If you’re doing home renovations then it’s very likely you’ve either wielded a caulk gun or are about to. Caulking comes in handy whether you want to put the finishing touch on trim and baseboards, seal windows against draughts, or in sealing plumbing fixtures.
Some jobs will call for specific types or colors, but for the most part, a good brand of paintable caulk will get almost any job finished to your satisfaction.
When working with caulk, you’ll also need to invest in a good quality caulk gun. There are a number on the market, and it might be overwhelming when you start shopping around, so I’ve made it easy and reduced your list to the best that the market has to offer!
As opposed to regular caulk, paintable caulk, once dry, allows the paint to adhere for a professional finished look to your renovations. If you’re using a regular caulk, it tends to make the paint run off sporadically, making it look as if you weren’t paying much attention to the job at hand!
Whenever you’re using caulk around drywall or any other paintable surface (such as trim, especially around windows or doors, and baseboards) using paintable caulk is just plain good practice.
You’ll of course want one that fits best with your colors, but as a rule nice white paintable caulk is best, since that’s typically the color of your baseboards and trim anyway, and it will blend in nicely.
You can easily see where you’ve applied it (unlike some clear caulks, which in certain lighting can be hard to locate and can make for a messy result) and fix any mistakes you might have made. (Let’s be honest, it takes some practice to get it right!)
Advantages & Drawbacks of Paintable Silicone Caulk
Silicone caulk has many uses and is a real lifesaver when making repairs or patches. With all the advantages, though, there have to be some disadvantages, right? Let’s take a look.
The Good Stuff
Silicone caulk is stronger than acrylic. It doesn’t shrink, crack or wither. It lasts a lot longer on most surfaces and, when applied correctly, is barely visible. Compared to acrylic caulk, silicone is much better for almost all applications. Interior, exterior, and anywhere in between.
Silicone caulk is also waterproof, mold and mildew resistant and be applied with a squeeze tube or a caulking gun. It truly is one of the best caulks available.
The Bad Stuff
Almost every type of silicone caulk cannot be painted. This is a difficult thing to accept for most homeowners who want the best caulk and want it to match. While you can choose colors for your silicone caulk, the odds of finding an exact match are almost impossible.
You need to be skilled at applying silicone caulk, as it is one of the most difficult to apply. It also has a strong odor until it cures, which most people find disturbing. When you do use it, use it in a well-ventilated area.
Types of Caulking Jobs Explained
There are many different times when using caulk can aid in the job you are trying to accomplish.
Windows & Doors
Filling gaps and cracks around doors and windows is essential to keep the harsh weather outside. Just a 1/8-inch opening around two frames or windows can let in as much cold air as leaving a window open 6-inches. That’s a lot of wasted energy.
You can use the caulk to seal the outside of windows and door frames. It is also good for use around the foundation cracks. The money you spend accomplishing this task will be made back in just one heating season or less.
Invest in quality caulk and weather-stripping for the most successful chance at retaining your energy.
Caulking is used often in exterior paint jobs. It can effectively fill in the spaces where cold air, pests and water will enter the home. Water is dangerous to your home and efforts to seal it out should always be used.
When working outdoors, consider using caulk around the windows, door frames, soffits, fascia boards, brick and even concrete. Just be sure that when you are working with concrete and brick, you’ll want to use a transparent caulk for the best outcome.
Kitchen & Bathroom
Caulk is useful for filling cracks found between most any two adjoining materials. This can be where the walls meet in a corner, where the bathtub meets the floor or even where the backsplash meets the countertop.
Not every corner in your home is going to require the use of caulk, but there are some that benefit from the added water protection. Consider using caulk wherever water can soak into the foundations or plywood of your home.
This includes the joints within the shower, around the sink and even at the base of your toilet. As a general rule of thumb, any area that can get wet and cause potential damage should be caulked.
Paintable Silicone Caulk
Paintable silicone caulk is permanently waterproof so it will not break down in water over time. In addition, it is flexible. Regular caulk can freeze in cold temperatures and eventually crack.
Silicone caulk will not shrink whereas regular caulk shrinks as it dries. In addition, silicone caulk is virtually crack-proof. You won’t have to worry about exposure to extreme heat or the sun’s UV rays.
Silicone caulk can be used around windows, doors, trim, molding, vents and siding. In addition, it excels behind sinks, around the tub and anywhere else water could become an issue.
Silicone caulk can be applied to most wood, masonry, brick, metal, vinyl siding, drywall, plaster, laminate, ceramic tile, plastic and glass.
