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The Best Caulks for Showers and Tubs

While DIYers can obsess about caulking technique, the truth is that laying down the perfect bead will do little good if you don’t use the right caulk for the job. This viscous, waterproof paste is primarily used to seal joints where two surfaces meet (e.g., where the tub meets the wall) or to fill cracks (which commonly crop up in the shower floor) to keep out air, moisture, and dirt.

To defend your shower or tub against these threats, the garden-variety latex caulk commonly used on drywall, window frames, and wooden doors simply won’t cut it. The best caulk for the shower or tub has special properties that keep it pristine and structurally intact in the unique environment of the bathroom. Read on for aspects to consider when buying caulk for your bathroom project and see why we find the following products top-notch:

Whether your shower is a free-standing shower unit or part of a bathtub surround stall consisting of an acrylic shell or ceramic tile, it is critical to seal the joints around the base and corners of the shower with good-quality silicone caulk. Left uncaulked, the joints can allow water to seep behind the surface, where it can rot the wall structure or foster the growth of mold. Of all locations in a bathroom, the walls of a shower stall are the most susceptible to moisture infiltration, so it is critical that you regularly inspect the joints and make sure the caulk is doing its job—blocking water from seeping through the wall. Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of Melbourne caulking services

Caulking a shower stall requires the same basic techniques as used for any other bathroom location, though it is even more important here than for other areas. A great caulk job can last up to five years but check the shower walls yearly to catch problems before they can become serious. Signs of caulk going bad to include: caulk pulling away from the base of the shower, mold growth, flaky appearance, chunks of caulk missing from joints, and moisture buildup along the joints. With tiled showers, loosening tiles can be a sign that water is infiltrating behind the wall. If you spy any of these symptoms, it’s time to recaulk.

Choosing the right caulk for your project is a vital first step. There are two types of caulk that home improvement stores offer—latex and silicon-based. It is highly recommended that you use a 100% silicone-based caulk for any application where water and moisture are prevalent, such as toilets, showers, and sinks. (For other projects, such as sealing drafts around windows and doors, latex caulk is a good choice.)

Important Qualities in Caulk for Showers and Bathtubs

Material Options

Caulk made of pure silicone or siliconized latex/acrylic (i.e., latex or acrylic caulk with added silicone) adheres well to common shower and tub materials, including porcelain, ceramic, stone, fibreglass, and glass.

Choose pure silicone for a more durable caulk job that you don’t intend to paint afterwards. It’s more waterproof and flexible, so it better resists rot, rarely cracks with thermal expansion (when the shower or tub material expands or contracts with temperature changes), and lasts longer (40 or more years). However, it doesn’t take paint well and is about 10 per cent more expensive than the alternative.

Siliconized latex/acrylic caulk, on the other hand, is easier to apply and correct than pure sticky silicone, which can be a real pain if you make a mistake during application. But it’s less moisture-resistant and more likely to crack with thermal expansion, so your caulk job will be more short-lived (30 to 40 years).

Packaging Options

Caulk is sold in small squeeze tubes or large cylindrical cartridges, each type suited for different scale projects and requiring a unique application. Generally, cartridges are suited for large caulking jobs, such as sealing the perimeter of a tub, as they contain more caulk by volume and afford the more precise application. But they must be loaded into a caulking gun and dispensed by pressing down on the gun’s trigger. Squeeze tubes are better for small-scale projects, such as filling a crack in the shower floor. The caulk can easily be applied by hand with a simple squeeze of the tube, but it has a smaller coverage area because there’s less of it by volume.

Mildew and Mold Prevention

Most pure silicone and siliconized latex/acrylic caulk are formulated with mildewcides and fungicides (chemicals that destroy mildew or fungus, respectively) to minimize the formation of stain-causing mildew or mould on the caulk. But for a rot-proof caulk job, check the packaging for the terms “for bath,” “mildew-proof,” or “mould-proof,” along with the number of years the caulk can be expected to hold up to mildew and/or mould.

Colour Choices

Both pure silicone and siliconized latex caulk are sold in a variety of colours, including clear, white, cream, and brown. Painting over caulks labelled “paintable” gives you even more colour options. Clear caulk, the most versatile choice, blends into showers and tubs light or dark; it’s your best option if you want to ensure that there is no contrast between the colour of the caulk and the shower or tub. White caulk, which pairs well with most shower and tub colours, is a good option if you’re caulking a white shower or tub or have darker fixtures and don’t mind a colour contrast between the caulk and the shower or tub.

Dry and Cure Times

Pay attention to two timeframes listed on the caulk package: dry time and cure time. Dry time refers to how long it takes for the caulk to dry to the touch, whereas the cure time refers to when the caulk will fully set and ready for use and exposure to water. Pure silicone and siliconized latex/acrylic caulk have similar dry and cure times—anywhere from half an hour to 12 hours to dry and two hours to 10 days to cure. If you’re caulking the only shower or tub in the house, choose caulks with dry and cure times on the low end of these ranges so that your bath won’t be out of commission for days.

