If you’re not familiar with the term caulk, know that this is a product that was mostly likely used in your bathroom/kitchen when it was last renovated. It is a sealant that’s used on joints and seams, and it helps prevent leaks in piping and other structures.
Having greatly evolved from what it was in the past, caulk today is made with flexible sealing compounds and has various applications in the construction industry. So, what can caulk do for your shower and what products are worth the money right now? Bear awhile and listen!
Types of Shower Caulk
There are many different types of shower caulk available, so it’s important to know what they are if you want to make the best purchase possible. When you’re browsing the market for shower caulk, here are the common types that you’re bound to come across:
Acrylic latex caulk
Also known as “painters caulk”, this particular type of product is the kind that you can paint on. People prefer it for projects that require fixing small holes, and works really well with wood.
Vinyl latex caulk
While a bit similar to acrylic latex caulk, this vinyl version isn’t that easily washed away with soap and water. It has a longer lifespan and is, therefore, more suitable for those looking to make longer-lasting repairs. However, it isn’t as flexible as acrylic latex caulk and it’s prone to cracking when exposed to contraction and expansion.
Pure silicone caulk has now become increasingly more difficult to find since manufacturers are now making up formulas that combine silicone with other ingredients to improve features such as moisture resistance or durability. Silicone caulk is characterized as sticky and flexible, which means that you are bound to find it in most caulk products out there.
How to Choose Shower Caulk
If you’ve never had to use shower caulk before, we’re going to assume that you’re not sure how to choose one from the many different brands and types available. No worries, we’ve put together a list that gathers the features and characteristics of a good shower caulk, so you know what to look out for when you’re making a purchase.
One of the most important missions that shower caulk needs to accomplish is to withstand mold and mildew, two things that are likely to appear in an environment as humid as the bathroom. The surface of the caulk had to be smooth in order to prevent water from sticking to it and causing mold to grow. Even if you don’t use caulk in the bathroom and decide you need it for external applications, it still needs to resist mold and mildew, even if mold growth might be slower than in the bathroom.
The next important feature on the list is water-resistance. Note that almost every caulk product on the market is water-resistant, but you should double check to make sure that really is the case. If you opt for caulk that doesn’t have the waterproof seal, mold is very likely to grow, which means that you’re going to have to clean it and apply a new coat of caulk on a constant basis.
When you’re choosing to buy caulk from a specific brand, make sure that it is heat and cold-proof. This means that it can withstand both high and low temperatures. If the product chosen fails to meet the criteria, it will come out of the surface when exposed to these temperatures, meaning that the seal won’t be strong. This feature becomes increasingly more important if you want to use this caulk for outdoor applications as well.
The elasticity of the caulk determines whether or not it can withstand movement. This is not a mandatory feature if you choose to place this caulk between things that are permanently fixed, like ceramic floor tiles, but if you need it for shower doors, for example, it is best to choose elastic caulk. This will help the caulk survive expansions and contractions.
You might want to check how long it takes for the caulk to dry too. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use the shower or parts of the bathroom for a longer time. There are plenty of products out there that dry out faster than one hour.
The color of the caulk also plays an important part in certain situations, especially if you’re looking to make small repairs and you want the color of the new caulk to match the one of the old caulk. There are typically two-color options when it comes to caulk: white and clear. Some caulk are colored, while others can be painted once they are dry.
What Is Shower Caulk Good For?
There are a lot of different things that you can use caulk for, but we wanted to show you two common bathroom projects that can’t be completed properly without the use of caulk.
The first project is tiling a shower-tub surround.
This project teaches you how to apply grout so that everything can be fixed in place, but it also elaborates on how caulk is used to finish the project. Once you’ve added the sealant and it’s fully dry, caulking is the very last step to turn to. You will have to choose a caulk that’s suitable for bathroom use, one that’s waterproof, mold and mildew resistant.
When you apply the caulk, start by doing so in a straight line, starting with one corner and finishing with the next one. Then proceed to wet your finger with water and gently smoothen out the surface of the caulk. You want the tile and the grout ends to be connected for a full waterproof seal, so the caulk has to be smooth and evenly distributed to cover the gap.
