Best Caulks for Showers and Bathtubs of 2020

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Stop mold and mildew with the best shower caulks. 

Whether you are looking for the best shower caulk or the best bathtub caulk, getting the right product is crucial for outstanding results.

But don’t think that all caulk is created equal. The filler you use in your lounge does not get the same punishment as the caulk in your bathroom.

Find out which is the best caulk for showers and bathrooms in our definitive guide.


Why Do I Need To Caulk My Shower and Tub?

Caulk is a simple way to seal the joint between two surfaces. Where your tub meets the wall is a prime example of why you need a caulk. Another example is when cracks appear, which they frequently do in bathrooms. You need a filler that stops moisture and air from getting behind the tiles.

But laying down a neat line is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to sealing the joint. You are going to need a caulk with special properties to handle this task.

Types of Caulk

There are different types of caulk for various tasks.

Silicone Caulks

Gorilla White 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk, Waterproof and Mold & Mildew Resistant, 10 ounce Cartridge, White, (Pack of 1)
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Silicone repels water and is used to seal metal, windows, and even plastic surfaces to stop moisture from getting through. You know it’s silicone caulk because it is super-sticky when it comes out of the tube and takes a little longer to set.


Latex Caulk

Dap 11425 Alex Plus Fast Dry Acrylic Latex Caulk Plus Silicone, 5.5-Ounce Tube, White
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Latex caulk has flexibility and is a great choice for areas that need sealing against moisture, especially uneven surfaces and more porous material. However, unlike silicone caulk, it does not have the same water-resistant properties, so it is better suited to the bathrooms dryer regions.

Latex does crack and shrink over time, so it requires replacement sooner than silicone caulk.


Polyurethane

Loctite Polyseamseal Tub & Tile Adhesive Caulk
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This is used when filling areas that get the most moisture. Think shower trays and bathtubs. It has high moisture resistance and is good at stopping mold and mildew spores from forming. It also has super-adhesion qualities. The downside is that sunlight destroys polyurethane, causing it to decay.


Specialty Caulks

Gorilla White 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk, Waterproof and Mold & Mildew Resistant, 10 ounce Cartridge, White, (Pack of 1)
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Specialty caulks target specific areas, like the marine industry, where moisture is prevalent all the time. These caulks need to be tailored to specific needs. Another example might be heat resistance, especially for tiles near radiators or fireplaces.


How To Choose the Best Caulk for Showers and Bathtubs

Given the vast array of different caulks, there are still some basic elements to bear in mind when making your purchase.

Which Material Is Best?

If you work in an area with high water content, like bathtubs and showers, look for a caulk with high silicone properties to seal and protect from water ingress. Silicone expands and seals like no other caulk, preserving the joint for years.

Latex varieties are also effective, but they offer less moisture resistance, so consider where you use them. It is also possible to get a chalk-based caulk, which is more generalized and used in dryer locations. It is not a good choice for your bathroom.

Which Packaging Is Best?

Caulk comes in containers that you load into a caulk gun, or in squeezy tubes that you dispense by hand. The packaging you choose is dependent on the task at hand. If you are performing minor repairs, a squeezy tube is just fine, but you might want to invest in a caulk gun for larger projects.

Is It Moisture and Mildew-Resistant?

These are the two most critical elements of caulk, especially in the shower or bathroom. Repeated exposure to moisture creates an atmosphere where mold spores grow. The caulk you choose should have fungicides and mildew-resistant properties that inhibit growth.

We’ve all seen what mold does to the seals in bathrooms and showers. Black, unsightly staining occurs and is almost impossible to shift. Tiles lose their shiny new appearance very quickly, leaving your bathroom looking like a no-go zone instead of a jewel in your home’s crown.

What Color Is Best?

Nowadays, you can buy caulk in almost every shade and color. By far, the favorite is still plain white, but as people’s tastes change, so does their color palette. Latex and silicone caulk also come in paintable varieties, so even if you have a white caulk, you could paint it to the color of your choice.

What About Drying Times?

Silicone and latex caulk take the longest to dry and cure, because they expand, stick and seal all at the same time. Read the packaging and decide which is the best for you. Some take an hour, while others can take over 10 hours to dry.

If you are sealing a tub or shower tray, you might want to choose a caulk with a faster drying time or risk your bathroom being out of action for a day or two.


The Best Caulk for Showers and Bathtubs of 2020

There are so many different types of caulk to choose from, and they all claim to be the best. Do you go for silicone, latex, siliconized latex or polyurethane? The list is endless. Here is our take on the 7 best caulks you can buy.