Considerations When Choosing Caulk Guns
Before you head out and just buy the next caulk gun that you see, there are a few factors you need to think about.
Gun Rod Type
The most common rod type is the ratchet rod. This is the rod that, when squeezed, will only go so far, and you have to release the trigger and pull again to continue to expel from the tube. For caulking, it is better to choose a smooth rod style. This puts a continuous pressure without ratcheting, making the trigger pull a one-time thing and saves wear and tear on your hands.
Thrust ratio is the amount of pressure applied to the caulk tube with each trigger pull. You should make sure that your gun matches the required thrust needed to expel the caulk. Smaller guns will have a simple 3-to1 thrust ratio, where stronger, thicker models can get up to 15-to1 or even higher.
Some models have a revolving frame. This twists and turns to allow the barrel to rotate so that the caulk bead stays consistent, even when rounding corners.
3 Best Paintable Caulks Reviewed
DAP INC 18152 White Alex Plus Caulk with Silicone - Our Top Pick
- Sturdy and secure construction
- Perfect for your household
- High quality product. Won't shine through or...
- Low Order and Easy Water Clean-Up
Hands down the best paintable caulk I’ve used (and I’ve done a lot of home renovations both for myself and others) is none other than Alex Plus Acrylic Latex painting caulk by Dap Inc.
Dap is a well-known name going all the way back to 1865 when the company started with sealing wax for canning food. It’s stood the test of time with very reliable products, and this high quality caulk is no exception.
It has been great for a variety of uses, and because it’s paintable, you don’t have to worry if you haven’t gotten that perfect bead along trim or baseboards. Just smooth it with a gloved fingertip, let it dry, and then paint over any excess! Because it remains flexible, it’s easy to peel if you’ve overshot and didn’t immediately notice.
The caulk dries quickly but as I said, remains flexible and will adhere to a variety of surfaces including glass, stone, metal, drywall, wood, ceramic and brick! It’s both mildew and moisture resistant so you can go ahead and use it along those window and door frames and in all of your bathroom renovations.
It’s also good for use both in and outside your home – the projects you could apply this to are endless, making it a helpful product for both professionals and the handy homeowner. This particular caulk is white and the tube holds a full 11 fluid ounces.
Sashco 10016 Big Stretch Caulk - Best Caulk For Trims & Baseboards
Big Stretch is a great option to use on most exterior and interior applications. It’s especially useful for baseboards and trim, plus your crown moldings. When used on interior walls, this formula provides soundproofing capability as well.
This quick dry formula is made in the United States and quite durable. It will stand up to any abuse and cleans easily. This formula also goes on smoothly and spreads quickly, as long as you catch it before it dries. Just be sure not to use it in areas of prolonged dampness or on roofs.
Loctite 1515861 Polyseamseal Tub and Tile - Best Caulk For Bathrooms
- This item is Loctite 1515861 Polyseamseal Tub...
- Used for Painting Supplies Abrasives &...
- This product is Manufactured in United States
- Extra is added to fight unsightly mold and...
This caulk is best used in moist areas like with your bathtub, shower stall, plumbing fixtures, tiles or sinks. It provides excellent adhesion when used with enamel, stainless steel, ceramic, glass, porcelain, aluminum, plastics and wood.
Because this formula contains a mildewcide, you don’t have to worry about any mildew or mold growth in the future. Even after it’s dried, this caulk remains flexible to offer you a professional and durable finish. It’s also made in the United States and it’s available in numerous package sizes so you can customize it perfectly to the job you’re doing.
Why Is Silicone Caulk Paintable?
Unlike non-silicone caulk, paintable caulk combines the adhesion and durability of silicone and mixes it with the paintable function of acrylic. Normally, within about 30 minutes of application, you can paint over the caulk.
This can be accomplished with either a brush or roller. If you are using a spray paint gun, you should be able to apply the materials without waiting the full 30 minutes.
Be sure to read the directions on all your caulk before painting. Some varieties may require as long as 24 hours of drying time before you paint.
What You Need To Know About Caulking Guns
You’ve probably seen the products out there; the tubes of caulk (they look like big toothpaste tubes) that advertise an easy and mess-free way of application.
They look like they might take the stress out of the job, don’t they?
In multiple tests by professional tradespeople, it was found time and again that caulk from a tube tended to shrink, meaning that the space you’re trying to cover isn’t going to get the desired seal.
You’re going to end up having to reapply...possibly multiple times. The shrinkage was assumed to be due to the thinning down of the sealant required in order to squeeze easily from a tube.
The sealant from a tube is meant to be used in combination with a caulk gun, which, on the other hand, can be very thick since the pressure is applied by the gun itself.
