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Caulk Like a Pro



Do you ever wish you could caulk something in your home, but aren’t sure of the best way to go about doing it? Well, below I will teach you the dos and don’ts of caulking, so you can get your important project underway.

“The correct caulk selection for the job requires an understanding of the substances you’re dealing with and the environmental stresses on them,” according to Jake Pointer of inPaint Magazine. He continues “When it comes to caulks, it’s a matter of striking balance between adhesion, flexibility, durability, paintability, and cost.”

There are several types of caulk, and each one has an intended purpose you may not be aware of. Siliconized acrylics, for example, won’t make the paint crack or change sheen, but are tricky to work with, and may cause issues with repairs down the line, while water based caulks are easy, fast drying, and have low odor, but shrink and result in cracks. Elastomeric caulk, however, is flexible and has amazing memory of where each molecule was when it was cured. Polyurea caulks and sealers are naturally best for trouble areas with adhesion issues. And now there is a new generation of silane-modified polymers which are 100% solid, fast, and flow the same regardless of temperature. So regardless of what need you have, there is a type of caulk out there for you.

Keep in mind, you should also pay attention to the ingredients listed in your caulk. Latex-based products can shrink a lot or contain larger amounts of cheap filler, such as calcium carbonate, limestone, or marble dust. You want a higher quality one with more polymer and less filler. This will elongate before breaking instead of just snapping when pulled, allowing more give.

There are a few key steps to follow when using your caulk to make sure you have properly prepped and apply it most efficiently. Before starting your job, you must clean the joint and the substrate to ensure a good bond and lamination. Then, kill the mold and mildew by brushing or spraying a biocide into joints and gaps. You should also consider getting a caulk with a two-pack biocidal system to prevents “bugs” from growing in the cartridge. Next, practice your bead technique. On the exterior you want a full ⅜” bead with a ¼” adhesion, while you can use a smaller bead in your interior. Make sure you are using the right caulk in the right place, such as elastomeric caulk for more demanding applications, like crown molding, but not on a chair rail. Avoid dust by making sure other tradesmen are not working around your area with a saw or something else that will cause dust to fly up and imbed in your semi-tacky finish. And finally, always read the label. Drying times and other specs can change over time, so make sure you are up to date on the latest, as it may not be the same as the last time you used the product.

And of course, if applying your own caulk seems too trying a task for you, Pro Painters, your Houston painting contractor, is happy to jump on board and help with your project, whether it be Houston commercial painting or residential. Give us a call today for your free estimate.