The process of sealing the seams of a shower enclosure with a waterproof sealant is called caulking. It is a preventive measure against shower leakage and is necessary to keep your bathroom mould-resistant. The caulking material or caulk is white in colour and has a squishy feel. When it comes to bathrooms, this material works as an adhesive and a sealant. Durability, easy application, and mildew and bacteria protection are few of the qualities that make for good caulk.
Popular Types of Caulk for Your Shower
There are various types of material available in the market for caulking your shower enclosure and bathtub, most of them being 100% silicone-made. Other options are made of acrylic or acrylic blends. Silicone is a preferred material because of its lasting nature but this also makes it very difficult to remove during recaulking.
Here are a few popular options:
1. 100% Pure Silicone Caulk
Silicone caulk or rubberized caulking is the most common sealant type and is perfect for slight leaks and mildew in your shower. It is a very popular choice because it is easy to apply, can fix all problem areas without any issue, and the rubbery feel stays with it forever making it perfect for handling the movements in the joints where others might crack.
However, the primary reason that it is preferred by the professionals is that it is easily controllable. Silicone caulk can be directly applied to your shower, and you do not need to use a lot of it as it allows a more precise application and reduces waste.
The other major factors are durability and water-resistance which makes it the better choice for showers, facets and any high-moisture area of your home. It is more resistant to heat and cold as well.
- Silicon caulk can be a bit more expensive than the other options. But if you consider its long-lasting impact, then you will see that it is worth your money.
- The material cannot hold paint, but you can apply a thin layer of siliconized acrylic latex to paint over it, or use an oil-based primer to solve the issue.
2. Acrylic Latex
This is an inexpensive, easy-to-use, all-purpose caulk that is useful for many types of applications, and it can be painted easily too. In general, the more popular choice because of the low expense, latex is perfect for high porous areas. Easy to clean (because latex is water soluble), and commonly available, this material is the perfect substitute for the silicone caulk. It even dries faster and among this list, is perhaps, the most resistant to mould. This type is more suitable for the interior applications, such as around the cracks, windows and door casings.
- However, it is not quite as effective against water as a 100% silicone though. For this very reason, it might not be the best option for your shower enclosure.
- It is not that costly, so you can always keep applying it to solve minor issues, but the problems like cracking and flaking will keep occurring frequently.
3. Latex or Acrylic Caulk with Silicone
Also known as the “painter’s caulk” and “tub and tile” caulk, this type is a hybrid. It bears resemblance to the acrylic latex, but is a more flexible option even though is not as flexible as a 100% silicone. It is a little more resistant to moisture than regular latex caulk, and due to the silicone, it is more durable. Perfect for places that require moderate waterproofing, it can be the perfect substitute for acrylic latex and makes painting over it very easy.
Even though the labels say it to be good against water, it will be better to just use it on the dry parts where the exterior remains protected by a paint coat. It is not a very effective caulking option and the professionals do not prescribe it.
4. PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate)
A very similar product to the acrylic latex, this caulking material is made from polyvinyl and has all the properties of it, like resistance to mould, durability, and heat resistance. PVA is a paintable option as well.
It not very water resistant and decays with time.
A Word of Caution
- Be careful when buying self-adhesive caulking strips instead of tube caulking. They are not at all effective and do not prevent water dripping.
- Avoid using exterior caulks in your shower or bathtub at all costs.
Finding the perfect sealant will keep your shower free from leakage, bacteria and mildew for a long time and retain the beauty of the enclosure. Whether you are caulking or recaulking, make sure to speak to an expert to understand which type of caulking is most suitable for what type of surface.