Types of Caulking Guns
There are three main types of caulking guns you’ll come across in your search. The first is a Ratchet Rod Caulk Gun. This is what most home users will use and they feature a rod that pushes the caulk out. Because this system is based on pressure, the caulk will stop moving when you turn it upside down and pull back on the rod.
The next gun is the Smooth Rod Dripless Caulk Gun. You won’t need as much pressure to get the caulk out because it uses a spring-loaded plat lock to push the pressure rod. Simply squeeze the trigger with varying pressures to adjust the flow.
Finally, there are electric caulk guns which are a good option for anyone caulking often. Simply plug it in or use a battery operated model. They are heavy-duty and great for commercial use.
Qualities of the Best Caulk Guns
When choosing the right caulk gun for your needs, there are several factors you’ll want to take into consideration.
Some caulk guns will offer this feature to stop the caulk from flowing when the trigger is released. This saves you from having to twist the plunger rod or push any buttons in order to release pressure.
High-quality caulk guns offer a way to easily trim the caulk cartridge to a specified opening size. This saves you from excess mess.
When you have caulk with the inner foil seal, this built-in punch tool will take care of that easily.
If you will be working from a ladder, look for caulk guns that feature this convenient hook which allows you to hang the tube from your workspace.
When you are looking for options with less wrist and hand fatigue, you want a caulk gun with a higher ratio. This means when the trigger is pulled, more thrust will be transferred to the shaft.
By choosing a caulk gun that offers an open frame design, you have less weight. This is because there is no longer a need for the cradle which holds the tube.
Which Areas Should Caulking Guns be Used?
Now that you know all the appropriate times to use caulk, you might be wondering when you should use a caulking gun for application. A caulk gun will make the job easier.
You might be tempted to skip using a caulk gun and save the money instead, but it isn’t always a good idea. First of all, most caulk guns aren’t expensive. In addition, I am going to show you that using a caulk gun could actually save you money.
Applying caulk can be a long and tedious job, but not with the right caulk gun. You’ll find that having a proper gun will allow you to get the job done faster which gets you back to your other projects faster.
In addition, using a caulk gun allows you to provide an even application. This saves you from a wasted product like when you attempt to do it without the caulking gun.
So, as you can see, any time or anywhere that you are going to apply caulk is a good place to add a caulk gun in as well. You can save yourself time, money and effort.
Our Top Rated Caulking Gun
Newborn 930-GTD Drip-Free Smooth Hex Rod Cradle Caulking Gun
- Steel half-barrel (also called cradle) frame...
- Thrust ratio of 10:1 for use with low...
- Smooth pressure rod requires less force and...
- Rod retracts after each pull of the trigger...
This gun works like a dream and doesn’t take any effort to use. The pressure rod requires less force to use than most, and is also less noisy for repeated use (whether you’re new to home renovations or not, there is a bit of stop and go when using caulk guns. With some of them the noise can be a bit jarring.)
The Hex Rod has a steel half barrel frame, which makes it sturdy and resistant to damage. To help prevent the mess associated with caulk jobs, the rod retracts by itself on this one after each trigger pull!
This goes a long way to prevent drips and a huge clean up. Both the handle and trigger are padded, making this the most comfortable caulk gun on the market.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Does caulk need to be painted?
Calk doesn’t have to be pained, but it can be. It is desirable to paint caulk to match the surrounding area. You won’t need to prime the caulk and should prime the surfaces before caulking as caulk will adhere better to a primed surface.
How long until caulk is paintable, can I paint over wet caulk?
You will need to wait to paint until the caulk has developed a “skin” or hard outer layer that can hold paint. There are specialized caulks available that will still cure under a coat of paint. For these, it is recommended you wait for at least a half-hour to let the caulk set and begin to form the skin. Other caulks will need about 4 hours to have their sin and ready to hold a layer of paint.
What is the best caulk for wood?
Assuming you will want to paint the caulk to match the surrounding wood, you will want to use an acrylic caulk. Silicone caulks last longer but cannot be painted.
Before using caulk and the gun, it’s important to make sure you cut the tip of the tube of sealant on an angle. A small hole will obviously result in a small bead of caulk, while a larger hole results in a larger bead. Cut according to the job that you want done.
Once the tube is cut, insert it into the cradle of the gun. Now all you need to do is squeeze the trigger (some are more of a pump action) until you see the caulk start to emerge. If you notice that your bead isn’t big enough, release the trigger and cut a bigger hole.
Take your time, have confidence, and get that renovation done with the best the market has to offer!