Get the right caulking compound for any job

Making a good caulk joint is half the equation. The other key to a long-lasting caulking job is selecting the right caulk for the job. Here's a rundown of your choices so you can decide what's best yourself:

Get the right caulking compound for any job

Silicone caulk

The most flexible caulk, and it stays flexible for decades. Adheres well to nonporous surfaces, such as glazed tile, glass, and plastic, and water won't undermine it. Holds up well outdoors and is great for tough, wet spots indoors and out.Expensive. Paint will not adhere to it. Comes only in clear and a few colours.

Acrylic latex caulk

  • Often labelled as "painter's caulk," it is great for filling gaps before an indoor paint job.
  • It is inexpensive, takes paint well, is easy to work with, and will last 20 years or more.
  • Not good outdoors or for other locations that are subject to moisture or wide temperature swings.
  • Doesn't adhere to tile, glass, and other smooth surfaces as in a dry indoor location.

Acrylic latex caulk with mildewcide

  • Often sold as bath caulk, it's useful for moisture-exposed indoor locations that need to be painted, such as where tub enclosures or tiles meet the wall.
  • Not good for locations subject to moisture or wide temperature swings.
  • Doesn't adhere to smooth surfaces as well as silicone caulk. Not suitable for kitchen counters, where it may come in contact with food.

Siliconized acrylic latex caulk

  • The addition of silicone can add 10 years to the life of the caulk, and you can still paint it.
  • For outdoor joints that will be painted — where siding boards meet casing, for example.
  • High priced and doesn't adhere to smooth surfaces as well as silicone caulk.

Butyl rubber caulk

  • Specially formulated to withstand wet and subfreezing conditions — use on gutter seams and lap joints, and for joints where metal meets masonry and foundations.
  • Messy to apply and has tarlike appearance. Not suitable for siding.
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