10 Problems You Can Solve with Caulk

Caulk comes to the rescue in myriad projects around the house, from outdoor maintenance to indoor decorating. What makes this humble material so good at what it does? The rubbery substance, available in a variety of formulations, including silicone, latex, acrylic, butyl rubber, polyurethane, and construction adhesives, can bond to almost any material, making it wonderfully flexible for projects indoors and out. With the right can of caulk, you can solve just about any problem—starting with these 10 common issues.

  1. Defeat Drafts

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    Seal Drafts with Caulk

    Sealing leaks around doors and windows is the best way to reduce drafts, cut home energy costs, enhance your house's energy efficiency, and decrease your carbon footprint, according to the Consumer Federation of America. For this job, choose either acrylic latex (available on Amazon) or vinyl latex caulk (also available on Amazon). Acrylic latex works best in dry environments and will perform well for up to 15 years, while vinyl latex can be used in damp areas and lasts about five years.


    Related: 9 Energy-Saving Home Upgrades That Pay for Themselves

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  2. Beat Bugs…And Other Pests

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    Seal Concrete and Mortar with Caulk

    Concrete and mortar repair caulk (available on Amazon) is an excellent tool for sealing cracks and gaps in concrete, brick, stucco, stone, and metal. Similarly, it's perfect for repairing small fissures in foundations and basement walls that allow insects, rodents, and other pests to enter your home. Designed for both interior and exterior use, concrete and mortar repair caulk has a textured finish and can be painted once dry.

    Related: 10 Reasons Bugs Love Your Home

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  3. Work with Wood

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    Caulk Baseboards

    No matter how carefully you measure and cut, you often end up with little gaps between, above, and below moldings and baseboards. When you need to close the gap, acrylic latex caulk is ideal for filling in those small spaces. The product dries quickly and can be painted as soon as six to eight hours after application. Acrylic latex also comes in a variety of different pigments, so you can match the color to the surrounding material.

    Related: 20 Insanely Easy 60-Minute Home Improvements

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  4. Touch Up the Tile

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    Caulk Tiles

    Never out of style in kitchens and bathrooms, tile has endured through the decades. Over time, however, small spaces can open up between tiles, and in moist environments that's an invitation for mold and mildew to gather behind the walls. There are several types of caulk that can be used in such situations. Ideal for wet environments, 100 percent silicone caulk and siliconized acrylic caulk form a durable, watertight seal. Mold- and mildew-resistant silicone caulk is made for nonporous surfaces like ceramic, glass, and metal, while waterproof siliconized acrylic caulk works well on tubs, tile, glass, and ceramic tile surfaces. This Gorilla Glue sealant, available on Amazon, is ideal to use since it is 100 percent silicone, waterproof, and mold and mildew resistant.

    Related: 8 Ways to Mildew-Proof Your Bathroom

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  5. Prepare to Paint

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    Painter’s Caulk

    When you need to cover small holes and tiny cracks prior to painting, painter’s caulk, an acrylic latex compound, is just what you need. Painter’s caulk (available at The Home Depot) adheres to wood, drywall, masonry, and other surfaces. And because it dries to a paintable texture in about an hour, it's a good choice for busy DIYers.

    Related: 10 Unusual Tricks for Your Easiest-Ever Paint Job

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  6. Seal and Protect

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    Fireproof Caulk

    A specialized type of caulk—fireproof caulk—does more than patch holes. It actually helps make your home safer by preventing fire from moving through open spaces within a structure. Fireproof caulk (available from The Home Depot) can be used to seal holes, gaps, and cracks around holes in interior framing, especially around plumbing or electrical conduits.

    Related: 11 Common Causes of House Fires and How to Prevent Them

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  7. Stick It Good

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    Adhesive Caulk

    When a length of molding falls off, a corner of carpet comes up, or a tile comes loose, it's good-old all-purpose caulk that can fix it. Dab a little behind the loose material, then stick it back into place. You can even use all-purpose caulk (available on Amazon) to install wood paneling without nails!

    Related: Get Your Fix: 20 Easy DIY Repairs for Every Part of Your Home

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  8. Rescue the Wallpaper

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    Use Caulk for Wallpaper

    Even professional decorators are sometimes stumped by wallpaper, but a little old-fashioned caulking can come to the rescue in a pinch. To keep wallpaper from pulling up as it dries, run caulk along all trimmed paper seams, especially in the corners, then smooth with a wet sponge or finger to remove any surface imperfections. For old wallpaper jobs that are starting to peel away from the wall, simply lift up the loose section and apply adhesive caulk under the paper, then smooth the paper back against the wall. Once the adhesive dries, apply another bead of caulk along the seam to keep it from peeling up again.

    Related: 12 Photos That Prove Wallpaper Still Wows

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  9. Fix the Roof

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    Roof Repair with Caulk

    With the right caulk, you can even repair a roof! Roof repair caulk can be used to seal small cracks or gaps along roof edges, between shingles, and around skylights or flashing. As you might expect, roof repair caulk (available from Lowe's) is completely weatherproof and waterproof, and can be used on wet or dry surfaces.

    Related: 7 Signs You Need a New Roof

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  10. Keep Gutters Flowing Free

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    Use Caulk on Gutters

    As gutters age, they can develop cracks and gaps, especially around joints and downspout junctions. Butyl rubber caulk (available from Amazon), a strong waterproof sealant, can be used to seal joints in those damaged gutters. Dab a little onto the cracks to make your gutters leak-free and keep rainwater flowing out and away from your home.

    Related: 15 Cheap Home Repairs That Could Save You Thousands

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  11. See the House of the Week

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    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!