Types of Caulk

An important part of exterior painting and maintenance is sealing gaps and cracks. Interior applications for caulk include sealing and adding a decorative finish to painted woodwork and surfaces.

There is a caulk for every type of surface, however, use a high performance caulk. Modern sealants have incredible elongation characteristics, they are resistant to temperature extremes and harsh weather, and they last for years.

The use of sealants will save you money, in the summer the hot air can get into your home. In the winter the warmed air can leave your home. Leaks throughout the house, including windows, doors, gaps in walls, etc will cause your air conditioner or furnace to work harder and more often, putting extra load on these appliances, adding wear and tear and premature failure of expensive equipment.

Gaps and cracks allow water to get into a structure which will cause damage to walls and ceiling, peeling the paint, cracking plaster, causing mold and insects can enter the walls through the same cracks. This must be prevented, the use of caulking assists in this goal.

Exterior caulking is one of the most important preparation steps before painting while interior caulking is often considered decorative, but applying the highest quality caulk to these areas is an important step of many house painting projects.

There are four basic types of caulking which will cover most needs, they are:

- 100% Silicone sealants are not paintable. Use on non-porous surfaces like tile and countertops.

- Silicon acrylic caulk , excellent for most interior or exterior applications.

- Elastomeric caulk , superior to most paintable caulking compounds with excellent flexibility and adhesion properties.

- Polyurethane sealants , the best for almost any application. The absolute finest for creating a truly permanent seal, but can be difficult to use and requires solvents for applying.

High quality sealants cost more per tube, but will out perform cheap versions in every aspect. Premixed coloured caulk is available in a large variety of colors that match many surfaces in your home. These surfaces can be tile and grout, counter tops and even painted surfaces. It is recommended that you choose the appropriate type of caulk for the job and it is generally recommended to use the highest quality.

Latex Caulk is an inexpensive alternative to the better acrylic and urethane sealants, however, it will harden quickly and need replacing often. It can be used on either interior or exterior surfaces. The sealant will harden in a couple of years when exposed to the elements, so durability is questionable. In order to address the durability issues, some manufactures add silicone to increase the flexibility.

Butyl requires the use of solvents and is more difficult to use, resulting in has lost its popularity as there are other better alternatives on the market. It requires the use of solvents, is slow drying, is difficult to use, and will have excessive shrinkage. Several different forms of caulk are available.

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