Types of Caulking Material

Caulking is a building material that is used to fill in cracks and gaps in various types of surfaces. The type of caulk used on a project will depend on a number of different factors: heat, humidity, use and location. There are a number of different types of caulk on the market today, and knowing which caulk to use is key to a successful project. In addition, some caulks can have a very strong smell and may require ventilation in the room where the caulk is being applied. Any spills or messes left from the caulk may also require a special solvent for cleaning. Read the instructions on the packaging carefully.

Silicone Caulk

There are several types of caulk available on the market today, some specific to special projects.

Silicone caulk is perhaps one of the most common types of caulk used today. Typically, it is clear and has a rubbery texture. When it dries, it also keeps its ability to expand and contract, making it extremely beneficial in areas that see extreme temperature changes. Silicone caulk is also safe to use on a variety of surfaces, but it does have a very strong smell. The person applying it should be sure the location is well-ventilated.

Latex Caulk

Latex caulk is beneficial for indoor use because it is very low in odor, and is extremely durable in consistent temperature environments. Use on outdoor locations and windows is not ideal, but instead latex caulk can be used on door frames, casings, moldings and other areas in the home. In addition, latex caulk can be painted over easily, allowing it to become virtually invisible.

Kitchen and Bath Caulk

Like the name implies, kitchen and bath caulk is best used in kitchens and bathrooms because of its ability to withstand humidity and avoid developing mold and mildew. This type of caulk can be used to fill gaps and seal bathtubs, toilets, sinks and plumbing.

Butyl Rubber Caulk

Butyl rubber caulk is commonly used to seal larger cracks in windowsills, and between doors and door frames. These cracks are typically about 1/4-inch wide, and the butyl caulk can be used to fill in those cracks rather than replacing the entire window, door or other area. Butyl rubber caulk is able to withstand temperature changes relatively well, and comes in a variety of colors to help match the area best.

Oil-Based Asphalt Caulk

Oil-based asphalt caulk is used for tough jobs, such as sealing chimneys, outdoor vents and other surfaces. This type of caulk dries quickly, and has a similar texture and look to tar. It is extremely messy, and should be replaced/reapplied approximately every four years.

About the Author

Lauren Farrelly has been writing and producing for television since 2003. She has experience covering sports, business news and general news events for CNBC, ESPN and Bleacher Report. Farrelly has a BA in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University.