Caulk is probably one of the most useful when you are doing repairs anywhere around the house. It can help you reduce drafts from leaks around doors or windows, keep bugs away, seal and protect, and make two building materials stick. However, not letting it dry fully can lead to problems later on, so many people use fast-drying caulk. Choosing the right fast-drying caulk can help you reduce wait times while ensuring that the product stays in place for a very long time.
The right formulation of fast-drying caulk for you will largely depend on your needs. If you are looking for a fast-drying caulk that is flexible in terms of their use, you can’t go wrong with products such as DAP Alex Fast Dry, Red Devil Fast Dry Acrylic, Lexel, and Loctite Polyseamseal, among others.
Read on and find out how to choose the best fast-drying caulk available today, as well as all the things you should know about caulk, including the materials they work best with, their drying, and their curing times.
But First, What Does Fast-Drying Even Mean?
Fast-drying means that the caulk dries within an hour. Sometimes it can dry completely in as little as 30 minutes, depending on how well-ventilated or how humid the room is. This means that when you use a fast-drying caulk, it is dry to the touch within 30 minutes to one hour.
When caulk dries, it should be resistant to water, cracks, and shrinkage. However, you will need to wait 24 hours before you can be sure that it has fully cured or set. So, let the caulk dry and cure for that amount of time before you use the shower or get it wet. The wait will ensure that the caulk is fully waterproof before you run water over it.
It’s good advice to budget around three to 12 hours, even if you are using a fast-drying caulk. If you read the label, you’d find that the 30-minute to one-hour drying time advertised is achievable only in ideal conditions.
Factors That Can Affect Drying Time
When working with caulk, you should consider how different formulas react to moisture.
- Acrylic latex caulk dries when water evaporates from it. You can speed up the drying process by placing a fan in the room.
- Silicone caulk is the opposite; it needs moisture to dry. You might want to put a humidifier in the room if you want it to dry and cure faster.
- Polyurethane caulk needs around three to seven days before it is safe to expose it to water.
Further, drying time is affected by temperature. It’s best to apply caulk if the temperature is around 40°F to 80°F (4.4 to 26.7°C). Silicone caulk will also dry longer during the winter because of the lack of humidity in the air. On the other hand, latex freezes in extremely low temperatures.
Another factor that can affect drying time is how long the caulk has been in storage. Latex and silicone caulk will deteriorate over time, even if you keep them unopened in the tube. What’s more, polyurethane caulk expires within 12 months. It’s best to use fresh caulk just to be sure.
The Best Fast-Drying Caulk: Our Recommendations
So if you are looking for a fast-drying caulk, you can narrow down your search to these products.
1. Gorilla White 100-Percent Silicone Sealant and Caulk
Gorilla White 100-Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk is an all-purpose product that you can use to seal and caulk your bathtub, cracks, gaps, sidings, and trims. It even works on wood, vinyl, and painted surfaces.
This product is made with pure silicone, making it very flexible. Use it in the kitchen, on windows and doors, bath, car, marine, and gutters, among other places. It dries into a translucent white, and the company guarantees that it will not turn yellow over time. It’s also shrink- and crack-proof.
This Gorilla sealant and caulk are completely waterproof, making it ideal for both indoor and outdoor applications. It dries quickly, allowing for water contact in just 30 minutes. It is also resistant to mildew and molds.
- SEALS OUT WATER, AIR AND MOISTURE: Gorilla Waterproof...
- 30 MINUTE WATER READY: Can be exposed to water in as...
- MOLD & MILDEW RESISTANT: This long lasting sealant is...
- INDOOR/OUTDOOR: All Weather
However, note that you should not use this product on frozen, contaminated, damp, or wet surfaces. It’s also not ideal for underwater applications. If you need to seal or caulk masonry, cemented materials, or brick, look for another product.
This product also has an overpowering chemical smell when you first open the packaging. It can also fill your bathroom with that smell while it is drying. The plastic container that the caulk comes in is made with very poor quality plastic.
The good news is that the manufacturer also makes paintable caulk if that’s what you need.
2. DAP Alex Fast Dry White Caulk
Excellent for both indoor and outdoor use, the DAP Alex Fast Dry White Caulk can be expected to dry in 40 minutes. You only need water to clean up this paintable caulk.
It combines acrylic latex with silicone material. The manufacturer claims that it is very durable and can last up to 35 years. With its excellent adhesion and its resistance to mold and mildew, it is difficult to go wrong with it.
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However, you should know that this caulk does shrink and might be more prone to cracks.
