Types of Caulk and Their Uses in Your Home

Caulk is one of the most useful products to use inside and outside of the home. It repairs, seals and prevents damage and can be easily replaced when it begins to show wear (remember to remove the old caulking before applying the new). Caulk is inexpensive and easy to apply. With a little practice you can do almost any caulking job in your house.

Caulk also comes in several varieties for different projects. There is caulk for indoor projects, outdoor projects and wet and dry projects - (some caulking is not paintable so make sure you check if you are planning on painting it). Caulk can be used to repair a roof or gutter and also to repair concrete, brick and stucco. The jobs that caulk can do are numerous but you need to understand which caulk is right for the job you are doing. Below are most types of caulk and the type of projects each can be used for.

Acrylic latex caulk. This type of caulk can be used for both indoor and outdoor projects. Works well to fill in gaps in moldings and baseboards and around door and window frames. It is fast drying and can be painted in 6-8 hours of applying. It also comes in different pigments so you can match a color to your job. This caulk is inexpensive and easy to apply. It is best if it is not used in wet places or areas that will endure a lot of moisture. This caulk remains flexible and can be effective for 10-15 years.

Vinyl latex caulk. Vinyl latex caulk can be used in a variety of places, both interior and exterior. It is good for small gaps around windows and doors. It can also be used for tubs and showers because it withstands wet and damp areas well. It is also non-flammable and can be painted. This type of caulk does harden over time and lasts about five years.

Siliconized acrylic caulk. This type of caulk combines silicone with acrylic latex caulk for a durable, waterproof formula. It is good for both interior and exterior projects and adheres well to most surfaces. It is especially good for tubs, tile, glass and ceramic tile surfaces. It comes in a clear form and in a variety of colors, is non-flammable, can be painted and is mildew resistant. This caulk remains flexible and has a life expectancy of over 25 years. It is also very easy to apply and messes can be cleaned up with water.

100% Silicone caulk. Silicone caulk is excellent for baths and showers and any area that has a lot of moisture. It works well on non-porous surfaces such as ceramic tiles, glass and metal surfaces and is mold and mildew resistant. This type of caulk does not adhere to wood surfaces. It cannot be painted but comes in a variety of colours and translucent. Silicone caulk is difficult to apply but does remain flexible when dry. It is non-toxic and must be cleaned up with a solvent. Silicone caulk does have a strong odor so you should work in a well-ventilated place.

Painter’s caulk. This is an inexpensive latex caulk that painters use to fill in holes and cracks before painting. It can also be used in corners to provide a smooth joint where painters are using contrasting colors. This caulk applies easily and smoothly and adheres well to wood, plaster, drywall and masonry. It can be painted within one hour of application and cleans up nicely with soap and water.

Tub and tile acrylic sealant. This is an excellent choice for all your bathroom and kitchen projects. It is mold and mildew resistant, gives a good watertight seal and adheres to almost all surfaces such as tile, tubs, glass, metal, wood, drywall and plaster. It also comes in a few different colors and can be painted. This product is non-flammable and can be cleaned up with soap and water. It stays flexible when dry and can last for over 10 years.

Adhesive caulk. This is an all-purpose caulk that is especially good for high humidity environments such as kitchens and bathrooms. It adheres well to many surfaces like ceramic tile, porcelain, wood, drywall, plaster and metal. A mildewcide has been added to resist mold and mildew growth in damp areas. This caulk also works as a strong adhesive for replacing loose tiles, molding and other such items. It is easy to apply and can be cleaned up with soap and water.

Butyl rubber sealant. This is a strong exterior sealant that can be used on wood, metal, concrete and brick. It is good for sealing joints in gutters and around chimneys as well as sealing around skylights and roof vents. It is also the best waterproof sealant for house foundations. It is difficult to apply and slow to dry and clean-up requires a solvent. This sealant has a life expectancy of 2-10 years.

Roof repair caulk. This caulk is a butyl rubber/asphalt formula that works well on roofing, skylights and for sealing flashing. It can also repair small areas in asphalt. It is weatherproof and waterproof and can be used on wet and dry surfaces. This caulk can also be painted. It requires mineral spirits for clean-up.

Concrete and mortar repair caulk. This is an interior/exterior caulk that can repair cracks and holes in brick, concrete, stone, stucco, and metal as well as textured walls and ceilings. It has a textured finish and retains some flexibility when dry. It can be painted and cleans up easily with soap and water.

It is recommended to always read the manufacturers label before choosing a particular type of caulk for your project. With so many different types of caulk available you are sure to find the right one for your project.

Remember - remove old caulking before appling new caulking, check to see that it is paintable if you plan on painting it.