Sat Jul 15 2023

Caulk or Sealant Which Fits Your Bathtub Best?

Caulk or Sealant Which Fits Your Bathtub Best?

Buying a bathtub is one thing, maintaining it is another story. If you ask what is more difficult, selecting a new bathtub or maintaining it? We say maintenance it. But, most of us think maintenance is all about cleaning and drying your bathtub. We tend to miss some small yet effective factors when it comes to maintaining a bathtub, and that is adhesive for your bathtub to fix it in place. If you are using a freestanding bathtub, adhesive is a very important factor in your maintenance routine. 


But, which adhesive is better for your bathtub? Two main adhesives are being used on bathtubs these days: caulk and silicone sealant. We will talk about both adhesives and conclude which one is better for your bathtub, caulk, or sealant

Caulk – What Is It?

You might get confused here, but caulk and sealant are more or less the same, and has the same functionality. But, we are talking about which one to use: caulk or sealant. One subtle factor that makes a huge difference is the flexibility of the sealant. 


Caulk can be used as the generic term for bathtub adhesive. Caulk is made of a number of materials, ranging from silicone (also used for sealant), latex, and even acrylic. Material can also act as the difference between the caulk and the sealant. 


You can use caulk for almost all of your outdoor projects and can be used for any appliances (no electronics!).


When it comes to popularity, caulk is probably the most preferred adhesive thanks to its easy application. You can even paint on it to camouflage the caulk. But, is it preferred for a bathtub?

People do use caulk as an adhesive for their bathtubs, but it is a little bit behind the sealant in the water resistance department. 

Sealant – What Is It?

If the caulk was made only of silicone, then it is a sealant. Sealant is introduced in order to be more flexible, whereas caulk is not. If you want to seal the complex edges and furrows, caulk is probably not the best choice, since it is much more rigid. In those scenarios, the sealant is much preferred. You might think, since the sealant is flexible, it does not have good durability. This is a common misconception Sealant has very good durability and lasts for a long time (even a couple of years). As said, sealant has the upper hand when it comes to resistance to water, moisture, and even the formation of mildew. But the one disadvantage is the application of the sealant

If you do not apply it properly, there is a good chance for the formation of mildew, and water damage on both the walls and the bathtub. Also, unlike caulk, you cannot paint over the sealant, which might bring down the look of your bathtub. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Caulk and Sealant

Advantages and Disadvantages of Caulk and Sealant


When it comes to caulk, the main advantage is its cost and application. Compared to sealant, caulk is cheaper and easier to use. That is one of the reasons why people prefer caulk for most outdoor projects. Another advantage is the availability of the caulk materials.


The main disadvantage, however, is the rigidity of the caulk. After the application, the caulk tends to get rigid over time, which makes it weaker against water damage. Also, caulk cannot withstand high-temperature situations. It can break down and make the surface prone to water damage and other structural problems.


What caulk lacks is mitigated with the sealant, which is water resistant. The major advantage of sealant is that it traps the water and moisture content and prevents the formation of mildew and even algae. Another advantage is flexibility. Meaning you can apply them in difficult places. 


But this advantage is a double-edged sword. You have to properly apply the sealant in order to capture the water and moisture content, if not there is a good chance that the sealant won’t work properly and result in water damage. Other disadvantages are a strong odor while applying, the inability to paint over it, and the difficulty to remove after the application, unlike caulk.

Purpose of Caulk and Sealant

The major use of caulk and sealant is to act as the adhesive for your bathtub when you install a new bathtub or remodel your bathroom. Why is adhesive needed for a bathtub? The answer is the water damage. Water damage is common in the bathtub and it is safe to say that there is no perfect way to completely eliminate the water damage. But, we can take certain precautions to make sure that there is no water damage on your bathtub, floor, or wall. The sealant or caulk is that precaution, acting as the water seal that traps the water or moisture, and makes the bathtub free from water damage. 


Apart from acting as a water seal, caulk and sealant have other purposes:

  1. Joining a pair of walls (light join).
  2. Create a vacuum space between your bathtub surface and the bathroom walls/floor.
  3. Used to treat tiles in the bathroom (to bring back their original state)
  4. Used as the stronger foundation for wood material (wood bathtubs and cupboards)
  5. Caulk be painted to match either the wall or bathtub to elevate the look of the bathroom

Caulk or Sealant– Which is Better for Bathtub?

The answer is sealant (silicone sealant). Caulk does have good advantages, such as being cheap, can be painted, and easy to apply. But, it does fall short in the most important department for a bathtub, which is water resistant. Did you know that water damage is one of the most common issues for homeowners in the U.S.? In 2020, around 19.9% of homeowners filed for water damage insurance. That is one in every 60 insured homes in the nation. 


Caulk may work in most situations, but thanks to its water resistance property, silicone sealant is the best adhesive for your bathtub.


Suggested Reads:

  • How To Paint a Bathtub? A Fresh Look in 10 Steps
  • Important 5 Warning Signs That Tell You to Replace a Bathtub – How to Identify?
  • Bathtub Trim – What Is It? All Things to Know in 2022


  • Is silicone better than caulk?
  • In most situations, caulk is better suited adhesive thanks to its easy application. But silicone sealant is best when it comes to water resistance. So, it is the recommended adhesive for any type of bathtub. 

  • How long does caulk last?
  • In general, caulk can last anywhere between two to five years. But the longevity of caulk depends on many factors (such as the place and environment), and even the type of caulk being used. 

  • What happens if the caulking gets wet?
  • Caulk does not have water-resistance properties. Meaning, when the caulking gets wet, it loses its adhesive properties and exposes the surface to water and other structural damage. The only way to resolve this is to recaulk the area with better caulk, such as latex or even acrylic caulk. 

    Final Thoughts

    Before starting your maintenance steps for your bathtub, it is advised to check the condition of the caulk or sealant. If the caulk or sealant is damaged, remove the old caulk or sealant and clean the area. Once the area is dried, apply new silicone sealant onto the area. Make sure you apply it properly. Once the application is done, leave the area for a good hour or two. After the sealant is set in its place, you can again use your bathtub and enjoy the soaking session.


    But sometimes, the bathtub cannot be saved, and you are in dire need of a new one. If you are looking for a new bathtub, you are in the right place. Magnus Home Products offers a great variety of bathtubs at an affordable price. You can access the collection here


    This article hopes to have cleared the confusion pertaining to caulk and sealant. Remember to use sealant for areas that are prone to water damage.