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Caulk Failure

DESCRIPTION
Loss of caulk's initial adhesion and flexibility, causing painted caulk to crack and/or pull away from the surfaces to which it is applied.
POSSIBLE CAUSES
  • Use of lower-quality caulk.
  • Use of wrong type of caulk for particular application (e.g., using latex or vinyl caulk in areas where there is prolonged contact with water or considerable movement of the caulked surfaces).
  • Not properly preparing or priming the surface prior to caulking.
  • Applying too thin of a bead of caulk.
SOLUTIONS
Use a top-quality, water-based, all acrylic, or siliconized acrylic caulk or sealant if prolonged contact with water is not anticipated. These caulks are flexible enough to adapt to minor fluctuations in the substrate (e.g. the surface that has been caulked), stretching in gaps that widen slightly over time. They also adhere to a wide range of interior building materials, including wood, ceramic tile, concrete, glass, plaster, bare aluminum, brick, and plastic.

Proper surface preparation requires a clean surface; remove all surface contamination, old cracked or brittle caulk, loose or peeling paint. In most cases, the surface should be primed to give the caulk a good surface to adhere to and to prevent the substrate from absorbing the liquid out of the caulk, which may cause improper drying and performance of the caulk.

Note: Pure silicone caulk should not be painted.

When using semi-transparent finishes, caulks will be visible. Where possible, use a colored caulk to reduce this visibility.