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Caulk Buying Guide

So what is caulk anyway? There are several caulk types depending on whether you project is interior or exterior and involves concrete, gutters, moulding, roof, windows, plumbing or other uses. Learn about silicone and latex caulk and how to choose the best caulk for bathroom or kitchen use.


Why Caulk?

Caulk is used to fill cracks or gaps around windows, doors, plumbing and pipes to prevent water, bugs or air from entering your home.

Watch our Video: How to Use Caulk

Caulk Types

Most caulks are composed of latex or silicone. Many companies now make caulks that are combinations of latex and silicone. They are often marketed as "siliconized latex" or "latex plus silicone." These products offer the ease of use of latex with the added durability of silicone.

Caulk comes in two forms: a cartridge or a squeeze tube. A cartridge and caulk gun gives a more continuous bead than a squeeze tube, which is better for small projects. Cartridges typically have 9-11 ounces of caulk versus a squeeze tube, which has 3-6 ounces.

To help decide which one you need for your project, use our comparison chart.


Specialty Caulks

Specialty Caulk Chart

Beyond the latex-or-silicone decision, there are several specialty caulks to choose from - each designed for a particular task. While an all-purpose caulk might work sufficiently in many situations, the best results will always come from using a material that is designed for the specific conditions you have.

Refer to the chart to see which type of caulk you need for your project.

Other Caulk and Accessories

Caulk finishing tool
  • Caulk singles are good for easy touch-ups around the house, such as sealing shower tile or the kitchen sink.
  • Caulking cord comes in rolls and is used most often for weatherstripping windows and doors. Applied properly, it usually lasts one to two years.
  • A finishing tool will help you make a uniform bead, but once you get the hang of it, you might be able to do just as well with a wet finger. Practice on a piece of cardboard or a tucked-away area before tackling visible projects.
  • A caulk gun can come with nozzle cutters or a swing-out wire to puncture caulk tube seals. Choose a caulk gun that will accommodate the size caulk tube you'll use.


Because latex and some silicone caulk will take paint, you can use white caulk and paint it to match any place you're using it. When using silicone caulk that can't be painted, choose a color that most closely matches the surrounding area, or select clear for an unobtrusive look.