The Twelve Days of a Green Christmas…Ninth Day


…on the ninth day of Christmas my green friend gave to me…nine tubes of caulk, eight cotton socks, seven false roselle, six craft beers, five mutual shares, four smart bulbs, three bags of taters, two quarts of milk and a potted cypress tree!

My Green Friend and I had several conversations last year about my plans to paint my house in 2019 so nine tubes of different caulk is a great motivator! Many homeowners don’t pay attention to caulking but the purpose of caulking is to keep water out and prevent rotting. It also minimizes the air loss from the inside to outside and vice versa. Caulking my windows, doors and any cracks in the concrete block walls are not only going to keep water and air intrusion to a minimum but will make for a better paint job and add to my energy savings by leaving more green in my wallet! It only makes sense to buy the best and more expensive caulk for the exterior!

Winter or the cooler weather is a great time to caulk because the cooler, less humid weather opens cracks so the right amount of caulk can be applied. If you happen to live in Florida, as I do, the summers and fall can be too hot to work outside let alone trying to apply caulk or even painting!

Have you ever gone into a hardware store for caulk and been overwhelmed with the different caulk like me? Reading fine print on tube after tube is not my idea of fun so when my smart Green Friend presented me with nine tubes of caulk there was also a sheet telling me which caulk was for which job. Now that’s the kind of gift I can really appreciate!

There are four basic types of caulk with each type having variations…now how confusing is that? The label might say “exterior” but you want to make certain you get the best exterior caulk for the job so it seals out moisture/air and keeps the paint from cracking or peeling. Knowing the differences can help you select the best caulk for the job or when hiring a painter asking what type of caulk will be used.

  1. acrylic-latex-caulk
    Acrylic Latex Caulk
    Credit: Home Depot

    Acrylic-latex: this is the one I used to grab for every job because it cleans up with water, is easy to apply and was the least expensive. I thought caulk was caulk…what did I know? You might hear this also called “painters’ caulk” mainly used in interior painting. With the addition of silicone it adheres better and is more flexible and may be labeled “tub and tile” caulk which provides some moisture resistance. The more silicone the more water resistant.

  2. poly-solvent-based-caulk
    Polyurethane and solvent based caulk

    Polyurethane: these are tougher caulk than most which make them good for driveways and places that take a lot of beating but they are not easy to apply.

  3. Solvent-based: These caulk are good for caulking needed on the roof like plumbing vents. They hold up under direct sun much better than other caulk.
  4. Hybrid: The high quality hybrids are the most expensive caulk you will find on the shelves and may not even be labeled as “hybrid”.  They usually are a combination of silicone and polyurethane for the best adhesion, flexibility and longevity. They are easier to apply than straight polyurethane but not as easy as acrylic latex.

For exterior trim and siding the best choice of caulk would be polyurethane or a quality hybrid. Even though the application is a little more tedious it will be durable. For the cracks in my mid-century concrete block home my Green Friend gave me specialty concrete and masonry caulk which is a durable urethane type caulk. Since some of the seams in my gutters are leaking my Green Friend included a tube of  speciality 100% waterproof silicone caulk for my metal gutters. Plastic gutters may require a different waterproof caulk so be sure to read the label. While a siliconized acrylic latex caulk would be the easiest choice for my metal windows my green friend gifted me several tubes of regular clear silicone caulk which is the best option for the exterior of my windows. I will use the paintable acrylic-latex-silicone caulk I recently purchased for the interior side of the windows. Just caulking all my windows inside and out should make a big difference in my energy costs!

The education I received on different types of caulk from my Green Friend is priceless! By no means am I an expert but I can say from now on I will definitely choose the right caulk for the job so I won’t have to do it as often! If you are getting ready to do any painting be sure to spend the time and money doing the best prep work possible! If you are hiring a painter be sure to question him/her about their prep work to ensure the best job possible!

Thank you for joining me on the Ninth Day of a Green Christmas! If you’re curious about the history of the Twelve Days of Christmas or wonder what the reason is for my Twelve Days of a Green Christmas you can find that here. Join me tomorrow on the Tenth Day of a Green Christmas and see what my Green Friend gifts me…I’m sure it will be fun, educational, useful or possibly edible!




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