Types Of Bathroom Caulk – Keep Your Showers & Bathtubs Sealed

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woman caulking shower to prevent mildew
Caulking shower is a relatively easy DIY bathroom project

It is important to caulk the shower to keep the bathroom free of mold and mildew. You can keep your bathroom fresh and clean without the help of professionals, even if you don’t have special skills. It’s a pretty easy job to do, as long as you have the right type of caulk. You’ll also need a good caulk gun.

A lot of caulks are made of pure silicone, although there are acrylic caulks, as well as acrylic blends. Acrylic does stick better and longer. However, it is harder to place, and even harder to remove if you need to recaulk. You’ll need to use mineral spirits to clean it up. 

Both silicone and acrylic caulks will wear out over time. When this happens, you have to clean up and mildew or mold which might have grown. The old caulk needs to be removed before placing a new one, too.

shower caulk with mildew
Nasty shower caulk with mildew and mold.

Two Main Types of Caulk Material

Silicone Caulk

Silicone caulk is becoming more popular because it has excellent sealing properties. It’s particularly great for showers. If you shower is leaking and has mildew problems, using silicone caulk can solve your issues. You can use this caulk to repair all areas of the shower without too many challenges. It can be applied easily and directly, and it doesn’t take too long for it to work right away.

Even professionals prefer silicone caulk because of the ease of control that it affords you. If you need to apply caulk to your shower directly, silicone is the way to go. You can apply it accurately and exactly where you need it. You’ll also get to use just the right amount of caulk instead of placing gobs of caulk and eyeballing the job. There’s no guesswork involved with silicone caulk.

10.1 Oz Cartridge White Bath Silicone Caulk

Acrylic Caulk

Acrylic is the more commonly used type of caulk. More people use it because it is cheaper, so it doesn’t hurt the bank when you have repairs that need attention. You can find this in most department stores and hardware stores, too. There are varieties of acrylic caulk, but in general, the performance of acrylic caulk isn’t as good as that of silicone caulk.

The main selling point of this type is its affordability. It is practical for the short term since you can achieve the same results for far less money — the only downside is that it won’t last as long as if you repaired the problem using silicone caulk. Over time, you’re likely going to see chaps, flakes, and cracks in the caulking site.

Hyde 09971 Caulk Repair, Fast Dry Interior, Acrylic, White 2.8 oz.
Hyde 09971 Caulk Repair, Fast Dry Interior, Acrylic (Image: Amazon)

Different Types Of Bathroom Caulk 

High-Performance Caulk

As the name suggests, high-performance caulk is a great investment because it lasts for a very long time. You won’t need to worry about when you need to perform recaulking, or when it’s going to give out and give way to leaks and drips in the shower. High-performance caulk keeps things looking good and working the way they should for a very long time. In this case, quality is the name of the game.

Sashco Big Stretch Acrylic Latex High Performance Caulking Sealant, 10.5 oz Cartridge, Woodtone
Sashco Big Stretch Acrylic Latex High-Performance Caulking (Image: Amazon)

Caulk taking a long time to dry? – read here.

Mold and Mildew Resistant Caulk

Gorilla 8050002 Clear 100% Silicone Sealant, 10 oz, 1-Pack
Gorilla mold and mildew resistant caulk

This type of anti-fungal bathroom caulk contains fungicides or mildewcides that help prevent the growth of mold and mildew, this is especially useful for bathtubs and shower stalls where constant moisture causes the growth of mildew. Some consumers question the safety of using of biocides and there’s really no guarantee that these will totally prevent mold but this is a popular type of caulk.

All-Weather Caulk

This type of caulk is quite costly, but it is really effective in protecting and sealing showers. If you’re an average joe, it might not be practical to spend a lot to get this kind of caulking. If budget is an issue, then you might want to look at other options. But if you don’t mind paying a higher price for good quality sealing, then you won’t regret this option. Plus, it works even if the temperatures are below zero.

Inject-TITE Epoxy - AWF All-Weather Formula Epoxy Acrylate - 9.3oz Cartridge
Inject-TITE Epoxy – AWF All-Weather Formula (Image: Amazon)

Sealant Caulk

The specific purpose of sealant caulk is to seal and keep moisture out. This type of caulk can be used in showers to keep the water from seeping into the other parts of the bathroom. The same applies to your bathtub. Eventually, the seals on the shower or tub degrade and wear out. Sealant caulk can efficiently repair these seals and keep your shower or tub working as usual.

Gorilla 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk, 2.8 ounce Squeeze Tube, Clear
Gorilla 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk (Image: Amazon)

Waterproof Caulk

The main reason why showers need caulking is to keep the moisture away. Over time, cracks form in the shower lining and lead to leaking, and worse – molds and mildew. Even if there’s just a small amount of water dripping down the shower, you can still experience the same problems.

Waterproof caulk solves this issue – seals the cracks and prevents future ones from forming. Using waterproof caulk is the extra step you’d want to take to make sure your shower lines are fortified even with daily exposure to water.

Gorilla Clear 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk, Waterproof and Mold & Mildew Resistant, 10 ounce Cartridge, Clear, (Pack of 1)
Gorilla Clear 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk, Waterproof (Image: Amazon)

Caulk Shower Strips

Caulk strips differ a little bit from the traditional caulk. You’ll need a caulk gun to install caulk where you need it – but with these strips, the job can get even easier. Think of it as adhesive tape, except that it’s made of caulk. Using these can be more efficient, and can create a more aesthetically pleasing outcome. There’s no doubt that it won’t be as durable and long-lasting as traditional caulk, though.

Tintvent Caulk Strip,Washable Adhesive Caulk Tape Self Waterproof Repair Tape for Bathtub Bathroom Kitchen Sink Basin Edge Shower Toilet Kitchen and Wall Mildew Sealing(2Inch Width x 33Feet Length)
Tintvent Caulk Strip (Image: Amazon)

Paintable Caulk

Almost everything in the home improvement and renovation game is customizable, so why not have caulk that’s paintable? You’ll find labeled caulks that are marketed as paintable, which means these are best used when you need to caulk near walls. In some cases, you would want to paint the walls surrounding the shower area. Caulking can overlap with the wall sometimes, and being able to paint these sections of caulk will allow you to let everything match.

GE M90026-30 Paintable Silicone Supreme Window & Door Sealant Caulk, 10.1oz, White
GE M90026-30 Paintable Silicone Sealant (Image: Amazon)

Colored Caulk

Now, if you don’t like the idea of painting caulk, you can go for this option. Colored caulk is available in different hues, and is perfect for making caulk look as seamless and natural as possible when placed near walls and against the shower. Almost every color is available, so you can find one that matches your decor perfectly.

Sashco Exact Color Custom Colored Caulk - DIY Kit (9.5-Ounce, Single Pack)
Sashco Exact Color Custom Colored Caulk – DIY Kit (Image: Amazon)

P.S.: If you need caulk for mold or mildew, check out the Best Caulk to Prevent Mold and Mildew!

Additional reading – Caulk vs Grout

Can you caulk over grout?