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How To Choose and Use Caulk - Part 1

Types Of Caulk - Cont'd.

For the homeowner, caulk is one of the most beneficial products made. It can be used both indoors and outdoors, as an adhesive, as a decorative finish and at the same time it provides a weather and moisture seal.

caulk gun
Figure 1 - Caulk gun with squeeze tube

Caulk the window and door frames around your home and filling any areas where pipes penetrate house is a home improvement project that requires little expense in materials and a substantial amount of sweat equity.

Caulk is a relatively inexpensive material, and with a bit of practice is easy to apply. It is definitely a DIY project that can save the homeowner real dollars in heating and cooling costs, while preventing damage to their property both indoors and outdoors.

Why Use Caulk?

No matter what the season is, properly installed caulk prevents the loss of heat and cold within your home escaping to the outdoors and prevents outdoor air from penetrating into your home.

  • Wood, plastic, metal, and glass all expand and contract at different rates depending on the temperature surrounding them. When two different materials come in contact with one another they produce a gap as they expand and contract. The use of a flexible caulk seals these cracks and continues to do so as they move throughout seasonal temperature changes.
  • The use of caulk prevents moisture ingress that can create damage through rot and stains to walls and ceilings.
  • Caulk provides an insect barrier.
  • Caulk provides the aesthetic finish between materials and objects such as siding and windows and counter tops and walls.

What Is Caulk?

Caulk is a generic term for many different types of caulk, sealers, fillers and adhesives. There is truly no one general purpose caulk product as each type has been formulated for specific purposes. It is very important to choose the correct product for the project that you are undertaking. Read package labels in detail to determine which product is best suited for your job.

Types Of Caulk

  • Painter’s Caulk:
  • If you need a product to fill holes and cracks prior to painting an inexpensive latex caulk works extremely well. It can also be used to provide a seamless joint in a corner where two different materials meet or when painting abutting walls with different color paints.

  • Acrylic Latex Caulk:
  • This caulk can be used indoors or outdoors. It can be painted over and because it is latex, (water based) you can clean up with a damp rag.

  • Silicon Latex Caulk:
  • This is a latex caulk that has silicone formulated in it. The silicone makes it very durable for both indoor and outdoor use. Silicon latex caulk does not accept paint and hence is available in a variety of colors. It can be cleaned up with a damp rag.

  • Silicone Caulk:
  • Silicone caulk works very well when sealing between materials such as ceramic tile, porcelain tile, glass, metal and other non-porous substances. It should not be used on any porous materials such as, wood, masonry, natural stone, granite, or marble as it will stain the surface of the material. Silicone cannot be painted and clean up is with the use of a solvent or thinner. When applying a 100% silicone caulk adequate ventilation is required as the fumes are toxic. Silicone caulk is available in clear, white and black.

  • Tub & Tile Caulk:
  • Designed primarily for bathroom use, this product will provide a mildew resistant seal between areas that are very wet, such as the joint between a bathtub and wall.

Caulk Chart