1. Dap 11425 Alex Plus Fast Dry Caulk

Best Fast-Drying Caulk

Dap 11425 Alex Plus Fast Dry Acrylic Latex Caulk Plus Silicone, 5.5-Ounce Tube, White
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Not all caulk is paintable, but this acrylic latex caulk is in under 40 minutes from application. It means there is less delay waiting for the caulk to dry to get the job done. It is suitable for outside and inside tasks and comes with a 35-year durability guarantee.

The other thing that stands this caulk apart is that you don’t need to buy a sealant gun to dispense the contents. It comes in a handy, squeezable tube, making it the ideal caulk for smaller repairs and minor maintenance tasks.

The other thing worth mentioning is the cost. This caulk is so cheap, you could buy 3 of these for the price of the Gorilla caulk.

PROS:
  • Squeezable container.
  • Super-affordable.
  • Paint after just 40 minutes.
  • Suitable indoors and out.
  • 35-year durability guarantee.
  • Fast-drying.
CONS:
  • Only comes in small containers.
  • Not suited to bigger tasks.
  • Made in China.

Additional Specs

Weight (ounces)9.6
Dimensions (inches)1.9 x 1.9 x 11.4
Gun or Squeezable?Squeezable
MaterialAcrylic latex
PaintableYes
Drying time40 minutes
Price$

2. Gorilla White 100 Percent waterproof Silicone Sealant

Best Waterproof Caulk

Gorilla White 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk, Waterproof and Mold & Mildew Resistant, 10 ounce Cartridge, White, (Pack of 1)
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This Gorilla caulk is 100 percent waterproof and works on windows, doors, gutters, bathrooms, cars, and even boats. It is a versatile sealant that has applications in almost every environment.

It dries translucent white, is mold and mildew resistant, and won’t shrink, crack or yellow over time. Once applied, it is water-ready in just over 30 minutes. It can be used indoors or outside, and because it is a silicone sealant, unlike the latex varieties, it won’t perish in the sun.

As an all-round caulk, this Gorilla is pretty hard to beat, but it is a world-beater for keeping the water out.

PROS:
  • Waterproof in less than an hour.
  • Multi-purpose.
  • Indoor and outdoor uses.
  • Won’t perish in the sun.
  • Mold and mildew resistant.
  • Suitable for the marine environment.
CONS:
  • Requires a decorator’s gun.
  • Not paintable.
  • Expensive.

Additional Specs

Weight (ounces)10
Dimensions (inches)10 x 1.5 x 1.5
Gun or Squeezable?Gun
MaterialSilicone
PaintableNo
Drying time30 minutes
Price$$$

3. GE Window and Door Max Shield Caulk

Best Caulk for Shower Doors and Windows

Window & Door Max Shield All Weather
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This could have been a contender for the paintable caulk award. It can be painted in around 45 minutes from application. This caulk is 100 percent water and weatherproof, sealing and protecting against moisture, even in the toughest conditions.

It stretches up to 800 percent and seals gaps as wide as 3 inches, thanks to its shrink and crack-proof 35 percent flexibility. It even comes with a lifetime mold-free guarantee, making it the ideal sealant for gutters and flashings, as well as windows and doors.

This is the first of two GE products to feature, and we can see why thanks to its rugged capabilities.

PROS:
  • 100 percent weather and waterproof.
  • Extremely flexible.
  • Fills 3-inch gaps.
  • Lifetime mold guarantee.
  • Ideal for indoors and outdoors.
  • Excellent price.
  • Paintable in 45 minutes.
CONS:
  • Requires a decorator’s gun.
  • Clear caulk takes longer to dry.

Additional Specs

Weight (ounces)10
Dimensions (inches)11.1 x 1.7 x 1.7
Gun or Squeezable?Gun
MaterialSiliconized acrylic latex
PaintableYes
Drying time45 minutes
Price$$

4. Loctite Polyseamseal Tub and Tile Caulk

Best Caulk for Tile Floors and Tubs

Loctite Polyseamseal Tub & Tile Adhesive Caulk
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Like the Dap Alex featured at the top of the review, this Loctite caulk comes in a squeezable tube, making it ideal for repairs and patch-up jobs around the kitchen and bathroom. And because it is a dual-purpose adhesive, you can use it to stick down tiles and seal gaps around your bathtub.

This is a permanently flexible sealant that offers low fumes and is non-flammable. It adheres to ceramic, glass, fiberglass composites, enamel, metal, and even wood and wallboard. This is a genuine all-rounder when it comes to applications.

The other great thing about this caulk is that it is 100 percent American-made, so if you like buying patriotically, then this is the caulk for you.

PROS:
  • Low fumes and non-flammable.
  • Multi-purpose adhesive and caulk.
  • Squeezable tube.
  • Ideal for repairs and once-off jobs.
CONS:
  • Only suitable for small jobs.
  • 24-hour dry time.

Additional Specs

Weight (ounces)5.5
Dimensions (inches)2.4 x 1.5 x 9.8
Gun or Squeezable?Squeezable
MaterialPolyurethane
PaintableNo
Drying time24 hours
Price$$

5. Sashco 13010 Adhesive Caulk

Best Caulk for Shower Grout

Sashco 13010 10.5oz Sashco Sealants Clear Lexel Adhesive Caulk, 10.5-Ounce
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This sealant is the ideal caulk for shower grout because not only does it stay 100 percent clear, it’s also easy to paint. It has up to 400 percent joint movement and is 19 times clearer than silicone caulk.

It adheres to glass, marble, ceramic tiles, Formica, drywall and even fiber cement. This polymer-based rubber sealant is an excellent all-rounder and just as effective outside as it is inside.

If you are thinking of keeping a tube in the garage or workshop, you needn’t worry about extreme weather conditions because Sashco is freeze-thaw stable.

PROS:
  • Multi-purpose adhesive and caulk.
  • Great indoors and outdoors.
  • 400 percent joint movement.
  • 19 times clearer than silicone caulk.
  • Freeze-thaw stable.
  • Made in the USA.
  • Paintable.
CONS:
  • Expensive compared to others.
  • Takes 7 to 10 days to cure when using oil-based paints.
  • 24 hours to cure before paintable with water-based paints.

Additional Specs

Weight (ounces)10.5
Dimensions (inches)2 x 11.38 x 2
Gun or Squeezable?Gun
MaterialPolymer rubber
PaintableYes
Drying time24 hours for water-based and 10 days for oil-based
Price$$$

6. Gorilla Paintable Silicone Sealant Caulk

Best Paintable Caulk

Gorilla Paintable Silicone Sealant Caulk, Waterproof and Mold & Mildew Resistant, 9 ounce Cartridge, White, (Pack of 1)
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This is the second Gorilla caulk to feature. This one is the best paintable caulk because you can start working half an hour from application. It is also water-safe after just 15 minutes, making it one of the fastest setting caulks on the list.

It is approved for indoor and outdoor use, is 100 percent waterproof, and will not shrink, crack or turn yellow with age. It is also mold and mildew resistant, so it will stay looking good for a long time.

You can use this caulk on windows, doors, metal, plastic, flashings, sidings, gutters and even the marine environment.

PROS:
  • Waterproof in just 15 minutes.
  • Paintable in 30 minutes.
  • Ideal for indoor and outdoor use.
  • Old and mildew resistant.
  • Does not crack, shrink or yellow.
CONS:
  • Expensive to buy.
  • Requires a decorator’s gun.

Additional Specs

Weight (ounces)9
Dimensions (inches)10 x 1.5 x 1.5
Gun or Squeezable?Gun
MaterialSilicone
PaintableYes
Drying time30 minutes
Price$$$

7. GE Sealants GE5070 Advanced Caulk

Best Caulk for Mold and Mildew

GE Sealants & Adhesives GE5070 Advanced Silicone 2 Kitchen & Bath Sealant, 10.1oz, White
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Mold and mildew are no laughing matter when it comes to unsightly stains on your tiles and bathroom fittings. Nothing ages a bathroom faster than mold and mildew. Luckily, this second GE caulk to feature comes with a 10-year mold and mildew protection that guarantees to keep it at bay for a decade or more.

This caulk has 40 percent more flexibility and 5 times the adhesion, making it formidable for all those bathroom and shower jobs. It is water-ready within 30 minutes, and it doesn’t discolor metal or other surfaces it contacts.

It is low-odor, won’t shrink or crack, and will last the distance, even when subjected to extremely wet conditions.

PROS:
  • 10-year mold protection.
  • 40 percent more flexibility.
  • 5 times greater adhesion.
  • Water-ready in just 5 minutes.
  • Low-odor.
CONS:
  • Requires a decorator’s caulk gun.
  • Non-paintable silicone.
  • 24-hour full cure time.

