The Family Handyman - - BEST PRO TIPS -

These types of caulk dom­i­nate the shelves at home cen­ters. La­bels don’t al­ways tell you what’s in the tube, so we’ve in­cluded ex­am­ples of each type in this ar­ti­cle. But there are many more brands than the ones we show. All are avail­able in var­i­ous col­ors and paintable.

Acrylic La­tex: $2 to $5

Acrylic la­tex caulks are the eas­i­est to ap­ply and smooth out. They’re also the only sealants that clean up with wa­ter. Look for ver­sions la­beled “sil­i­conized” or “plus sil­i­cone.” Adding sil­i­cone to acrylic la­tex im­proves ad­he­sion and flex­i­bil­ity.

Polyurethane: $6

Poly caulks are gen­er­ally tougher than other sealants, mak­ing them a good choice for drive­ways and other ar­eas that take a beat­ing. But their gooey con­sis­tency makes them hard to work with. Check the la­bel be­fore paint­ing; you may have to wait sev­eral days.

Sol­vent-Based: $6 to $9

Many sol­vent-based caulks are great for roof­ing be­cause they don’t de­grade in di­rect sun­light and can be ap­plied to wet sur­faces. But they’re gooey and hard to ap­ply neatly.

Hy­brid: $7 and up

Most hy­brid caulks com­bine sil­i­cone and polyurethane for top-notch ad­he­sion, flex­i­bil­ity and longevity. They’re eas­ier to ap­ply neatly than polyurethane, but not as easy as acrylic la­tex. Most aren’t la­beled “hy­brid,” so we’ve pointed out the hy­brids in the var­i­ous pho­tos. Cost is a clue: High-qual­ity hy­brids are usu­ally the most ex­pen­sive caulks on the shelf.

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