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10 must-check factors before specifying sealing material for valves

As a plant planner, you don’t want to go down in history as the person who bought and installed leaky valves in what was supposed to be a breakthrough project. You want to be remembered as the pro who got the resistant valves that ease the plant operators’ lives and lift operational confidence.

On paper, the seals seem like a small detail to care about. In reality, they can make the difference between an efficient plant and one that suffers from frequent downtime due to persistent leakage. I’ve seen it happen with some clients. They confided in the wrong vendor to decide on such a key component for their valves, and the end results were abysmal.

But you have the chance to improve those odds, because in this article we discuss the most important characteristics of sealing materials that you should consider before buying your next valve.

10 important attributes of sealing materials for valves

Based on my extensive engineering experience and understanding of valves and sealing materials, I can give you valuable insight into the sealing challenges of valves. Therefore, I have summarized these ten important attributes of sealing materials for you that you should consider before purchasing your next valves:


Temperature range:

The sealing material should be able to withstand the operating temperature range of the valve without degrading or losing its elasticity. If it doesn’t due to poor quality, it may soften and decompose at high temperatures or harden and crack at low temperatures.


Pressure range:

No risk of leaking or cracking should occur from fluid passing through the valve. The seal ought to resist pressure surges and fluctuations without compromising its performance.


Chemical compatibility:

No corroding, swelling, or adverse reaction should ensue from contact with the fluid. Cover yourself by ensuring long-term seal protection against acid, alkali, oil, and other media, like solid particles prone to causing abrasion problems. Limit your picks according to the substances and environmental factors involved with your application.



Aim for a low friction coefficient to reduce wear and tear and ensure smooth operation of the valve (less torque and effort from the operator).


Tightness class:

To prevent contamination from an external source, your sealing material should comply with a specific tightness class. The tightness class also happens to be just as pivotal in preventing leakage and ensuring sealant compatibility between materials. You definitely want to keep it at the top of your list of priorities.


Aging resistance:

Valves are made for the outdoors. Environmental exposure to sunlight, snow, rain, ozone, or humidity shouldn’t have an accelerated detrimental impact on the piping and sealing material. If this has been an issue for you with a former valve supplier, consider switching to another provider in that arena. Dare to ask for referrals.



Find a balance between performance and price. When your vendor guarantees you a long service life, you reduce the need for frequent replacement and maintenance. Thus, improving the total cost of ownership. When you buy from a provider without long-term guarantees, you may end up paying less in the beginning but more over the asset’s lifespan.



Be mindful of your sealing material sourcing options. You should be able to replenish at any time and with ease. It’s just a matter of working with reputable vendors and market-ready products.


Installation simplicity:

The sealing material should be easy to install and replace without special tools or skills.


Regulatory compliance:

You are part of highly regulated industry, so your sealing solutions should meet the prevailing standards for safety, quality, and environmental protection. Otherwise, you might be subject to fines during third-party or government-related inspections.


Today’s EPC project engineers and plant planners are experiencing different challenges than other professionals in their position just a couple of decades ago. The demands and regulations to comply with are stricter. There’s more at stake. And not only in terms of product quality. But also, in the environmental sphere. From government figures to climate activists, there’s a blooming interest in how new projects are being built and how they will be operated. How can you cope with that?

From this trench, as a valve solution provider, I recommend you bulletproof your valve design and performance with suitable sealing materials. It might look like a small step in your project, but it will be a giant leap for ensuring compliance, preventing leaks, and protecting the environment and living beings during the operational phase.

Finally, remember that valve seals are not one-size-fits-all. Some may be more suitable for certain applications than others. But by analyzing your particular cases individually in the context of the 10 factors introduced, you will ensure the best sealing option for your project every time.

Moreover, I would like to recommend my other blog article, which deals with sealing material for valves in even more detail: Sealing solutions for valves: Types, materials and applications

Image Source: © Visoot (Adobe Stock) & AS-Schneider