You can also use caulk to raise and install tub-shower fixtures, as this tutorial will teach you.
The project is focused on showing you how to properly mount shower fixtures, and add grout, seal, and caulk prior to that. Only when the surround is ready for showering can you proceed with installing the fixtures. It is recommended that you start with the shower head. This part is quite simple to do, since you’re mostly going to need Teflon tape, a pair of gloves.
Top Caulk Product Suggestions
It’s time to take things to the next level and look at some product suggestions that you’re bound to be impressed by. Without further ado, here are the top six shower caulk recommendations we have in store for you today.
The Gorilla Clear silicone sealant is an amazing product that’s suitable not just for showers, but for plumbing, windows, kitchen repairs, and many others. It has a waterproof formula that allows it to work perfectly fine even in environments with high levels of humidity, so you can use it for showers with no issues at all. Just allow it to dry for 30 minutes and you’re good to go. Because of its waterproof formula, it can also be used for a bunch of outdoor projects as well. It doesn’t turn yellow over time and has a mold and mildew-resistant combination of ingredients that are bound to keep the caulk intact.
The Red Devil 0405 Duraguard caulk is available in three color options (white, cream, and clear) and you can purchase it as a single tube or a pack of 12, which is more convenient if you’re working on larger projects or want plenty of backups around. It is designed to be resistant in the face of mold and mildew, creating a watertight seal that prevents leaks.
It is a paintable caulk, so if you’re remodeling your bathroom in very specific colors, you’ll be happy to know that you have this option at your disposal. It is compatible with multiple kitchen and bathroom surfaces, and it can be cleaned with soap and water.
This is yet another great product that’s suitable for use as shower caulk. It has a waterproof silicone-based formula that protects your shower from water damage, but also prevents leaks that would otherwise cause more trouble in areas exposed to water. It takes as little as 30 minutes for the product to dry and be ready for water exposure, which is always a plus.
The formula is designed to be safe when in contact with metal, avoiding blemishes on surfaces made from nickel, chrome, and bronze. It offers a 10-year protection against mold and mildew growth. It is available in almond and a white color.
The Dap 18110 Acrylic Latex Caulk is a product that’s suitable for bathroom use, but ready to be applied on other surfaces in other rooms of your home. It can safely work both inside and out, so if you’re looking for caulk for outdoor projects, this is the right product to buy.
It offers a 35-year guarantee, which is more than we can say for other good caulk wannabee products. It can be painted over and takes a mere 30 minutes to dry. It’s a flexible and durable product with easy water clean-up properties. It is available in a multitude of colors for you to choose from, including slate gray, dark bronze, and cedar tan.
The Big Stretch tube of caulk is an affordable product that, as the name suggests, stretches to avoid cracking and promises a longer lifespan compared to some of the other similarly-priced products on the market. It can be successfully used for indoor and outdoor projects thanks to its temperature-resistant formula that can withstand anything from rainfall to higher-than-average temperatures.
There are multiple characteristics of this particular product that are worth mentioning: it’s high elasticity, its paintability, its freeze-thaw stability, but also the fact that it’s applicable in so many scenarios, from shower-related needs to soundproofing interior walls.
Self-adhesive caulk is basically an alternative to the tube-like products we’ve seen so far. It’s a strip of caulk that can be used to seal your shower but also serves a wide variety of other applications as well. It has a peel-and-stick application which basically eliminates any spills and the need for later clean-up. It has a flexible trim and is easy to mold to different situations.
It’s available in different colors, including white, brown, and black. After application, all you have to do is trim it to the length of your choice. You can paint over it if needed too. You can select between multiple width and length, and you don’t need any additional caulking tools to apply it.
Whenever you’re renovating your bathroom, you might discover that a fresh coat of caulk is needed. However, if you’ve never had to do it before, you might not be sure how to choose the right product. Not to worry, our article has you covered with the information that one needs to possess before spending money on shower caulk.