3. Flex Shot Rubber Adhesive Sealant Caulk
Flex Shot Rubber Adhesive Sealant Caulk is a rubberized paste that can fill holes and cracks. This caulk leaves a watertight seal that is very flexible yet durable. If you do not have a caulking gun, do not fret. This product has an extra-long nozzle that will allow you to apply it easily.
Flex Shot expands and contracts, depending on the leak or hole you are repairing. Plus, it does not dissolve in water, so it stays where it is. This caulk will give your bathroom a fresh look without having to spend too much time.
- Caulks, bonds and seals virtually everything!
- No need for a caulking gun! The free extension tube...
- Gives you a perfect bead, every time. No running, no...
- Expands and contracts to fill in huge cracks and holes
You can also use this for your boat and RV, because of its water-repelling properties. This product may need anywhere from 24 to 48 hours to cure, but it already forms a skin within 20 minutes, keeping it safe from water as it sets.
It comes in almond, black, clear, and white.
4. Red Devil Fast Dry Acrylic Caulk
The Red Devil Fast Dry Acrylic Caulk uses both silicone and acrylic as its material. This makes it very easy to use and quick-drying. In 30 minutes, you can already paint over it.
This particular formula is geared towards the professional paint contractor. You do not have to wait too long for it to dry. You can clean it up with water. This caulk can resist shrinking, sagging, and cracking.
- PAINTABLE IN 30 MINUTES: Can be spray painted...
- NO PAINT FILM CRACKING: High flexibility caulk will not...
- INTERIOR & EXTERIOR USE: Can be used anywhere inside or...
- 40 YEAR DURABILITY: Provides a permanent repair. Made...
What’s more, you can use it on a wide variety of surfaces, including eaves, air conditioners, sinks, bathtubs, shower, leaders, sidings, baseboards, moldings, windows, and doors, among others.
It adheres to:
- Ceramic tile
- Laminated surfaces
5. Sashco Sealants Clear Lexel Adhesive Caulk
Lexel Adhesive Caulk can stick to almost anything. The company markets this product as the duct tape in the world of sealants because it can be used both indoors and outdoors. It adheres to most surfaces and works with:
- Metals, such as copper, silver, steel, brass, and aluminum
- Plastics, such as fiberglass, nylon, acrylic sheet, polycarbonate, plexiglass, PVC, ABS, and vinyl
- Other surfaces, such as ceramic tile, fiber cement, cloth, porcelain, mortar, cement, glass, and wood.
This product is 19 times clearer than silicon, so there is no risk of yellowing over time. It’s paintable, elastic, and water-resistant. It’s also safe from mildew and molds, and can easily be cleaned.
You do not get any of those caulk lines that can ruin the surfaces you are working on. You can apply this product in any weather. It is not water-based, so there is no chance that it will freeze.
- Paintable & scrubbable
- Sticks to wet surfaces
- Clear color
- Country of origin: United States
How long does it take for this caulk to dry? According to the product datasheet, you will need a week for it to fully cure, but it will dry to the touch in less than 30 minutes. So half an hour after application, it will be safe from damage even when you touch it. It’s also resistant to water and dust after such time.
6. Loctite Polyseamseal All-Purpose Adhesive Caulk
The Loctite Polyseamseal All-Purpose Adhesive Caulk is an excellent choice if you want to bond or seal:
This caulk is very flexible yet durable. It is water-resistant, and it keeps mold and mildew away. It’s tack-free in just 40 minutes, which means that you can already paint over it without undoing your work.
- Seal and Bond: Designed to have the strength of an...
- Strong and Durable: Strong adhesion and a permanently...
- Easy To Use: Water-based caulk is easy to apply and...
- Paintable: Paintable after only 40 minutes
When you talk about all-purpose, this product certainly fits the bill. You can use it to:
- Glue loose tiles or molding
- Secure backsplashes
- Set sinks
- Repairing cracks found in plaster or drywall
7. Sashco Big Stretch Caulk
Most people find ordinary acrylic latex caulks a bit difficult to smoothen out. That’s not going to be a problem with the Sashco Big Stretch Caulk. You can smooth this caulk as easily as spreading mayonnaise.
It’s very elastic that you can stretch it to at least five times its original size. The manufacturer claims that this caulk will not crack, and can stretch, bend, or compress. It does not even have a strong smell and is very easy to clean up using water.
This product is perfect for sidings, corners, and other interior painting projects. It’s also perfect for outdoor jobs because of its ultraviolet resistance.
- 100% acrylic latex, high-performance caulk with...
- Will stretch and compress to absorb just about any...
