What Is Rope Caulking?

Rope caulk is a soft, malleable material primarily used to seal around doors and windows. It is sold in long rolls in various diameters. Many builders and home repair specialists prefer to use rope-type caulking because it makes the job go faster and is less messy than using traditional caulk and a caulking gun.

Typical Uses

To prevent drafts, rope caulking is pushed into the gap between the window frame and framing studs.

Rope caulking is not only used to fill gaps around windows and doors; it is also used to fill crevices and cracks in building materials such as lumber and concrete. Rope caulking has also been used to make gaskets for installing car-stereo speakers.


Rope caulking is a thick rope-like putty that readily conforms to the space where it is installed. With proper installation, it adheres well to conventional building materials. Rope caulking is elastic and resists cracking when exposed to extreme temperatures. Some rope caulking products are fire-resistant and provide insulation against thermal transfer and electrical arcing, and provide electromagnetic shielding.

Tools for Installation

Rope caulking can be removed from the roll by tearing. No cutting tools are needed. Individual strands are separated by pulling them from the sides of the rope caulking. To fill large gaps, multiple strands may be pressed together. A putty knife may be used to press the caulking into tight spaces.

Installation Process

Clean and dry the crevice or gap you plan to fill. Follow the manufacturer's directions regarding optimal weather conditions for outdoor installation. Many manufacturers suggest installing the caulking on a warm day, when the outdoor temperature is at least 50 degrees F. Pull off a few inches of the caulk rope, as needed for your particular application. To fill a narrow gap, separate the piece of caulking into strands. To fill a wide gap, press multiple strands together. Use your fingers to firmly press the caulking into the gap. Use a putty knife to press the caulking into small areas.

About the Author

Denise Nyland "Denisen" is a long term resident of Panama City, Fla. She studied radiologic sciences and education and has published articles in multiple professional journals and contributed to various educational texts.