EP-1200. Common areas such as day rooms, exercise rooms, and cafeterias should be specified with a tamper resistant sealant such as Pecora Dynaflex or Dynaflex SC. Exterior applications where residents spend extended periods of time should also be considered for a tamper resistant specification. All other expansion joints over ten feet above grade level can be sealed with traditional exterior expansion joint sealants such as Pecora Dynatrol II.

Municipal Facilities

Public buildings and facilities are also candidates for security sealants. Sealants in buildings and facilities open to the public are easily damaged by idle tampering and by vandalism. Interior seams should be specified with a tamper resistant sealant such as Dynaflex or Dynaflex SC. In the case where a court or a local police station contains a holding cell, a tamper proof sealant such as Pecora Dynapoxy EP-1200 should be specified. All other expansion joints over ten feet above grade level can be sealed with traditional exterior expansion joint sealants such as Pecora Dynatrol II.

Animal Enclosures

Animals, especially primates, will occasionally attempt to remove sealants and ingest them causing serious illness. To ensure their health and the safety of spectators, security sealants are used for the wet glazing of viewing panels on the interior side of animal enclosures. Application of tamper proof materials such as Pecora Dynapoxy EP-1200 are specified in this application. Traditional or tamper resistant sealants such as Pecora Dynaflex or Dynaflex SC are specified on the exterior wet glazing to ensure any thermal movement is accommodated.

Pecora’s systems approach to security sealants allows users to achieve the necessary hardness strength to reduce the risk of tampering, combined with the joint movement levels the building requires. For more information, or to speak with one of our Technical Service representatives, please email at techservices@pecora.com or call 1-800-523-6688.

4 responses to “Tamper Resistant vs. Tamper Proof Sealants – And Where These Products Can Be Applied”

  1. Sharon Vietmeier says:

    Nice blog! Great information!

  2. Very well explained – typical applications particularly helpful.

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