- Spans gaps up to 2" wide and stretches up to 500% of...
- Big Stretch can twist, bend, compress, and stretch with...
It comes in a variety of colors, including clear, white, tan, almond, gray, and wood tones.
Choose the Best Fast-Drying Caulk for Yourself
Fast-drying caulk is perfect for those who do not want to wait too long to paint over the sealant. It’s also a good idea because the faster it dries, or more accurately when the surface becomes tack-free, the more resistant to damage the applied caulk becomes. Tack-free means that the caulk’s surface has sufficiently dried, rendering it safe from damage even if you touch it.
But more than its fast-drying properties, what else should you look for in a caulk?
If you need your caulk to be extra waterproof, such as when you are using it for RVs and boats, or any project outside the house, you should pick a product that is made with polyurethane. For instance, the 3M Marine Adhesive Sealant Fast Cure 4200 can be used even below the waterline. This caulk is very durable and its peel- and crack-resistant. However, polyurethane caulks are generally more expensive than other types of sealants.
If you are doing some interior painting, you can get away with a more affordable caulk that is easy to work with and clean up. You can get a fast-drying caulk that can handle a bit of movement. So if you are caulking a corner inside your house or a crown molding joint, you can choose an acrylic latex caulk like the Sashco Big Stretch Caulk.
Concrete and masonry work can be done with urethane caulk to keep the water out and seal the cracks more efficiently. You might want to check out Sashco Slab Concrete Crack Repair Sealant, which adheres to concrete better than others. Or if you are looking for a particularly fast-drying formula, there’s the DAP 3.0 Self-Leveling Sealant that you can paint over in just one hour.
You can go with a solvent-based caulk that is easy to apply and has a neat finish for roofing. Use something like Sashco’s Lexel that provides superior weatherproofing for your roof. It’s also a good choice for caulking your gutters.
Formulations: What You Should Know
Aside from the project you are working on, you should know about the different formulations for caulking products. Here are some of the materials that are widely used in most caulks available today.
Silicone, as a material, is very stable. It does not show a chemical reaction to a lot of the substances it comes into contact with and it can withstand temperatures of less than 100°C to 250°C (-148°F to 482°F). It’s also non-toxic.
Silicone inherently repels water and can create watertight seals. It also adheres well to some materials such as glass and tiles. If you wonder whether using silicone caulk could encourage microbiological growth, rest your fears because it does not support the growth of microbes and other microorganisms.
Silicone is also highly resistant to ultraviolet light, oxygen, and ozone, making it ideal for a large number of applications from fire protection, glazing, and external automotive parts. It is resistant to oxidation and weathering, too.
Silicone caulk is ideal for metal, ceramic, or glass because it works well with non-porous and smooth material. And while silicone does not support microbiological growth, there are now products with antimicrobial additives for that added protection against germs.
According to a technical bulletin released in March 2016 by the Wall and Ceiling Conference, acrylic latex caulk is best for wood, drywall, masonry, plaster, and other porous materials. This type of caulk comes in a variety of colors, and it is also paintable. A water-based product, it is very easy to use and can be cleaned using only water.
However, this type of caulk will not adhere well with metal.
If you want something that you can use outdoors, go for polyurethane-based caulk. This caulk is great for wood, stone, metal flashing, vinyl, brick, and other uneven surfaces.
Polyurethane caulk has excellent movement capabilities, and you can paint on it. It can even adhere to painted surfaces. However, you cannot use it with glass and very porous materials.
Other Types of Caulk
Aside from these three, there are other types of caulk that you can use:
- Acrylic latex silicone caulk – Acrylic latex caulk with silicone added. This caulk is flammable, so special handling is needed. It also shrinks while drying, but some varieties of this caulk are paintable.
- Butyl caulk – Ideal for wet areas, gutters, brick, chimneys, stone, concrete block, flashing, and concrete. This caulk is often used on roofs, aluminum sidings, or underground, even when sealing two different materials. This solvent-based product can take a long time to cure.
- Advance polymer caulk – A long-lasting product that works well with a variety of plastics, brick, wood, concrete, fiber cement, vinyl, and masonry.
Final Thoughts: Choose the Best Fast-Drying Caulk Today
If you have anything that needs repair, sealing, or adhering in and around the house, then the best fast-drying caulk can help ensure that you can get the job done, and you do not have to worry about the caulk getting damaged when it is accidentally touched. Our list of recommended fast-drying caulks from such brands as DAP, Sashco, Gorilla, and Loctite will save you time.
Choose the best fast-drying caulk according to the project you are doing, and you can’t go wrong.