Caulk, Who Cares?

Well, you should! Of course we’re talking about that stuff used to fill gaps. Not all caulks are created equal, and here’s what you need to know.

Caulks are used every where on your home, for example: windows are caulked to your brick & vinyl siding on the exterior, windows are caulked to your trim on the interior, casing and base moldings are caulked to the wall, counter top is caulked to the wall, bath cabinet is caulked to the floor, bath tub to the tile etc…. There are five common types of caulks used in home improvement today. They are Latex, Butyl, Urethane, Silicone, and

Terpolymer Caulk at its normal state

Terpolymer Rubber. The Latex and Butyl type caulks are inexpensive and ok for indoor use, but I wouldn’t use them outdoors. They are water and oil based compounds and can dry out and crack with prolonged exterior weather exposure, expansion and contraction. In some instances cracks show up in as little as one year or less! Urethane is more of a foam type caulk with other products mixed in to make it sticky, flexible, and water resistant. Although it is an excellent product, it dries with a rough texture and is not appealing for residential use. Silicone is a rubber based product and is very paintable. The biggest problem with silicones is that they are not an “all around” caulking product. When you purchase silicone caulk, be sure to read the label and confirm you’re using the right type of silicone for your application. This brings us to the terpolymer rubber caulks.

These caulking compounds have been around since 1925 and have very few limitations. There paintable, available in many colors, and can be found with 20 year warranties, but there are two fantastic qualities to these types of caulk.

Terpolymer Caulk will regain its shape after stretching

First they adhere to almost all building materials such as: brick, wood, concrete, aluminum, vinyl, glass, and fiber cement to name a few. Second they have a 300-400% elasticity ratio so they won’t dry out, crack, peel, flake, or loose flexibility. So if you haven’t guessed, I prefer the terpolymer rubber caulks. It may sound cliché but I believe in using the best products. If you consider how many places caulk is used and how many are not accessible after completion, why not use a product with a 20 year warranty. Makes sense right, so then every home improvement contractor is using this type of caulk. I wish this were true but most contractors use latex primarily because of price and ease of use. The average tube of latex is around 1 dollar compared to a 5 dollar terpolymer rubber caulk tube. Using latex requires little experience, if you put too much on you can just wipe it off with your finger. This is not the case with terpolymer rubber caulk it needs to be installed by someone with experience in caulking, you can’t wipe this off with your finger, once it goes down, it stays down.

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