Although caulks are incredibly useful, do you have any idea about when not to use caulks? Caulks are multi-purpose filling and sealing compounds in a syringe type applicator that can be used for filling cracks, gaps and sealing. Different formulations are available for the variety of jobs to which caulks can be used; ranging from outdoors mortar repairs to indoors plaster work.
One golden rule for when not to use a caulk is never use a caulk formulated for indoors on an outdoor job. The caulk simply won’t be weather proof and will soon deteriorate, probably making the repair you made worse. The following are some specific times that you shouldn’t use caulk, or at least rely solely on a caulk to do the job for you.
Using Caulks Safely
Some caulks, formulated for specific jobs, can contain chemicals that are harmful or even poisonous. These caulks are either intended for use outside, in well ventilated spaces or by workers with protective breathing equipment. So, especially if you haven’t got protective breathing equipment and you’re working indoors in a confined space – don’t use a caulk but prepare a traditional mixture to make the repair of finishing off that job you need to do.
Another point to be wary of when using caulks is that a caulk containing an organic solvent may well emit flammable fumes before it has dried, so don’t work near naked flames.
As an Adhesive
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a caulk as an adhesive and, even for fixing wallboards, you can get caulks formulated to ‘stick’ them with. Using caulk on its own to fix wallboards to an existing brick or stone wall should be fine – but you shouldn’t rely on a caulk to stick your wallboards to stud-work, or a timber frame.
Quite simply you won’t be able to spread enough caulk onto the timbers to provide a large enough adhesive area for the wall board to truly stick to. So, if you do use, or have used, caulk to stick wallboards on to a timber frame, then you should also nail or screw them into position for a job that will stay in place.
Using a caulk for all manner of things is very tempting bearing in mind that you don’t have to mix anything yourself and that for some people caulks are incredibly easy to handle and work with. However, they are intended for repairing gaps and cracks – rather than being capable of supporting any weight or load.
Subsequently, using a caulk to re-point brickwork would be acceptable, though not the preferred method, but using caulk to fill in mortar completely missing from brickwork, or even worse missing bricks themselves, is a classic example of when not to use a caulk. Instead you must mix proper mortar and re-point or replace bricks properly. Needless to say a caulk should never be used to fill a gap or crack in a metal or timber structure or materials supporting another structure.
Working with Caulk
For some DIY home enthusiasts using caulks comes as second nature to them; however, for other DIY enthusiasts using the syringe device to apply the caulk can be a complete nightmare. Cutting the nozzle at the wrong angle, cutting the nozzle too thickly or thinly; not to mention trying to apply equal pressure throughout the process of repairing a gap or crack. Quite simply using a traditional material such as a filler or mortar is easier for them and they will make a neater and cleaner job by not using a caulk.