From time to time builders or homeowners ask me what type of Caulking and sealant materials they should use. The following list provides some guidelines.
A wide variety of caulking material is available, each suited to certain applications.
They tend to be high VOC emitters; therefore, builders need to be aware of possible indoor air quality problems that can result from the use of a particular sealant , especially in housing for chemically sensitive people:
- Oil- or resin-based caulking will bond to most surfaces. However, it is not paintable or durable, as it shrinks and hardens.
- Latex-based caulking bonds to most surfaces except polyethylene. It does shrink, but is more durable than oil or resin based caulking .
- Butyl rubber will bond to most surfaces. It is particularly suitable for use on masonry, but not where the joint expands and contracts . It is paintable , but shrinks and has a limited durability
- Nitrile rubber bonds well to masonry and metal, but not to painted materials . It is paintable and suited for use in are as where moisture is a problem . It shrinks appreciably but is considered to be durable.
- Neoprene rubber will bond to most surfaces , and is particularly suitable for use on concrete. It is paint able and considered durable.
- Silicone caulking bonds well only to glass, metal and ceramics . Silicone does not shrink, and is very durable. It is also suitable for use in are as where moisture is a problem. However, silicone is not paintable after it has fully cured, and subsequent applications of caulking will not adhere to silicone caulking.
- Polysulfide caulking bonds well to primed surfaces . It does not shrink and is very durable. It should not be left exposed.
- Polyurethane caulking will bond to most surfaces except polyethylene. It does not shrink and is very durable.
- Acoustical sealant does not require a primer and bonds well to polyethylene. It is not paintable and can not be used in areas where it will be left exposed because it does not harden. It is considered to be very durable. To date, this has been the sealant of choice for polyethylene, but it is solvent-based and an indoor air quality concern.
Please do not hesitate to contact Mehran Saraie, EIT, AScT if you need further information or if you have any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org