Caulk is a versatile thing.
It can be used in many places and is, hands down, the most resilient product we work with. That’s easy to say without doubt considering most of the other products we work with are for tuckpointing and are cement based. Below we will go through some of the basics on when, where, why to use caulk as well as the different kinds of caulk.
When to use Caulk
The easiest way to describe the most common places for caulk use: Caulk will most often be used
1.) Anytime two dissimilar surfaces meet with a gap. (ie Brick meets wood or concrete meets stone.)
2.) When horizontal surfaces meet vertical surfaces. (ie An exterior wall meets the sidewalk)
3.) When movement needs to be allowed between two surfaces that meet with a gap (Concrete pads, Expansion joints in walls, Decorative stone in a brick wall, etc.)
4.) When Existing Caulk joint is failing
While this is not the end all be all uses of Caulk, it will mostly be used in scenarios above. Lets move onto specific common places we use caulk.
Where to use Caulk
The most common places we use caulk are:
- Chimneys: Caulk can be used on chimneys to seal flashing, chimney crown or cap repair and more.
- Windows: Caulking windows is economical and just plain smart to do. Unsealed windows can let in drafts and weather that could damage the interior of your home. Do your windows need caulked? Examine the joint surround the window, if you notice any open holes or cracks in the caulking joint or the absence of a caulking joint altogether, then probably so. Call us today for a free estimate. 314-629-2283.
- Where foundations meet sidewalks: One of the most common places for basement water entry is the joint where a sidewalk, driveway, porch or patio meets a foundation. Water makes its way into that crack, down the wall and into your basement.
- Expansion joints: Expansion joints exist where movement is to be allowed on 2 meeting surfaces. It allows the two or more areas to shift with settling of the earth around it, without affecting the other surface directly next to it.
- Common places to find expansion joints are:
- Pool decks. Caulking pool decking is vital to keep the coping tile and brick from separating or damaging surrounding concrete as well as pool surfaces.
- Brick, Block, Stone and Other Masonry Walls. Expansion joints in vertical exterior walls are put in as measure for earthquakes, typically. This prevent sudden movement of a portion of the wall to have little or no effect on areas directly next to them.
- Concrete. Expansion joints exist on many concrete slabs, walks, patios and driveways. While concrete these days is sometimes poured with expansion boards, it is necessary to keep open joints through-out concrete surfaces sealed. We offer Expansion joint caulking services. Interested? We offer Free Estimates.
- Decorative stone and terra-cotta on exterior masonry walls: Limestone, clay terra-cotta, and other decorative stones on exterior brick walls should sometimes be caulked to allow independent movement to prevent damage to decorative pieces.
Why is caulk typically used.
Caulk is used to join two surfaces that are not of the same material and to allow movement between two surfaces to prevent damage from shifting or settling. It is flexible and most often the only material that can be used between dissimilar surfaces.
Types of Caulk:
The most common types of caulk we use and what we use them for.
- Silicone: We use silicone on windows, and other exterior surfaces or when we need a reliable long-lasting Clear solution. While latex caulk has more recently been offered in clear, silicone is the longer lasting, better choice, especially for outside uses.
- Latex: Windows and other exterior surfaces. Silicone is preferred, but latex works.
- Blends: Special blends of caulk (ie silicone+latex) are used here and there. Different blends have different specifications for use and is sometimes a reliable, more affordable solution to silicone.
- The picture to the left shows the application tools used for different ways to buy caulk. Caulk can be bought in common sized tubes, larger tubes, sausages, bulk style in 2 gallon and larger pails among other ways…
I hope you leave here having learned something from me, Talking about Caulking. If you have any additional questions about projects, services or would like to see a specific blog on a specific topic on anything industry related, give us a call, text or email. We’d be glad to hear from you!
By Jacob Thompson