Caulk is one of the key go-to repair tools that should be part of any good DIY toolkit. Different types of caulk are designed for different jobs around the house so it’s important to choose the right caulk for the job at hand. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, spotting the differences between different caulks is a challenge. This guide will help you find the best caulk for use in the kitchen.
Silicone is the best kind of caulk for kitchen sinks as it’s waterproof, flexible and resilient. It’s normal to need to replace caulk if it has dried out or cracked over time. Removing old caulk and applying a fresh layer helps to create a good seal and prevent water damage.
5 Major Types of Caulk
When choosing caulk, you will notice lots of different brands and options. Before you become overwhelmed by the choice, there are really 5 main types of caulk to consider.
Silicone-based caulk is the best kind of caulk to use for the kitchen sink as it is 100% waterproof and can withstand exposure to water and heat without shrinking, cracking or breaking down. Silicone is also budget-friendly but it cannot be painted. When it comes to cleaning silicone caulk, you’ll need to use a solvent but otherwise, this is a great choice for the kitchen and bathrooms.
Acrylic is another popular type of caulk. This is a more rigid option that will dry out over time. You can use paint on acrylic caulk and it is easy to clean. The downside to acrylic caulk is that it breaks down in water over time and can harden and crumble when exposed to extreme heat. This is best used in areas with little to no contact with water, Acrylic is a popular option for joints and connections to concrete, plasterboard, wood, masonry, window sills, shutter boxes etc.
Latex caulk is a durable and long-lasting option that is suitable for many different types of surfaces. The downside to latex caulk is that it is unable to withstand extreme temperature and doesn’t handle direct sunlight well. There are a couple of types of latex caulk; acrylic latex is often used by professional painters and vinyl latex is a longer-lasting version that is often used during decorating and can also be used outdoors. Latex generally adheres well to materials such as wood, drywall and masonry.
Water-based caulk such as Poylseamseal is a silicone-free option that bonds well to a range of surface types. This is a versatile caulk that is non-toxic and can be painted, it’s one of the best kinds of caulk for use in bathrooms. The downside to water-based caulks is that they aren’t best for sealing areas that were previously sealed with silicone.
There is also specialty hybrid caulks that are for a specific use, for example, a kitchen and bathroom caulk has mould and mildew resistance while a mortar caulk can handle high temperatures. These can make your choice easier because their labels clearly state the intended purpose, although a hybrid caulk can also be a bit more expensive than a standard option.
What is the Best Caulk for Kitchen Sink?
The type of caulk used in the kitchen needs to be mould and mildew resistant and waterproof. With this in mind, the best kind of caulk for a kitchen sink is going to be a 100% silicone caulk.
Best Caulk for Stainless Steel Sinks
Stainless steel sinks are prone to movement so it is necessary to choose a flexible caulk to compensate for this. That is why silicone is a better choice for kitchen sinks than something like acrylic which is going to be too rigid for a stainless steel sink. Depending on the colour of your counters you may want to choose a white or transparent colored silicone caulk.
Best Caulk for Porcelain Sinks
As with other types of kitchen sinks, silicone caulk is a great choice as it adheres well to porcelain and ceramic sinks. It’s really important you clean any old caulk away thoroughly before applying a new layer otherwise you might find the new layer does not adhere well to the surface.
Best Caulk for Undermount Sinks
100% silicone sealant is generally recommended for undermount sinks as it has good adhesive properties, is resilient and flexible. Always make sure you wipe away excess to give your kitchen a clean and professional finish.
Best Caulk for Granite Sinks
The best kind of caulk for a granite sink is going to be 100% silicone, the colour you choose will depend on your granite and the result you want. Silicone caulks come in all colours including white, transparent, grey, black and cream.
