Window sealant, also known as window caulk, is generally used to repair gaps and prevent drafts. There are several different types of sealant, including silicone, latex, and acrylic latex. There also are sealants made specifically for kitchens and baths and some designed to be temporary.
It is important to know what kind of sealant is needed for a particular job. Certain kinds of window sealant work best only in certain conditions, such as indoors versus outdoors. While some sealants are meant to withstand high temperatures, others can't. Moisture levels should also be evaluated because some types might only be designed for dry areas. Additionally, if a person doesn't have a lot of experience in sealing windows, he or she should try to select a sealant that has an easy application process.
Silicone is generally considered to be among the most commonly used forms of sealant. This type of sealant has a clear color, and, when dry, it typically has a flexible and rubbery texture. Non-porous surfaces, such as plastic or metal, typically work best with silicone. Its flexibility can prevent silicone from cracking or breaking due to temperature changes. The application process, however, can be messy, and silicone produces a strong odor.
Latex window sealant is often chosen because it can be painted for decoration purposes. As a result, it is generally used for indoor purposes. This type of window sealant often works best filling in cracks in wooden window frames. People who live in a cold climate, however, generally don't use latex because it doesn't tolerate temperature changes well.
Acrylic latex silicone blend is a hybrid window sealant that can be used inside and outside. This sealant is often used to weatherproof windows. It can be easier to apply to windows than regular silicone sealant, but can also have durability problems with temperature changes.
Kitchen and bath caulk, as its name implies, is a sealant primarily meant for the high-moisture areas of kitchens and baths. It is generally used to prevent mildew or mold from growing in windowsill cracks. This type of sealant can also usually be painted.
Butyl rubber caulk is generally used to fill in larger holes around windows, such as those that are about .25 inches (0.63 cm) wide. One of the stronger forms of sealants, it can last up to 10 years if applied correctly. It is generally available in different colors and can be painted if necessary.
Caulking cord sealant is designed to be temporary. It usually works best to prevent drafts from coming in small window cracks. This sealant generally comes in a tape roll and can be cut to the necessary length for use until a longer-lasting window sealant can be used.