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The Different Types of Caulk

The Different Types of Caulk

There are literally hundreds of different types of caulk, and scores of different manufactures, but all of that gets a little confusing. So to make it simple we are going to break them all down into three basic types of caulk and go from there. The three basic types of caulk are: Acrylic Latex Caulk, Butyl Rubber Caulk and Silicone Caulk.

Butyl Rubber Caulk: Most do it yourselfers will not be familiar with this type of caulk. It has some very specialized uses and is not a good all around caulk. This kind of caulk is the strongest and most durable. Its main use is to fill cracks in concrete and brick, but it can also be used to seal metal surfaces. Although Butyl rubber caulk does not come in assorted colors, it can be painted to match surrounding surfaces. Clean up requires the use of a solvent.

Acrylic Latex Caulk (sometimes called painter’s caulk): This type of caulk is used primarily as a sealant around windows and doors. It can be used both indoors and outdoors. This type of caulk is not recommended to be used in bathrooms or kitchens. Acrylic latex caulk is available in a range of colors, and it can be painted over to match the adjoining surfaces. This type is much easier to apply than silicon caulk, and clean is easy with soap and water.

Silicon Caulk: If you are going to be caulking around high water prone areas like bathrooms and kitchens, this is the type of caulk you will want to use. Silicon caulk can be used on a wide variety of non-porous surfaces. Its best features are that is remains somewhat flexible even after drying, so it is not prone to cracking, it is very waterproof, it has a high resistance to mold and once it has dried it is fade resistant and cleans very easily. However, Silicon Caulk cannot be painted; however, it is available in a range of colors. This caulk requires the use of a solvent for clean up and is a little more difficult to apply than the Acrylic Latex Caulk. You need to be careful when using this caulk because it is very difficult to get it out of fabric and porous materials, even using a solvent.

I’m going to throw a wrench in the works now. There is a forth type of caulk that is a combination of two of the caulks that we just discussed.

Siliconized Latex Caulk or Latex Silicon Caulk: The drawback of Latex Caulk is that it dries out in about 25 years or so and it can not be painted. So they came up with a caulk that lasts a little longer and can be painted by combining the two types of caulk. It cleans up with soap and water, it can be painted, it lasts a little bit longer than Acrylic Latex Caulk and it also come in a variety of colors.

Caulk is usually applied with a special caulking gun designed for just that purpose. However, manufacturers of caulking products have recently begun offering their products in squeeze tubes or pressurized cans with an extended narrow tip so the do-it-yourselfer doesn’t have to invest in a caulking gun for just one simple repair job. Caulking guns are not that expensive, about $6.00 to $10.00. Caulking guns are much easier to control than the tubes or pressurized cans. If you have a really really small job then I guess your best option is to buy the caulk in a tube. Applying caulk is a fairly simple task, although it may take a bit of practice to perfect drawing a uniform bead. Before applying any type of caulk, be sure that all surfaces are clean and dry.

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