The ultimate caulk/paint compatibility test

Updated May 20, 2024 | Posted Sep 2, 2019 | Product Reviews, Sundries | 4 comments

Now if you are reading this, it’s most probably because you have had a problem with caulk. Whether it’s cracked or discoloured, It’s frustrating. That is why I have researched and wrote this blog, outlining the ultimate caulk compatibility test I carried out. A lot of people presume the problem lays with the caulk alone, but it’s actually the paint that is the problem.

It’s all down to the chemical makeup of the paint that is applied over the caulk. Hopefully this compatibility test will help you find the best decorators caulk to use.

 

Why is caulk cracking?

 

Caulk absorbs moisture from the paint, making it expand. The paint film dries first, then as the caulk dries it contracts, pulling the paint film apart. Another factor may be the caulk not being totally dry, the same thing happens again

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Why has caulk changed the colour of paint?

 

Almost 95% of all the water-based acrylic sealants in the market contain plasticizers, and these plasticizers can migrate into the paint discolouring it. Depending on the binder and filler type of paint, it may or may not happen.

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The Caulk Compatibility Test

 

I decided to test “off the shelf” trade vinyl matt products, all tinted similar to the Dulux colour ‘Polished Pebble’, although some came out slightly different. I put these against every caulk I could pick up from each merchant. I conducted the test on an MDF board primed white. I applied each caulk in even beads vertically, smoothed it out and left for 24 hours to dry. I then put a horizontal line of each paint crossing each caulk, 2 coats with 6 hours between coats. You would think that a material such as caulk would hold up when painted without any issues. Asfter all, that’s what it’s designed to do!! Let’s see how I got on…

The ultimate caulk paint compatibility test

The results

These where completely different to what I was expecting…

See for yourself.

The ultimate caulk paint compatibility test

So, it turns out the best “off the shelf” caulk for not cracking with other paints is Brewers Ultimate, Followed 2nd by Fat Hog standard, however that one did discolour.

The best paint was Albany which only very slightly cracked on some caulks. I found that caulks that discoloured, did so with every paint. One thing to note, the caulk lines were thick and smoothed out on a flat board, rather than an internal corner. So, this test may of exaggerated the pull on the paint when contracting due to bigger surface tension. Meaning the ones that “slightly cracked” you may get away with on a small bead. I have done a video below to show you the results.

 

I hope it will help you find the best decorators caulk to use on your own jobs.  If you found it useful, why not check out the Decorators Forum UK for more great content.

The Ultimate caulk/paint Compatibility Test!!

Updated May 20, 2024 | Posted Sep 2, 2019 | 4 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Gregory is a Professional Painter and Decorator who works in the Northwest of England. He mainly sub-contracts for large decorating firms and works on a wide variety of projects.

4 Comments

  1. Mike

    Outstanding 👌

    Reply
    • Mia watson

      Really good test here. I use alot of brewers premium which I thought wasnt and but now I’m going to get brewers ultimate and give it a whirl.
      Most helpful 👍

      Reply
      • Mia watson

        *edited
        Thought brewers premium wasnt to bad..but now will try ultimate!

        Stupid predictive text on phone !!!!!

        Reply
  2. Stuart Crofts

    The most comprehensive and needed experiment I’ve seen on caulk and it’s interactions with wall paints. Thanks for putting this info out there. Interesting that the cheaper paints don’t crack on the caulk, perhaps pointing to better quality ingredients in the higher priced paints which are superior on the wall but not on the caulk

    Reply

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