I can’t help you with that last one but I can tell you a few things about caulk. Come on, don’t laugh – it’s important stuff.
Well, let’s start here first because it’s important that all of you understand these three points...
- Caulk is not meant to fill wood
- Caulk is not structural
- Caulk is not glue
Phew…I feel better now that I’ve said it. Caulk fills voids and keeps everything tight. That’s it and it’s enough.
So as I mentioned above there are lots of different types of caulk so let’s delve into a few of the more popular types…
Latex Caulk – This type works just about as well as silicone and is by far the easiest to work with because latex caulk has no harsh odor (low VOC), is non-toxic, and is cleaned up easily with water.
The choices available within the latex caulk world are immense and range from cheap painter’s caulk that shrinks as it dries and has barely any crack resistance to urethanized acrylic-latex caulk that promise lifetime flexibility and paintability. There are also fast-drying versions available that are paintable in 30 minutes.
Latex caulk can be used on exterior siding and windows or interior baseboards, trim and mouldings and bonds well to surfaces like wood, stucco, plaster, tile, masonry, and glass.
Silicone – Silicone caulk is great stuff because it’s waterproof, flexible and is mildew resistant. It does have a few drawbacks though as it’s typically not paintable, requires alcohol or mineral spirits for cleanup, and has a strong odor until it cures.
Silicone caulk is an excellent choice for tub and shower surrounds, toilets, sinks – just about any area where will be exposed to water. Just remember that silicone caulk is generally not paintable so it’s not ideal for exterior uses.
Butyl Rubber – Butyl caulk is water resistant, stretches like chewing gum (but doesn’t go back to the original shape), and is water resistant and I mean really water resistant. Butyl caulk looks and behaves a lot like tar, which means it’s really messy stuff and requires cleanup with paint thinner. Butyl caulk really stinks too (as in smells bad) meaning it has a high VOC level. So because of it’s high VOC level butyl caulk is not available for purchase in several states like California.
Butyl caulk is perfect for use on gutters, chimneys, aluminum siding, flashing, and joints where two materials overlap.
So now after reading this amazingly helpful blog post you’re a caulk expert now right? Actually you’re probably not any better off and you probably feel like I just wasted 15 minutes of your day so here’s my personal opinion…use the best paintable latex caulk you can afford for anything that gets painted and use silicone for anything around a wet area (remember generally silicone is not paintable). Frankly, I haven’t used butyl caulk for anything in quite a while just because it’s such a mess to work with. Generally anything you’ll need to do as a homeowner you can get done with latex or silicone caulk.
Caulk is cheap so go forth and get to it!
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