Best Decorators Caulk on the Market

Updated May 14, 2024 | Posted Aug 14, 2023 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 2 comments

There was once a time when it didn’t really matter which decorators caulk you used on a job, because it all pretty much did the same thing. You’d squeeze it into a gap, smooth it off, wait an hour and then paint over it. You’d get good results every time.

However, now things are a little more complicated. Formula changes in both paint and caulk (mostly driven by cost cutting) have meant that if you now use a bad quality caulk, or the wrong process, then you’ll experience problems such as crazing and discolouring.

There are steps you can take to avoid these problems, which include priming the caulk before painting over with a finish-product. Or cutting down on the amount of decorators caulk used in a gap. However, the easiest way to avoid problems is to just use a good quality caulk. To that end, I thought I’d put a quick guide together on the best decorators caulk products available.

The Best Decorators Caulk to Use


As a Painter and Decorator, I’ve been using caulk for many years and I’ve tried loads. I’m going to recommend 3 or 4 products, then we’ll have a loot at what other Decorators have to say.


HB42 Caulk


No messing around, HB42 is officially the best decorators caulk on the market according to Professional Decorators on an online forum. It’s probably my favourite caulk too. It’s reasonably priced (which makes its performance ever more impressive). It’s easy to use, widely available, can be used inside or out, and you won’t experience any crazing or discolouration when you paint over it.

I love this caulk, and it’s one I use on a regular basis. It reminds me of how caulk used to be before we started experiencing problems all the time. It’s just easy and hassle free. I fully recommend.

Dunlop Caulk


This is a caulk that I personally didn’t like, but other Decorators seem to love it, and I can see where they’re coming from. I’m not a fan because I find it difficult to apply. It’s quite soft and loose, so you can’t apply too much at once or it will go everywhere. It can be a little bit messy at the best of times. 

However, the plus points of using Dunlop are all centred around its paintability. You can paint over this caulk in less than an hour with basically any emulsion or trim paint and you will never have so much of a sniff at a problem.

OneTime Rec Devil

This is an old favourite for me, simply because it works well outside and seems to last. It feels dryer than the other caulk products on this list, so don’t overwork it on application or it will bead up. However, applying thick beads is relatively easy to do without creating a mess. You won’t see any crazing, however I have noticed a little bit of discolouration when I have painted over the caulk with emulsion.

XPRO StixSeal Ultra Strong Sealant & Trade Adhesive


This is a little bit of a wild card, simply because XPRO StixSeal isn’t technically a Decorators Caulk, although you can use it as caulk. It’s an adhesive, sealant and caulk in one. This makes it perfect for use in bathrooms, around windows, or the outside of your home.

Its adhesion qualities are great for a few reasons. If, say your skirting boards have cracked around the top because they are starting to become loose, XPRO StixSeal will stick them back into place as you caulk them. It fixes two problems at once.

It’s also very flexible, which makes it great for caulking stair stringers etc, where you experience a lot of movement. There are other products like this on the market, but XPRO seems the easiest to use.




What is the best brand for caulking?

As a Professional Decorator, I use a few different brands of decorators caulk. However, most decorators would say that HB42 caulk stands out as the best caulk on the market.


What is the difference between decorators caulk and caulk?

It’s the same thing.


How do I stop my decorators caulk from cracking?

There are different measures you can take to stop paint cracking over caulk. You might go for a good-quality caulk. Another way is to use a flexible paint like acrylic eggshell. Or, you can apply a barrier coat of Zinsser Peel Stop over your caulk before painting. Click here for a guide on painting over caulk.


Do you caulk before or after painting?

You should prime every surface and sand where needed. Then do you caulking, before cracking on with the rest of the painting.


Can I use polyfilla instead of caulk?

You can, but it’s a poor substitute. Filler is trickier to apply, hard to get an even consistency, and then you need to sand it. In comparison, caulk is quick and easy.


Can caulk fill big gaps?

For bigger gaps we normally fill with expanding foam or/and flexible filler. Then sand, dust, and paint, before applying a bead of caulk.


Does decorators caulk go hard?

No. It cures over time but retains its flexibility.


Can you leave decorators caulk unpainted?

You can, but it will discolour over time. You might be better opting for acrylic sealant if you need to leave some exposed.


Final Thoughts


They are my recommendations on the best decorators caulk products. If you have been experiencing problems with yours, then switch to one of the above products and everything should go a lot smoother. I know I talk about four products on this list, but you won’t go far wrong sticking with HB42 or XPRO StixSeal.

If you already have a load of cheap decorators caulk and you don’t want to waste it, then you could try priming it with acrylic primer before painting with your finish product. This will avoid crazing and discolouring. If you already have crazing then try priming your crazed caulk with Zinsser Peel Stop.

What Other Decorators Think?

This is a poll on a forum of Professional Decorators. HB42 got around four times as many votes as the next leading brand.

best painters caulk

Professional Decorators


Den Braven is my usual choice, but it depends on what you’re doing with it. Caulk is only a problem with water-based finishes or emulsion paints. I dare say you could use any caulk if using oil-based.

John Swinton

Professional Decorator

Fat Hog Caulk used to be good until they messed around with the formula. Now it seems clunky when you use it.

Ste Saxon

Professional Decorator

I would say HB42 is the best general caulk on the market. You can use it anywhere and it has great flexibility. I get mine from Crown Decorating Centre.

It does everything that an expensive caulk does, but it’s off the shelf and fairly cheap.

Joe Milner

Professional Decorator

HB42 in Action

Mike Cupit recommends what he thinks is the best caulk on the market.

Updated May 14, 2024 | Posted Aug 14, 2023 | 2 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. David Crossman

    I use Stixall now most of the time. Seems same as Stixseal for half the price. Using as a caulk and/or adhesive means less products to carry around.
    I try and leave it overnight before painting and have never had a problem.

  2. Phil

    I’ve been using Isomat Isomatic caulk for a number of years now. Not too thick, not too lose and doesn’t cause any issues when painting over. Get it in a box of 24 and it works out a couple of quid a tube.


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