How to Recaulk an Undermount Kitchen Sink (8 Easy Steps)
Step 1) Check the Clamps Under The Sink
Firstly, check the clamps underneath the sink to ensure they are all still in good condition and are holding the sink securely. It’s important to make sure the clamps are all in working order before you get started otherwise you will have a problem once you have recaulked the joint. If the sink is loose, it will pull the caulk causing it to break and become ineffective.
Step 2) Prepare to Remove the Sink
Now you can turn off the water to the kitchen sink and disconnect the plumbing and drain pipes ready to lift the undermount sink up.
Step 3) Unclamp the Sink
Undo the clamps underneath the sink so you can lift the undermount sink away from the counter. This should be easy to do if the previous caulk has become old and worn, which it probably will be if you are redoing the caulking.
Step 4) Scrape Any Old Caulk Away
It’s important you get rid of any old caulk before you apply the new layer. If you try to apply new caulk on top of old it is not going to properly adhere and won’t form a tight seal. This is going to cause water issues and your kitchen counters and cupboards could become water damaged over time. Save yourself the stress and use a knife or something similar to scrape the caulk off the surface and the sink.
Step 5) Clean the Surfaces
With the old caulk now removed, give the whole area a thorough wipe down using rubbing alcohol. Once clean, wait for the joint to try before moving onto the next step. Don’t try to apply the caulk when the surface is still wet – it won’t work.
Step 6) Apply Silicone Sealant
Now you can apply the silicone caulk of your choice. You only need a thin layer of caulk along the top edge of the sink.
Step 7) Re-install the Sink Immediately
Before the caulk starts to cure, reposition the sink and clamp it into place.
Step 8) Clean the Edges
With the sink now in position, use a clean cloth to wipe away any visible sealant. Check either side of the sink for excess caulk to create a professional finish. It’s best to not use the sink for at least 3 hours (ideally leave the sink unused for half a day) so the caulk can fully cure before it gets wet.
How to Caulk Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink
Step 1) Remove Old Caulk
Firstly, you need to clean the surface and remove any old caulk. Even the best kind of caulk won’t form a strong seal if there is still old caulk on the join. You can remove old caulk relatively easily with a utility knife.
Step 2) Clean & Dry the Area
In order for the new caulk to bond with the surface the area needs to be clean and fully dry. First, scrub the surface clean with a warm soap solution. Once cleaned, use rubbing alcohol to disinfect the entire sink and surrounding surfaces to make sure there are no mould or fungal spores left in the area you will be caulking.
Step 3) Lift the Sink Slightly
In order to effectively caulk around the sink, you need to lift the sink a little bit away from the counter to give you space to work. If you are doing this alone, place a piece of wire under the sink to hold it up a small amount.
Step 4) Apply the Caulk
Holding a caulking gun or tube at a 45-degree angle to the edge where the sink and the countertop join, apply a small layer of caulk to the perimeter of the sink. A small bead of caulk goes a long way so don’t use too much.
Step 5) Reposition the Sink
With the caulk now applied, you can put the sink back into its position. This is the time to wipe away any excess caulk with a clean cloth too. Leave the caulk to cure for between 3 – 12 hours before using the sink. This gives the seal enough time to dry and cure before it gets wet.
FAQs: Kitchen Sink Sealing
Is silicone enough to hold an undermount sink?
No, while the silicone helps bond the sink to the counter it is not holding the sink in place. Instead, it is creating a seal and stopping leakage. An undermount sink is usually attached using a combination of high-strength epoxy, clamps and silicone caulk.
How do you apply sealant around a kitchen sink?
You apply a small amount of caulk to the part where the edge of the sink and the countertop meet. Lift the sink slightly, apply the caulk at a 45-degree angle and then reposition the sink and wipe away any excess before it cures.
Silicone caulk is the best kind of caulk for use in the kitchen as it has all the properties needed to withstand a busy kitchen environment. Before applying caulk to the kitchen sink remove any old caulk and give the area a thorough clean. A silicone caulk seal should last years so it is worth taking your time to get the best results.