07 Jun Caulk is Caulk, Right??
Most boats use all sorts of sealants and adhesives. And there are tons of different types — 4200, 5200, multi-caulk, fast-set and so on, mostly special for the marine industry. But in the galley and head, there are couple of applications for good old household silicone caulk (see my recent article about using it for temporary refrigerator lid seals) . . . and over the past couple of years, I’ve learned that there are some important differences in silicone caulk.
When we repainted our house a few years ago, we discovered that the exterior of the house had never been caulked. So I used nearly a case of “paintable” silicone caulk prior to painting (yeah, it was fun). Seven years of cruising had taught me a lot about using a caulk gun!
Then we did some remodeling in the kitchen and bath and the countertops needed to be caulked where they met the wall. Since I had a tube of caulk left over, I grabbed it and went to work. It looked beautiful . . . for a few months. Then it started looking dirty . . . and I couldn’t get the dirt off. I tried every cleaner I could think of.
Hmm, seems that paintable caulk means that stuff sticks to it. And doesn’t come off. So now I have to remove all the old caulk and use the right stuff.So if you’re doing a galley or head project — say installing a new sink or countertop — and need some caulk, make sure it’s NOT paintable if you are not intending to paint over it. Get the stuff that is designed to be left bare . . . and you can easily wipe any dirt or grease off it.
One final word — don’t expect the silicone caulk to be good for many other applications on the boat. It has virtually no adhesive properties and is not heat-resistant. Use it only to give an interior project a finished look, make a refrigerator seal, make your own nonskid or bed port lights.