What Type of Caulk Do I Use?

Caulk can be used to join a huge variety of materials together or to other materials. They are also used to seal moisture and water from entering specific materials. Caulk can also be used to fill gaps in materials both indoors and out. But with so many different types of caulk, it can be difficult at best to decide which materials work best for your project. Use this guide to caulk and find out which caulk is best for your next home improvement project.


This caulk is the most common and comes in both vinyl and acrylic styles. Also known as painters caulk, this cheap and easy to use caulk typically comes in white or clear. Latex caulk is primarily used indoors but can be used outdoors when a vinyl base is added to the caulk formula. Latex caulk can last for up to 15 years-but don’t count on it. It often degrades in less than five; especially when in contact with heavy UV rays.


Used primarily for wet locations, silicone caulk can be 100 percent acrylic or mixed together with silicone to make it more manageable. Acrylic latex caulk is often used in bathrooms and other wet locations because of its ease of application and flexibility when dry. Heavier based silicone caulks are much harder to apply, can be very messy and aren’t as flexible as acrylic based silicone caulk.


While these other styles of caulk are used to fill holes or seal out water intrusion, adhesives are designed to attach materials together permanently. Wood adhesives are a great way to attach materials together that can’t be nailed. Baseboards, trim and veneers are held together especially well using a wood adhesive. Caulk adhesives should not be confused with epoxies. Epoxies use a two part formula that remains inert until they are combined to create the adhesive while a caulk adhesive comes in one tube premixed and ready to go.


This caulk is more like tar than caulk. It is used on roofing and pavements to seal out moisture or close gaps and cracks for good. Butyl caulk is designed to remain waterproof for years but can sometimes dry and crack when exposed to heavy UV rays. Check this caulk every few years and replace it when necessary.


This caulk is fire rated to prevent runaway fires and backdrafts in buildings. This caulk is used during rough framing projects and seals the small holes, gaps and cracks in framing materials caused by plumbing pipes, electrical lines and ventilation cut outs.

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