9 Different Types of Caulking for Showers

Caulking the shower is necessary if you want to keep your bathroom looking fresh and mould-free. You don’t need special skills to do the job, and it doesn’t require too much effort, either. All you need is the right type of caulk and a good-quality caulk gun.

Most caulks are 100 per cent silicone, but you’ll also find acrylic or acrylic blends. The former sticks better and lasts longer, but it can also be more challenging to the tool and more difficult to remove when it’s time to recaulk. It also requires mineral spirits for cleanup. Beginners may find the acrylic or acrylic blends easier to work with. Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of caulking services

Both types of caulks will eventually wear out so when they do, be sure to clean up any mould and mildew that may have developed and removed the old caulk before applying a new one.

Silicone Caulk

Silicone caulk is rapidly gaining in popularity due to being very good at sealing up showers. If you have a shower that is suffering from little leaks and mildew problems, then buying some silicone caulk should help you to fix your problems. You will be able to use the caulk to fix all of the problem areas of the shower without having any issues. This caulk is very easy to apply directly, and it works excellently.

One of the reasons that silicone caulk is preferred by many professionals is that it is easy to control. When you are applying caulk directly to your shower, using silicone is going to be preferable. It allows you to apply caulk precisely and get it exactly where it needs to go. You will be able to apply the right amount of caulk rather than just putting on gobs of it and hoping for the best.

This caulk is also more durable than many other types of caulk. You’ll be able to use this without having to worry about it cracking too easily or losing its effectiveness. Some types of caulk have to be replaced far too often, but silicone is going to be a bit more long-lasting than other options. This makes it preferable, and it is highly recommended that you take the time to look into the silicone caulk options that are on the market.

It should be noted that silicone caulk can be a bit on the pricey side. If you want to be able to caulk your bathroom for as little money as possible, then you may want to turn to acrylic caulk instead. You will have to pay a bit more than average for silicone caulk. It is more effective though, so it might wind up being worth your while to spend the small amount of extra money to get it.

Acrylic Caulk

Acrylic caulk is the most common type of caulk that people make use of. It is very inexpensive, so you will be able to buy a tube of it for a small amount of money. It won’t be tough to come by it either as you can find this type of caulk at any department or hardware store. There are some variations among the different styles of acrylic caulk, but generally speaking, it is good caulk that isn’t quite as effective as silicone caulk.

The lower price of acrylic caulk is what drives most people to buy it instead of the silicone options. You can pay out far less money for acrylic caulk and accomplish the same thing. The results may not be as long-lasting, but they will work to fix your problems for a good bit of time. It is just that eventually, you may deal with problems such as cracking and flaking.

It can be a bit annoying to have to replace caulk, but it isn’t going to be expensive to do so. This caulk is very cost-effective, so you won’t have to pay out a lot of money just to fix things. It just comes down to whether you want to pay more money upfront to have a longer fix to your problems or if you want to save some cash. Either way, your shower will be able to get the caulk that it needs and everything should work out fine.

All-Weather Caulk

This is a pretty expensive caulk that works fantastically for sealing and protecting showers. An average person may not want to spend the amount of money that is necessary to get this type of caulk. It is very good at what it does, but you have to decide whether it is worth the high price. If you don’t mind spending good money to seal your shower, then this is going to be one of the best products on the market.

This caulk here is capable of working in even extreme temperatures. Sometimes, people who live in extremely cold areas have trouble getting their caulk to work properly. This can be very troublesome and might wind up, causing some people to get frustrated. If you buy this all-weather caulk, then you won’t have to feel concerned. You’ll be able to get everything taken care of even in freezing temperatures.

You will also be interested to hear that this type of caulking can be used both indoors and outdoors. It is popularly used for shower areas, but it could just as easily be used for outdoor projects. This helps to justify the higher price in many ways. You’ll be able to get a lot of use out of this product if you choose to buy it, so it could be worth getting if you have many things that need to be caulked.

The all-weather caulk being shown here actually comes in a pack of 12. This makes the price even higher than usual, but it’s a good deal if you have a lot of caulking that needs to be done. Those who just have one shower to caulk may want to look for a single tube of caulk instead. Either way, this caulk works great, and you will definitely be pleased with how it performs.

Waterproof Caulk

One of the main reasons to buy caulk for your shower is to keep moisture at bay. Sometimes, little cracks in the shower lining can form, and this can cause leaks. Even a little bit of water seeping out of the shower can be problematic. Caulk is able to take care of this issue, but you may want to go the extra mile and ensure that your caulk is waterproof.

Waterproof caulk will be able to stand up to moisture without degrading. There are some caulks on the market that will not be quite as good at dealing with moisture. Since you are looking for caulk for your shower, it is important to buy caulk that is good at keeping moisture at bay. Fully waterproof caulk is going to work the best, so you should seek out an appropriate product that will work well for your needs.

