Created on: December 22, 2012
There are many different types of caulk on the market; some can be
used for multiple projects, and others are specialized. Caulk is used for
sealing gaps and is available as an adhesive. Once you understand the
characteristics of each caulk, you will be able to choose the right one for
Caulks break down into several categories. Some are designed only for indoor use while others can be used outdoors. Additional types can be used both indoors and out. Different varieties of caulk are designed to offer water or temperature resistance. The caulk itself can be silicone, latex or acrylic based with blends also available. Specialized types of caulk include oil-based asphalt and caulk cording.
Silicone based caulk is a good choice for a multi-purpose product. Silicone remains flexible after it dries and is water resistant. Most silicones can be used both indoors and out and are excellent for sealing gaps around window frames. Silicone is also good for sealing around the edges of bathroom fixtures.
Use a mold and mildew resistant caulk for the best results in bath areas. Most silicone caulks dry clear; some offer a white or cream-colored finish. Silicone cannot be painted so keep this in mind if you are trying to cover large gaps.
Latex provides a durable finish but does not hold up well for outdoor use. This type of caulk is great for interior sealing around door and window frames. Latex caulk will hold paint and can be used as a base filler for gaps. Unfortunately, most latex caulk does not hold up well over a long time period.
Silicone, acrylic and latex blends are available to offer a combination of the best features of each material. When choosing this type of caulk, read the label to determine if it can be used outdoors. Not all blends are water resistant; keep this in mind when selecting a product for kitchen or bath use.
Adhesive products combine a sealant with adhesive for use on tiles and bath surrounds. Read the label to determine if the product is designed for floor or wall application. Wall products will dry quickly to offer a better hold.
Very few tools are needed to apply caulk. A caulking gun is used for cartridge tubes. Caulk can be applied directly from a squeeze tube. Some individuals will use a tool to smooth the surface of the caulk after application. Most types can also be smoothed with a wet fingertip. Read the label on the container to determine if the ingredients may be harmful to your skin or difficult to remove.
Follow the manufacturerâs directions for drying time and ideal temperatures. Some products do not work well at lower temperatures. Surfaces will normally need to be dry before the caulk is applied.
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