Elastomeric or Acrylic Urethane caulking is recommended for most projects. These products have excellent adhesion to many surfaces. Some caulking products will carry the term “elastomeric”, yet some contain very little elastomeric resin. Most premium Elastomeric caulks will range from $5-$7 per tube, but is well worth the investment. Premium caulk stretches 200% or more. It sets (dries) quickly, reducing down time before painting. If caulking is painted too quickly, paint will usually crack as the caulk tightens and pulls while curing. Most caulking should still dry a minimum of 8 hrs prior to painting for best results. Elastomeric, and Acrylic Urethane Caulk will outperform commonly-available cheap latex caulk, or “siliconized” acrylic caulk in every way.
Some projects will require the use of Solvent-based Urethane, or Solvent- based Elastomeric Caulking. This type of product is used on hard-to-stick surfaces, many areas of the exterior, and interior areas exposed to excessive moisture. Generally speaking, solvent -based caulks will exceed the performance of water-based caulking. However, solvent-based caulking products are more difficult to apply and require solvent for tooling. Water-based Elastomeric /Urethane caulking will be more than adequate for most projects.
For some people, this quick tack time of high performance water-based caulking can make it slightly more difficult to apply and smooth. You have to do a pretty good job applying the correct amount of caulk out of the gun, reducing the amount of tooling (finger-smoothing) required. You can only go over the caulk with your finger once or twice, due to the fast-setting. Smoothing is greatly aided by having a cloth thoroughly wet. Slightly wet your finger every time you smooth. If the caulk begins to get sticky, just keep wetting, and smoothing will be much better. When you apply additional caulk, just pick up from the previous stopping point and smooth only in the one direction you are caulking. Smooth toward the area not yet caulked– Don’t smooth towards the area you just finished. For long runs, break into short runs to keep caulk from drying before tooling. It’s very important to angle cut only a small tip on your caulk tube. You can always cut larger if you are not applying heavy enough to fill the crack after tooling. If you are wiping a lot of caulk off your finger after you smooth, you are applying too much pressure, or you are applying too much caulk. Keep a bright light in the area you are caulking. Be sure to smooth down edges of caulk bead completely.
Adhesive tub & tile caulk is sometimes used for interior caulking. Some painters use paintable tub & tile caulk for caulking the entire interior of newly constructed homes. They like the long open (wet) time, for easy tooling, and the convenience and ease of use of the squeeze tube. Tub & Tile caulk is superior to standard latex caulk, and many common acrylic caulks. This caulk does, however, have significant tightening and shrinkage over large cracks. It will serve as an excellent caulk when recaulking previous work that has cracked out, or for cracks that are small.
For larger gaps, we like Elastomeric Patching Caulk(Gun Grade). Elastomeric caulk is superior to most readily available caulks. It is certainly overkill for some interior caulking, but we see great long- term results by using only premium elastomeric or urethane caulking products.
Use a drip-free caulk gun for a superior job. A Drip-Free Caulk Gun will allow the most control during application, which helps reduce the amount of hand tooling required.
No type of caulk serves all purposes. Many homes will require two or more types of caulk for various surfaces and conditions. You must seek caulking that is acceptable based on your specific project requirements. We will be happy to assist you in determining the products to consider for your project.