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Maintenance DIY: How to Choose the Appropriate Caulk

How to Choose Caulk
October 2019

Following are the most common of types and when and where to use them.

Acrylic Latex Caulk (painter’s caulk)

Inexpensive, easy to use, water cleanup. Not for use in damp locations such as the bathroom or kitchen or outdoors. Designed to be painted over.

Vinyl Latex Caulk

Easy to use, water cleanup and can be used outside. Not very flexible; use in expansion joints is not recommended.

Acrylic Tile Sealant

Easy to use, water cleanup. The sealant is perfect for bathroom and kitchens and other wet locations. It is mold- and mildew-resistant. Paintable.

Siliconized Acrylic Sealant

Easy to use, soap and water or solvent cleanup. Perfect for porcelain tile, metal and glass. It is similar to Acrylic Tile Sealant, but tougher and longer lasting.

Pure Silicon

Best for non-porous surfaces. Long-lasting, indoor/outdoor caulk. Super flexible and strong. Harder to use than any of the above caulks. Solvent cleanup. Mold and mildew resistant. Could smell until cured.

Butyl Rubber

Best use is outdoors. Messy to use. Perfect for sealing roofs, valleys, gutters, flashing and foundations. Moisture and movement tolerant. Sticks to anything. Cleans up with solvents.

Elastomeric Latex Caulk

Water cleanup. Longest-lasting caulk. Great adhesion to almost all surfaces and can stretch close to 200 percent. Elastomeric caulk is very tolerant to wide temperature and weather extremes. It is most often used outdoors. This caulk can bridge gaps up to 2 inches wide and deep. The caulk dries very quickly; tool the caulk immediately after application.

Units readers are encouraged to submit questions to Maintenance DIY. Please send in your questions to Frank Alvarez at Buffalo Maintenance.