There are as many types of exterior caulk on the market as there are areas of your home to use it on. Make sure you use the right type of product for the application, and be sure to buy the best quality product you can find to ensure a long life for your home.
Uses of Exterior Caulk
Caulk is the flexible substance that's used to fill up gaps and joints in and around your home. It can be made of silicone, latex, acrylic or urethane and can be clear or paintable. There are several areas on your home's exterior that may need to be treated from time to time, including:
- Roof lines
- Window casings
- Vinyl siding
- Masonite siding
- Wood siding
- Door frames
- Soffits or eaves
Depending on the visibility of the area you are filling, the material of the area you are treating and the climate of the area you live in, you may find that one type of caulk is better than another for your home.
Exterior Caulk Recommendations
There are four types of caulk that work well in exterior situations. All four can be used in multiple areas, although one may work better than another in a specific area:
Depending on where you are applying the product, and whether or not you are treating multiple areas at a time, you will use a product made of one of these materials. Always purchase a product that is rated to last a minimum of 40 years; most exterior joint fillers can last 45 – 50 years when used properly.
Joint filler that is used on siding and around window casements and doorways should be painted to match the home's exterior whenever possible. Make sure to purchase a product suitable for use with wood, and avoid those made with polyurethane or elastomeric because they can take up to a week to dry before painting. Instead, use a structural wood caulk made of acrylic. Brands favored by professional house painters include:
- Year 1
- Geocell 2300
- Big Stretch
Windows and Doors
If you're working around windows and doorways that meet up with vinyl, brick or another non-wood material, consider using a product made of 100% silicone. It cannot be painted, but is clear and will bond with any material. Brands favored by contractors include:
- Quad OSI
Material used on roofing materials must work with non-porous surfaces. Silicone or polyurethane products are best, since this area is not painted and drying time is not a factor. Consider trying:
- GE 100% Silicone
- Dow Corning
- DAP 18816
The Whole Home
If you want a paintable product that can be used anywhere on your home's exterior regardless of material, consider using a latex modified silicone caulk. This white material can be left as is or painted. It can shrink, however, and may not last as long as acrylic, pure silicone or polyurethane. Use it for yearly maintenance, such as filling the gaps around Masonite siding or replacing old fillers in between paint jobs.
Read the Label
If you aren't sure what product is the best for your job, take the time to read the labels. Look for a material that is specifically designed for the material you are treating and for one that has the highest warranty possible. 50 to 55 year product is going to give you the best performance, provided it is also used on the materials for which it was designed.
Always ensure the product you are using is meant for exterior use. When in doubt, use all-purpose caulk and inspect your home's exterior yearly to avoid problems caused by disintegration.