There are a few key components and building materials that are used in almost any type of renovation. Some of these include nails, wood, cement, structural steel and caulk, which is the highlight of this article.
What Is Caulk?
Also known as caulking sealant, caulk is an acrylic sealant material that’s crucial in almost any type of interior or exterior home improvement project. It’s typically used to fill gaps and cracks to prevent air, moisture and foreign debris from getting into places where they shouldn’t be. They also keep small bugs from entering your home and damaging its inner structure. Using it may seem like a straightforward process, but there are several considerations to be made as there are different types of caulk used in different types of projects.
When and Where to Use Caulk
There are some cases where it isn’t advisable to use caulking sealant as it can accidentally damage the material. For instance, many professional exterior contractors know that caulk shouldn’t be applied on wood siding because the material naturally expands and contracts under temperature fluctuations. Caulk essentially prohibits the wood siding’s natural movement under different temperatures, which can lead to splits, cracks and other damage to the exterior.
You should also avoid using caulk on trim boards if they sit on top of your siding. This is because the caulk will impede the natural air circulation which can cause moisture to build up beneath the siding. This can lead to mold growth which can affect your home’s indoor air quality. Caulk isn’t normally used on fiber cement panels if there’s already metal flashing underneath the siding. This is because the flashing already prevents water from entering, and the caulking sealant will only make the flashing’s role in protecting against the weather redundant.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Caulk
- Color – As a local specialist among exterior contractors, we recommend getting a shade or color that doesn’t stand out more than the material. For instance, if the color of your bathroom tiles or siding is white, then you should get your caulk in the same color as well. Some homeowners may sometimes prefer certain types of caulking sealant to match your interior or exterior renovation, but you need to keep in mind that the colors won’t always exactly match. This is because they’re two different materials!
- Material – Aside from silicone and latex, caulk comes in other varieties of acrylic materials. Butyl rubber is one of the more specialized caulking sealants that are recommended for use in exterior siding remodeling projects. This material can withstand fluctuating temperatures and repeated exposure to the weather elements, but silicone can also work just as well as an alternative.
Other specialty caulks are also made for a particular task in a remodeling project. Using these caulks is often necessary to attain the best possible outcome of the project. For instance, asphalt and blacktop caulk can be used to fill in small gaps and cracks in parking lots, driveways and other asphalt surfaces.
Knowing Which Caulk to Use
Some of the most common types of caulk available are made from either silicone or latex. Both are sometimes combined and sold as latex plus silicone or siliconized latex. Caulk is also sold in either cartridges, strips or squeeze tubes depending on your choice or preference. A large cartridge along with a caulk gun can give a continuous bead of caulk, which is especially useful in major renovation projects. Professional remodeling contractors also use smaller squeeze tubes for minor projects and renovations for better ease of use.
- Silicone Caulk
This is a premium caulking sealant that’s a bit on the pricey side, but is recommended in most exterior remodeling projects. Silicone caulk is applied between the gaps of materials that are expected to be exposed to water and is flexible enough to withstand the harsh environments brought about by the local climate. Most types of pure silicone are also mildew-resistant and can also be used in interior projects. That means besides siding projects, it can also be applied as a sealant around fixtures, toilets, sinks and plumbing!
- Latex Caulk
This is more affordable than silicone and can also be used in exterior remodeling jobs. Unlike silicone, latex caulk dries faster and can be painted! Latex caulk is typically used to fill small gaps in wood siding, trim and many other areas as well as a sealant between wooden joints that are going to be painted. While some types of latex caulk can be used in wet areas, it’s often better to apply this in trim, siding or any other surface that will get painted on down the road.
- Latex Plus Silicone
This is essentially a type of latex caulk that has better moisture resistance than standard latex. This is also more durable and flexible because it’s mixed with silicone, and can be a good option if you want something better than latex, but not as expensive as silicone. It can be used in siding replacement jobs, but this material is more commonly used for interior projects such as flooring and tiling.
Both silicone and latex caulk have different benefits and drawbacks. Latex is easier to use than silicone and can be painted. Silicone caulk can be difficult to clean since you’ll need mineral spirits to clean them off the surface. Latex only needs soap and water and has a weaker odor compared to silicone. However, silicone caulk is more flexible compared to latex and can hold up to extreme temperatures and harsher climates. They also last longer than latex and can work on gaps/cracks that expand and contract!
AQ Roofing LLC is a roofing contractor that prides itself in providing residential and commercial clients with the highest quality products, services and workmanship. A family-owned business that aims for excellence every time, we only use the highest quality products, materials and techniques available, with workers and specialists backed with years of roofing experience and skills! Our warranty will remain in effect after your roof is done, providing you with long-term value. And if there’s a problem with the materials or labor, we will address the problem – free of charge!
For any inquiries, contact us at (501) 951-1683, or fill out our contact form to request an appointment. We proudly serve businesses and homeowners in the State of Arkansas. We will take care of you from start to finish. We look forward to working on your project.