Caulking

How to choose the right caulking for the right job can be a challenging task when you discover the many varieties on the market these days. There is caulking for just about every perceivable application that exists.

 As the winter cold comes rushing in it may remind us that our home is not equipped to keep it out. One of the best things we do is to seal up the gaps and seams of the home with caulking. Caulking comes in a variety of kinds and for various applications. So how does one choose the right caulking for the job at hand? First of all you should know what your objective is. Most of all caulking is used to either weather-proof or seal out unwanted air, moisture, particles, and pests. In fact caulking can effectively prevent air exchanger between inside and outside the house. Thus, it can keep cool air in during summer and cold air out during the winter. It also can be used to prevent moisture and water from entering the home causing damage to walls and the structure of the house. Dirt, dust, and pests can all be averted by sealing gaps and seams with caulking. Some caulks can be painted and some cannot. There are also caulks that are colored while others dry translucent (or clear). Timed usage of caulking also plays a role in what kind you should choose. Most caulks should only be applied when it is neither too cold nor too hot. A range of temperature would be from 75 degrees to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Some elastomeric caulks are exceptional in that they can be applied with good adherence in freezing temperatures. Caulking that is 100% silicone can be applied during freezing temperatures also. Just be sure to wipe any precipitation from the surfaces to be covered with the caulking before it is applied. Choosing caulking for winterizing the home should be done in mid to late fall. When applying it for preventing particles and insects from infiltrating your dwelling, make your choice anytime while the temperature is moderate, the air and surfaces are dry.

The material on which the caulking will be applied determines a lot in the choices with varying degrees of texture. Surfaces are either porous or non-porous. Glass, metal, and vinyl are non-porous while stone, asphalt, and brick are porous. You should choose a caulking according to how well it adheres to certain surfaces.

Now the types of caulking that are on the market is staggering. You can easily sort through them, if you know benefits and drawbacks of each basic kind of caulking. Caulking is basically either solvent or water based. When your go to purchase caulking check to see if it has a low volatile organic compound (VOC) consistency which is better for your health and the environment. Also you should take note that the higher the price and the longer the warrantees the better the caulk.

Always read and follow the labels on caulking cartridges carefully

Elastomeric: most can be used outdoors, some are strictly for outside and can be used during freezing temperatures, may stick to damp surfaces, all are moisture resistant, they are also shrink resistant, some should only be applied above 40 degree temperatures and are for indoor/outdoor use, comes in clear and white, paint does not adhere to it, tendency to last very long, clean with lacquer thinner, use around asphalt, brick, concrete, metal, vinyl and wood

Urethane: is an outdoor caulk that is to be used above freezing, minimal shrinkage, clean with a solvent, use around asphalt, brick, concrete, metal, vinyl and wood

100% Silicone: is an outdoor caulk, can be applied during freezing temperatures, are moisture and shrink resistant (once cured), does not stick to moist surfaces, is clear when and after it is applied, paint does not adhere to it, tendency to last, clean with a solvent, use around asphalt, metal, and wood, but not on masonry or vinyl

Silicone Latex: is an indoor/outdoor caulk that can be used above freezing, minimal shrinkage, some moisture and mold resistance, paint does not adhere to some, some come white but dry clear, apply it above freezing, lasts reasonably well, adheres to most surfaces, clean with a mild solvent

Acrylic Latex: is an indoor caulking, some moisture and mold resistance, takes paint well, clean with water, use around doors, windows, plaster, walls, and ceramic tile, clean with water

Latex: is usually applied indoors, adheres to porous or most surfaces, moisture and mold resistant, comes in mostly white but some in colors, clean with water, use in baths, kitchens, and ceramic tile, clean with water

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