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Get the Scoop on Six Popular Types of Caulking

01 August 2019

If we were to quantify the amount of caulk used by on our company on an annual basis, the number would be astronomical.  Used on everything from roofing to windows, to bathrooms, the flexible material is used to fill in gaps throughout the home.  However, caulk is not a one size fits all option and many varieties are offered based on the material and application site.  Here’s what you need to know!

Pure Silicone Caulk: This product comes at a steep cost, but the trade off is the material’s longevity.  Other advantages include the caulk’s mildew resistance and components that delay discoloration.  A drawback is that pure silicone caulk cannot be painted.  It does a fine job sealing around wet areas such as sinks, toilets, and faucets.  Pure silicone caulk can also be used as an adhesive for undermount sinks that attach to stone.  It’s possible to use pure silicone caulk on doors and windows.

Butyl Rubber Caulk: This type of caulk is Ideal for applications such as downspout seams during gutter installation and sealing storm windows and doors.  It can also be used on masonry, brick, wood, stone, metal, and plastic without issue.  A drawback of this type of caulk is that it compresses over time and is threadlike when applied.

Refractory Caulk: As time progresses, the heat emitted from a wood burning fireplace can cause the spaces in between the brick that are filled with mortar to crack, separate or chip.  Silicate-based refractory cement is the correct type of caulk to use in this scenario because it is able to withstand high temperatures.

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Painter’s Caulk: Comprised of acrylic latex, painter’s caulk is essential when painting around molding.  Able to be sanded and painted, this type of caulk is designed to fill in small joints.  Seams in excess of a half inch require more than one application and drying time should be allowed for.  Avoid overuse of the caulk in a single application so that the painter’s caulk does not crack or separate.

Vinyl Latex Caulk: This type of caulk is lauded for the ease of which it can be applied and cleaned up.  It can also be used outdoors, but take special care to select a vinyl latex that will stand the test of time.  It’s worth noting that vinyl latex caulk is relatively rigid and should be used in situations where expansion and contraction will present a concern.

Silicone Caulk: Tile has been a staple in kitchens and bathrooms for decades.  As the tile ages, narrow gaps can form between tiles allowing for mold and mildew growth.  Silicone caulk is the ideal material for sealing up cervices that form in moist areas because it can supply a watertight seal that is resistant to mold and mildew growth.

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