Decorators Caulk review by Lewis Harrington

Updated Jun 24, 2024 | Posted Sep 18, 2018 | Product Advice

I was kindly sent some samples of Allpro caulk to try by Steve Murphy of  London dec merchants, I’ve done a test a alongside some regular trade caulks that I had lying around and the results are in!

In the test I have compared Fat Hog Premium, Dulux, Allpro Quick 2 Coat, Allpro Pro Stretch, Repair Care Dry Seal MP and Geocel Contractor’s Caulk. I knocked together on a sample board of ply and some timber offcuts and ran a thick bead of each product along the top of the timbers.

The crazing issue with caulk is effectively the same as mud cracking (like in a dried up river bed), whereby the product forms a skin on the outside (dried paint) but underneath is still soft. Therefore it makes sense that the least flexible and most brittle paints are more likely to cause the most problems with cracking. So in the test I overpainted with Armstead Contract Matt, which is not only as notoriously inflexible as a dried up dog turd but has also caused me the most issues in the past with the caulk cracking conundrum.

I left all products to dry for about 4 hours (except one sample of Allpro Q2C as it says it can be overpainted in 30 mins) then painted up with one coat of Armstead CM and left to dry overnight. Here’s my findings.

FAT HOG PREMIUM CAULK REVIEW

Fat Hog Premium is possibly the worst decorators caulk I’ve ever used in terms of application. I found it very thin and watery, so make sure you have a damp cloth handy to wipe your hands, or it will get messy.

It doesn’t tool well, even when wetted and most tubes seem to have lumps of crap in them. I was actually disappointed that there wasn’t more crazing so that I could write it off altogether. However, this wasn’t the case. As you can see from the photo, there was very little crazing over a very thick bead.

So, Fat Hog Premium caulk may be a pain to use, but it performs fairly well once applied.

DULUX DECORATORS CAULK REVIEW

This performed a lot better than Fat Hog caulk for application, thicker and smoother when tooling off. This means application is quicker and less messy.

As expected, there was quite a lot of cracking with Dulux Decorators Caulk. More so than with Fat Hog. I did expect this to be honest, as Dulux is cheaper than Fat Hog, and has a bit of a bad reputation.

dulux decorators caulk review

Allpro QUICK 2 COAT REVIEW

First observations are that it comes in a smaller tube which contains less product, not a big deal if the product is a lot better of course. The cartridges have a fixed nozzle, so if you cut the wrong size then you’re stuck with it. Again not really a big deal, just worth pointing out that you can’t change the nozzle. The product states 50 years durability, which seems a bit optimistic given that it’s durability is ultimately going to be determined by the substrate that it’s applied to.

In terms of application I really liked it, thick and tooled off to a nice smooth finish.

Very, very minimal cracking when painted 4 hours later, I’m sure if the bead was slightly thinner or I’d have waited slightly longer then it wouldn’t have cracked.

It also states that it can be brushed over in 30 minutes and sprayed over immediately, I didn’t fancy priming up the sprayer for the test so I waited 30 minutes and brushed one side which had formed a skin after that time, it did crack.

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Allpro PRO STRETCH REVIEW

Again, this decorators caulk has a smaller cartridge and fixed nozzle. Livery states lifetime durability, which makes the 50-year Q2C seem paltry. Unless of course the applicator dies when they’re 40, in which case Q2C wins. It’s slightly thinner than Q2C, but thicker than Dulux, tooled well and was nice to apply. Unfortunately, it did crack, just slightly less than Dulux.

Allpro PRO STRETCH decorators caulk

REPAIR CARE DRY SEAL MP REVIEW

Bit of a wildcard here as it’s not a caulk, although I do often use it as a sealant and not just as a putty alternative. At about 10x the cost of a tube of caulk it’s not really viable to use all the time. Also, quite tricky to apply and tool being so thick, although I can confirm there is absolutely no crazing whatsoever. This could be a viable alternative to caulk, and a product I’m happy to include in my review.

Repair Care also manufacture a range of external fillers which I love. Click here to see online prices.

GEOCEL CAULK REVIEW

The old classic, I only had some in brown to hand but it’s just the same as white caulk and it’s always been. Fine to apply and tool, so you’ll find this caulk product easy enough to use. But, just like every other time I’ve painted over with a brittle paint like contract matt The Geocel crazed like, well, crazy.

This is the worst caulk on the review and one that has failed on me a few times in my career as a professional painter. One to avoid I’m afraid.

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The other factor when you experience problems with caulk is the paint, rather than the caulk itself. As mentioned in the first section of my blog, the more flexible the paint, the less likely it is to craze. Contract and vinyl matt emulsions are the most likely culprits, whereas soft sheen and eggshell, or trim paints tend to avoid issues all together.

I hope you found my decorators caulk review useful.

For more information on why paint cracks and crazes over caulk click here.

For a wide variety of online caulks you may want to check out The Decorating Centre Online.

Blog written by Lewis Harrington – Professional Painter and Decorator

Updated Jun 24, 2024 | Posted Sep 18, 2018

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.
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