What type of caulk should I use on exterior doors? | Brennan

What type of caulk should I use on exterior doors?

Keeping your home in good condition requires keeping up with several minor maintenance tasks. Re-applying caulk to parts of your home is one of those tasks. If you've been wondering what type of caulk to use on exterior doors and landed here, you're in the right place. 

Caulking on exterior doors serves a variety of functions. It helps to keep rain and moisture out of your home. It can also help to prevent drafts, which can help your HVAC system to work more efficiently. Caulking around exterior doors can even help to keep unwanted insects and other small critters out of your home. 

So, caulking around your exterior doors is an essential part of home maintenance. Now let's take a closer look at what kinds of caulk there are. 

Factors that determine the type of caulk you should use

  1. Material
  2. Climate
  3. Sunlight

Many things might determine the type of caulk you need to use. 

One is the material of the door frame. Different doors and door frames like wood, metal, and vinyl all work best with specific types of caulking. 

Then there's the climate in your area. Some areas, like those close to the ocean, have high levels of salt in the air. Excess salt can affect the lifespan of your caulking. 

Finally, there's sunlight. Direct sunlight on any material - including caulking - can affect the product's longevity. So you might need to choose a UV-stable product.

Types of caulk for house exteriors

If you are planning to caulk or re-caulk your exterior door, the best thing you can do is speak to a professional at your local hardware store. Or to the people who supplied your door(s) (if you know who they are). Manufacturers often have different recommendations for their products, and it's always best to defer to those. 

Some of the caulking you might need to use for your exterior doors include:

  • Exterior Latex Caulk
  • Exterior Acrylic Latex Caulk
  • Exterior Silicone Caulk
  • Exterior Polyurethane Caulk
  • Butyl Rubber Exterior Caulk

Which caulk is right for your project?

There are many different factors to consider when choosing caulk for your exterior door caulking project. Let's look at some of them. 

  1. Durability
  2. Usability
  3. Color

The first thing you want to consider is durability. Some types of caulk harden as they dry, which could make them crack and shrink over time. Other types stay somewhat malleable for a lot longer, which might make them better suited for some projects. The quality of the caulk matters, too. If you buy a cheaper product, you can expect to do this job again sooner. So choose a product that has a longer estimated lifespan. 

Next is usability. Some kinds of caulking come with easy-to-use applicators, so you can complete the job quickly and with less mess. Also, be aware that some caulk sets and dries quickly — this can make it challenging to finish the job well. Expertly applying caulk takes practice — pros can make it look easy. Still, it took practice for them to learn how to apply quick-drying caulk properly. 

Color is a significant factor too. While white or even transparent caulking work for most projects, you might want to choose a different color to match your door or trim. Look for fade-resistant options; otherwise, the color that looks great now might look strange in a few months! Oh, and don't forget to give your caulk time to dry before you decide you don't like how it looks. Sometimes the color will change as the caulk dries.

Caulk for exterior doors

Even if you choose the best quality caulking for your doors, all caulking eventually wears down and needs to be replaced. Fortunately, it's a relatively simple process and one that most people can do as a weekend DIY project.

Caulking dos and don'ts

While caulking is simple, there are several things you could do that could make the job a lot trickier. Here are some easy-to-use tips to get it done right:

  • Make sure you clean all the old caulking off before you start - if you try to add more over the top, you'll create an even bigger problem.
  • Use gloves when you work with caulking — it's a very sticky product and hard to get off your hands!
  • Tackle this task in old clothing for the same reason — if you get any caulking on your clothes, you might not get it out!
  • Make sure that the caulking surface is clean and dry before you start — even dust on your door could mean the caulking won't adhere properly.
  • Work as fast as you can — caulking starts to set quite quickly. To get a nice finish, you need to move carefully and efficiently.

Caulking exterior doors is a job most homeowners will need to do at least a few times. Luckily, it's not difficult, and it can even be a nice weekend DIY project. Make sure you use quality products and always follow the manufacturer's directions for the best results.

Brennan
Brennan
Published
August 11, 2022
Updated
August 14, 2022

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