Caulk vs. Sealant

Caulk is any low quality or intermediate compound with a limited service life of 3 – 5 years. Some examples include Acrylic Latex, Butyl, Butyl Rubber, Co-polymers, Putty, etc.

A sealant is a high-performance compound with a longer service life of 7 – 15 years. It typically offers high-quality ingredients, little shrinkage, and excellent weathering and UV resistance.

Sealant and caulk both have their place in the industry and sometimes serve a similar action. Here are just a few of the most common uses:

  • Filling a void between walls or joints in a building’s exterior envelope.
  • Preventing water from intruding in joints or gaps.
  • Accommodate movement where two surfaces are made to expand and contract.
  • Acoustic control.

Sealants are probably the least considered material, and add the lowest percentage to a project cost. However, sealants can become the biggest problem if the building starts to leak. Water can do detrimental things when it gets into areas it’s not supposed to be. When it freezes, it can move walls, cause doors and windows to become difficult to open/close and raise and lower grade which can cause endless issues.

The number one reason sealants fail is connected to improper preparation. Dirt, debris and other variables can easily cause the sealant to improperly adhere, resulting in premature failure. Below you will see where the sealant has failed to adhere on one side of the joint.

There are many options out there and finding the right one can be overwhelming. Holland Roofing is always available to discuss your project and ensure you are buying the correct products. If you’re looking to invest in waterproofing your exterior or repair failing areas on your building, contact us for a free inspection and proposal.

Want to know what’s right for you? Check out the graph below to learn more.


1=Not recommended, 2=poor, 3=good, 4=excellent

This information was provided by SikaSarnafil and you can learn more by visiting their website at www.usa.sika.com