Caulk that is waterproof is going to maintain a strong seal over time. The adhesion of this type of caulk will not weaken due to exposure to moisture. You won’t have to be concerned about it coming off or losing its effectiveness after several months. When you are caulking a shower or a bathtub, using waterproof caulk is an absolute necessity.

High-Performance Caulk

High-performance caulk is going to be good for showers because it can last for a long time. You don’t want to have to constantly replace the caulk or repair the caulking job in your shower. If you buy high-quality caulk, then things are going to stay looking good for a long time. This high-performance caulk here is an excellent example of how quality caulk can make a big difference.

Right off the bat, you should know that most types of high-performance caulk are also going to be waterproof. This is necessary for the caulk to maintain its strength over time. Caulk needs to have good adhesion to be effective, and waterproof caulk won’t be negatively impacted by moisture. Pretty much any type of caulk that claims to be high performance will also be waterproof.

This caulk is also very flexible, allowing it to bend and stretch with ease. You will have a simple time applying this caulk where it needs to go. It can cover your shower and keep moisture from seeping out without a problem. The price of this caulk is comparable to the all-weather caulk mentioned above, so it’s a good option to consider when you want a premium caulking solution for your shower.

Sealant Caulk

The sealant is a type of caulk that is specifically meant for sealing and keeping out moisture. When it comes to showers, this type of caulk can keep water from leaking out into other areas of your bathroom. Sometimes, the seal on your bathtub or shower area will degrade over time. You can use sealant caulk to effectively repair the seal and keep your shower area operating as normal.

This sealant caulk is very powerful, and it will be able to prevent you from dealing with many problems. Water damage can be very costly, and it is something that you want to be able to avoid. Applying sealant caulk in the proper places should be enough to take care of your problems. It won’t be difficult to do, and you will even be able to finish the job in a timely fashion.

This sealant caulk even has a lifetime guarantee, which speaks for its overall durability. You should be able to apply this sealant on your shower or bathtub and have it work for years. It will keep your bathroom safe from leaks, and your shower will function right. It isn’t as inexpensive as some of the low-cost acrylic caulk options, but it will be far more effective as a seal.

Paintable Caulk

Certain types of caulk are also advertised as being paintable. If you have ever seen a tube of caulk that mentions being paintable, then you should know that this type of caulk is preferable when you’re using it near walls. There may be occasions where you will want to paint the walls near your shower. Sometimes, the caulking can overlap with the wall slightly, and you may want to be able to paint the caulk so that everything can match up.

Also, painting caulk can sometimes just make it more visually appealing. There are people out there who dislike having to use caulk because they see it as an eyesore. You can mitigate the negative impact that caulk will have on the aesthetic appeal of a room. If you paint it the right colour or make it blend in with the rest of the shower, then you will hardly know that the caulk is there. Check out our Melbourne caulking services here. 

This caulk here is a good example of a high-quality caulk that happens to be paintable. It is typically used for both bathroom and kitchen areas. It can protect your shower from the mould and will work well as a general caulking solution. The fact that it is paintable is sort of like a bonus feature for you to enjoy.

Coloured Caulk

You don’t even necessarily have to go to the trouble of painting your caulk. It is possible to go out and buy caulk that is already a specific colour. This is great for when you want the caulk to look as natural as possible up against your shower and the walls. You should be able to find caulk that is just about any colour, so you’ll be able to match things up nicely.

Not having to worry about the caulk sticking out too much is going to be good. You’ll feel better about the appearance of your bathroom if you know that the caulk isn’t off-putting. Caulk doesn’t have to look bad, but sometimes it can be very noticeable. Many people would rather be able to hide the caulk by making it blend in properly.

It might take a little bit of looking to find the right colour that you need. Sometimes, turning online is going to be the easiest solution. You should be able to find various types of caulk at a large hardware store too, so it might be a good idea to look there. With a little bit of searching, you should be able to find the right caulk option for your bathroom.

Caulk Shower Strips

Caulk shower strips are a little bit different than your traditional caulk. You usually have to use some type of caulk gun to apply the caulk where it needs to go. Using caulk shower strips can actually be quite a bit easier. This is essentially an adhesive tape or strip that will do the same job as caulk while looking a lot nicer.

If you want your shower to remain as presentable as possible, then using caulk shower strips is a good idea. They can be applied very smoothly and will not look strange at all. Caulk shower strips wind up looking a lot cleaner than applying gobs of caulk to certain parts of your shower. It allows you to maintain a nice shower area without having to worry about not being protected.

Overall, the biggest reason that people choose to buy these caulk shower strips is convenience. It is a more convenient product to use than many of the other caulk options. If your shower needs to be sealed to protect it from leaks and other problems, then you should consider purchasing this product. It will be a cost-effective way to remedy the situation, and you’ll be happy with how easy it is to use.

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