Silicone Sealant vs Caulk: What's the Difference?

Jul 1st 2022

Deciding whether to use silicone sealant vs caulk for your home repair can be a tough decision. Caulk and sealant can both be used in a variety of situations, but each has its own pros and cons. If you’re looking to fix up your home, here are some pros and cons to keep in mind when choosing the right building materials for the job.

Firmness vs. Flexibility

One of the major differences when it comes to caulking vs. sealant comes is the flexibility of each material. Acrylic latex caulk seals gaps airtight and watertight, making it perfect for filling gaps in picture rails and skirting boards. However, acrylic caulks are rigid when they dry, making them less effective for areas with more movement. Caulks should mainly be used for filling small gaps where you need a tight seal.

Silicone sealant retains its elasticity even after sealing, making it perfect for use in parts of the home with varying temperatures, like the bathroom. Its extreme heat and cold resistance make silicone a popular material for house hold items like kitchenware and electronics, too. Silicone’s flexibility makes filling gaps in areas that may experience heavier expansion and contraction a breeze.

Moisture Resistance

When many homeowners decide to fix up their house, the bathroom is one of the first places they look. Sealing gaps in your bathroom can be a tricky task, given the high moisture levels around your tub and shower. Knowing which areas are moisture-heavy can play a big part in deciding on caulk vs. sealant bathtub repairs.

While caulk is watertight, exposure to high levels of moisture will tend to make existing caulk shrink, requiring multiple layers to be applied. Caulk should also not be used in wet areas as water can continue to seep through while the caulk is drying.

Silicone sealant, on the other hand, is water-resistant, making it a great choice for the bathroom. Some silicone sealants also contain fungicides within them, helping to protect your bathroom against mold and mildew.

Long-Lasting Durability

When considering whether to use caulk vs. sealant, durability will likely play a big part in your decision. While silicone is more flexible and better for high-movement areas, caulk remains solid after being applied. This makes caulk an effective long-lasting choice for homeowners looking to patch up areas of their homes that don’t typically see much movement. Caulk’s rigidity also means you can paint over it after it is applied.

While caulk is long-lasting on solid, unmoving surfaces, silicone sealant’s flexibility means it lasts longer in areas with higher moisture. Using silicone sealant in a bathroom for sealing cracks in the tub and shower will create a more durable seal without needing to frequently re-apply.

How Long Do Caulk and Sealant Take to Dry?

Time can be an important factor when choosing joint sealant vs. caulking. The amount of time a repair takes can make a major difference when fixing up high-traffic areas of the home like the kitchen and bathroom. Picking between sealant vs caulk can also mean significantly different waiting times for the cracks in your home to properly seal.

In exchange for the more firm and rigid seal, caulk tends to take longer to fully cure. While acrylic caulks will typically become dry to the touch within 30 minutes, it can take anywhere from one day to over a week for the caulk to fully cure depending on the type of caulk. It’s important to check the packaging of any caulk you use before you apply it so you can plan for giving it time to fully cure.

Silicone’s more flexible nature makes for a faster seal for the high-moisture areas of your home. Silicone sealant will typically fully cure within 24 hours, creating a quicker seal for areas that need to be used frequently, like the kitchen and bathroom.


In today’s world, we can’t downplay the value of cost-effectiveness when fixing up your home. Silicone caulk vs. sealant can come at different price points based on the materials used within the formula. If price plays a big part in your decision, it’s important to know what you’re paying for and why it’s the best thing for the job.

Caulk tends to run significantly cheaper than silicone sealant due to most caulks being a mix of cheaper materials in acrylics and latex, rather than a pure material. Caulk is also less likely to come in a large variety of colors, though some variation is available. The lower price point of caulk can quickly add up to a major bargain when compared to silicone sealant, especially if you need to make several repairs around your house.

Silicone sealant tends to run more expensive than caulk due to most silicone sealants being 100% pure silicone. Silicone sealants can also come in a variety of different colors, giving you the choice to match your sealant to the different color schemes in your home. The greater flexibility in material and choice, as well as silicone’s pure status, drive up the price of silicone sealants.

If you’re looking to spruce up your kitchen or bathroom, Silicone Depot can help! Check out our selection of high-quality silicone sealants and caulks today!