Types of Caulk

There are a variety of caulks available on the market. This is because caulks are developed with specific purposes in mind. Some are designed for use in bath and kitchen, where there is a lot of moisture, others for around heat, and others to keep the wind out. The most common materials used for caulk are latex, acrylic, and silicone.

Caulk Running Out of a Tube

Acrylic caulk is the least expensive type of caulk. It is generally used for filling gaps in exterior siding, and especially in places that will need to be painted (it holds water based paints well). It can also be used to seal up frames, and around exterior windows and doors. It also can be used in the interior of the house to cover mistakes in molding or trim that is to be painted. Acrylic caulks do not always stand up well to extremes in weather. They should not be used around stovepipes or other areas that get extremely hot. Many acrylic caulks have a silicone component which makes them more flexible and more able to stand up to the weather.

Silicone caulk is the type generally used in baths and kitchens. It stands up very well to water and adheres well to smooth and glazed surfaces such as tiles and metals. It comes in a wide variety of colors to accommodate interior decorating. However, paint does not adhere well to it. It is flexible even when dry and stands up well to temperature extremes, which makes it very versatile. It is not always easy to apply; because it adheres so well, the slightest error can be problematic especially in areas where there are aesthetic considerations. During application its odor can be disagreeable for several hours. Silicone caulk can be used outdoors as well as indoors. It is often a component in the more expensive, higher quality exterior caulks.

Latex caulk can be used on both the interior and exterior of the home. It is durable (advertised to last up to 20 years) under normal conditions. However, it does not stand up well to temperature extremes. It is used mainly for keeping out drafts and the weather.

Caulk labelled Kitchen and Bath is usually silicone. It may also have an anti-mildew chemical added that will help fight mold in the damp corners of the house. It can come in squeezable tubes that look like oversized toothpaste tubes. But these are often difficult to squeeze. When doing large jobs, definitely opt for the standard tubes for use with a caulking gun. Here again, the odor during application may be off-putting.

Adhesive caulk is used in situations where connections between units must be water or air-tight. A good example is metal roofing. The overlap is given a bead of adhesive caulk when it is screwed to the plywood or OMB beneath, giving the roof a unified and impermeable structure. Many adhesive caulks are water based, making for easier cleanup.

Butyl rubber caulk is best used outside the house. It adheres well to most surfaces including wood, aluminum, mortar, and plastics. This makes it excellent for use around gutters, down-spouts, and other areas. Another advantage of butyl rubber is that it stands up well in extreme temperatures. Krylon claims that their caulk remains flexible from -40F to 180F1. Generally, butyl rubber caulk does not last as long as silicone.

Elastomeric Sealant is a urethane-acrylic caulk. It can be used on both interior and exterior projects. It adheres well to most surfaces. The advantage of elastomeric caulk is that it can expand and contract up to 200%. This is a great advantage when trying to seal areas that undergo expansion and contraction in various weather. Although this product can be painted, if there is a lot of expansion and contraction, the paint will inevitably crack. This is not the fault of the product but the nature of the project.

Asphalt Caulk is oil based. It is used primarily for sealing up areas around chimneys and cracks in asphalt driveways.

Caulking Chord is a very temporary solution lasting no more than a couple of seasons. It comes in a roll and is putty-like. It is handy for pushing into cracks around windows, air conditioning units, and doors.

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  1. Krylon Butyl Rubber Caulk

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