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Selecting the Proper Caulking

Selecting the proper caulk requires an understanding of the demands that will be placed on the product. Caulk selection is performance-based but most likely is based on what the contractor has used in the past or the lowest cost product available.

The following should be considered so you select the best caulk for the job:

  1. Inside or outside application.
  2. Temperature at the time of application.
  3. Paintable or non-paintable.
  4. Depth or width of opening.

Today there are more choices than ever and it's a great idea to review what is available.


Most common types of caulk come in a variety of formulations that affect cost, durability, and adhesion. They are fully cured when the water has evaporated, easy to gun, and any residue can be cleaned easily with soap and water. Low in cost and paintable this makes them an ideal solution for a wide variety of applications.


Silicones cure quickly and can be used in low temperature conditions, very flexible, extremely durable, and maintain their properties over a wide temperature range. Most 100% silicones cannot be painted.

The best sellers are the acrylic-based caulks which have a higher degree of flixibility and elongation and over the past number of years have improved greatly.

Many times the purchase decision is based on cost and the expected "warranty life". Many are labeled from 15 years to lifetime performance but the greatest volume is 35 to 45 year caulks. Year designations do not guarantee performance or longevity.

The applicator needs to make a selection based on the requirements that will be placed on the caulk. Check the information on the tube and read what the product has been tested for. If you need more info than what is on the tube, contact the manufacturer to help you make a more informed purchase.


Parvo's Paint & Wallpaper Center • 679 West Main Rd., Middletown, RI 02842 • Tel: 401-849-3500 • Fax: 401-849-9380 • Email: