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Community and Q&A

Choice of caulks/sealants?

Hobbit _ | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I know there’s a completely bewildering array of caulks, adhesives,
sealants, etc out there on the market but I’m kind of interested
in what the building community prefers these days, and why. I’m
not even sure it’s 100% kosher to do brand comparisons here on GBA
but if it’s all in the context of *opinions* and real-life
experience, hopefully that’s okay.

HD seems to sell more “contractor bulk packs” of certain caulks than
others, notably Alex Plus and Dynaflex 230 and maybe various types of
Liquid Nails. I’ve used all of these in some small ways but not
really in any kind of shootout situation. I also tried one or two
of the polyurethane-based ones which, aside from being VOC bombs,
seemed much more cantankerous to apply.

In particular I’m interested in hearing experiences from when any
of these products are used as *adhesives*, for example when gluing
rigid foam to other things like basement walls. What works? Foil
face or no? How long does a product take to set to self-holding?
Where’s the boundary between “caulk” and “construction adhesive”?

Even within similar product families I’ve also seen different
characteristics of viscosity, setting time, and final flexibility
from just which color of goop it is. That’s just weird, you’d
think that would have nothing to do with it.

_H*

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Replies

  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Hobbit,
    If you haven't seen it yet, you might want to read this article: Making Sense of Caulks and Sealants.

  2. Hobbit _ | | #2

    Useful info, to be sure, but doesn't really get into adhesive
    qualities under applied loads. I'd be interested in knowing
    folks' experience with sticking, say, rigid foam of various
    sorts to concrete, foam to itself, anything to wood, etc...
    the specific application I'm thinking about is basement wall
    foam, without having to get fancy with Hilti IDP fasteners
    or the like.

    _H*

  3. Mark Fredericks | | #3

    I've had good experience with PL300 which is an adhesive made by LePage specifically formulated for various foamboard products. It bonds to concrete, wood, drywall etc.
    Link to product - http://lepageproducts.com/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=80

    I used it when insulating the inside of my concrete basement/crawlspace walls with XPS foam. I bought it because I read some warnings that typical construction adhesive can 'burn' through foam. PL300 worked well to fill the gap caused by my basement's uneven concrete walls and held the XPS pretty well with only a short time of pressure. In some cases I needed to support the piece of foam to prevent it from falling away, but it generally stuck quickly.

    I've also used white acrylic latex caulking around the edges of XPS and EPS foam-to-wood connections for air sealing with good success. However acrylic latex caulking with silicone added (like Dap's Alex Plus) seems to be more flexible and can still be painted if needed.

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