Additional Specs

Weight (ounces)10.1
Dimensions (inches)3 x 3 x 10
Gun or Squeezable?Gun
MaterialSilicone
PaintableNo
Drying time30 minutes
Price$$

Shower And Bathtub Caulk Comparison Chart

ProductBestWeightDimensionsGun/SqueezableMaterialPaintableDrying time
Dap 11425 Alex Plus Fast Dry CaulkFast-Drying10 oz1.9 x 1.9 x 11.4″SqueezableAcrylic latexYes40 min
Gorilla White waterproof Silicone SealantWaterproof10 oz10 x 1.5 x 1.5″GunSiliconeNo30 min
GE Window & Door Max Shield CaulkShower Doors & Windows10 oz11.1 x 1.7 x 1.7″GunSiliconized acrylic latexYes45 min
Loctite Polyseamseal Tub & Tile CaulkTile Floors & Tubs6 oz2.4 x 1.5 x 9.8″SqueezablePolyurethaneNo24 hrs
Sashco 13010 Adhesive CaulkShower Grout11 oz2 x 11.38 x 2″GunPolymer rubberYes24 hrs
Gorilla Paintable Silicone Sealant CaulkPaintable9 oz10 x 1.5 x 1.5″GunSiliconeYes30 min
GE Sealants GE5070 Advanced CaulkMold & Mildew10 oz3 x 3 x 10″GunSiliconeNo30 min
Jump to the Full Shower And Bathtub Caulk Reviews

How To Caulk a Shower Stall and Door?

Follow these basic steps. Always weigh the shower down to imitate someone standing in it before caulking. If you skip this step, the first time you get into the shower, the tray will sink and split the caulk.

1. Out With the Old

Remove any old and worn caulk from the joint before applying the new caulk. Try not to leave any traces as this will decrease the bond between the new filler and the surface you are sealing.

2. Use Painter’s Tape

Create a neat line for the caulk to follow by laying strips of painters tape. It ensures that when you remove it, you have the straightest line possible.

3. Apply the New Caulk

Using a decorator’s gun, apply the new line of caulk. Use silicone or latex for the best seal and water-resistance. Be liberal when you are squeezing the caulk from the tube, but don’t over do it, or your joint will be messy.

4. Smooth the Line

Wet your finger and wipe it along the caulk line, applying the gentlest pressure as you do. This ensures the caulk seals, and there are no gaps visible where water can get in. It also removes excess caulk.

5. Let It Set

The caulk will be touch-dry in an hour or so, but the curing process takes another 10 or 12 hours. Don’t be tempted to rush the job before the caulk has cured.

How To Caulk a Bathtub?

You should follow all of the same steps above, ensuring that the caulk has set properly before using the tub. However, there is one trick you should always do before caulking.

Make sure you fill the tub with water before caulking because if you don’t, the caulk will split apart from the joint the first time you fill the tub with water. A full bathtub is heavier than an empty one, so the tub will naturally sink, leaving your joint misplaced.

FAQs

How Often Should You Caulk Your Shower?

As a general rule, caulk should last for about 5 years, especially in such a damp environment. It all depends on how often you use the shower, but caulk perishes like any other material even when the use is light.

How Often Should You Re-Caulk a Bathtub?

If it is a new tub, you should consider re-caulking after the first year. Failing that, every 5 years should suffice, depending on the amount of use the bathtub gets.

How Do I Prepare a Shower for Caulking?

You should follow the guide above, ensuring that you remove the old caulk before applying the new material. Also, make sure the surface is completely dry because you risk sealing in moisture behind the caulk and allowing mold and mildew to form.

It also weakens the seal of the caulk.

Do You Caulk the Inside of a Shower Enclosure?

You should caulk any joints where water can escape, such as the wall and shower tray, the door, and where the shower walls meet the tiles.

How Do I Stop My Shower Caulking From Molding?

Always wipe down the shower after use to prevent water sitting on the caulk and then mix one part bleach and 10 parts water in a spray bottle. Apply this after you have wiped down the shower to prevent mold growth. Leave it for 5 minutes and then wipe it away.

You could also use a caulk with a biocide that kills mold and mildew to prevent spores.

Is It Okay To Caulk Over Old Caulk?

It is not okay to caulk over old caulk. Remove every shred of the old material before you apply the new sealant. That way, you get a tight seal, and you don’t suffer problems later on as the mold and mildew from the old filler penetrates the new caulk.


Talk About Caulk

Decorator’s caulk comes in many guises and variables, so knowing which one to get can be a maze of confusion and wrong decisions. Do you get polymer, polyurethane, latex, siliconized latex, rubberized latex or silicone?

Also, if you want a paintable caulk, make sure you check the label because some are non-paintable. The final consideration is the mold and mildew repellent qualities of the caulk. It needs to have a mildewcide and mold-inhibiting properties, or it will discolor quickly with use.

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About the Author

Mark Weir

Mark spent 24 years working in real estate, so he knows his way around a home. He also worked with contractors and experts, advising them on issues of planning, investments, and renovations. Mark is no stranger to hands-on experience, having renovated his own home and many properties for resale. He likes nothing better than seeing a project through to completion.
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