Caulking materials such as silicone can be difficult to paint over because they are not very porous and are smooth.
As a result, the paint has trouble gripping onto the caulk and simply slides right off. If you need to paint over the silicone caulking, there are two options available to you.
The first option is to cut or scrape out all of the old caulk and then recaulk the surface with paintable caulk.
This can be sometimes difficult to do, especially if the silicone caulk is fresh and still curing.
The second option is to simply cover the silicone caulk with paintable caulk.
The new caulk will adhere to the old caulk, and then you can paint over the top. In my opinion, this is often the easiest way to deal with this problem.
Cutting Non-Paintable Caulk
If you choose to remove the old caulk and have it reapplied, you need to take some care in how this is done so that you do not damage the surface around the caulk.
The first thing to do is score the caulk with a sharp knife. Make sure that you only cut through the top layer of the caulk and not into the surface below.
Once you have scored the caulk, begin prying it out with a putty knife or another sharp object.
Work slowly and cautiously to not damage the surface around the caulk.
Once you have removed all of the old caulk, apply a new layer of paintable caulk and allow enough drying time to completely dry it before you paint.
Painting Non-Paintable Silicone Caulk
If you decide to choose the second option to just cover the non-paintable caulk with paintable caulk, there are a few steps you need to follow to get the job done right.
Here is a detailed step-by-step process on how to do it:
Step 1) Make sure the surface is clean-
The first step here is cleaning the surface around the caulk. Any dirt, grease, or grime will prevent the new caulk from properly adhering.
Using some mild soap and water, clean the area. You can also use an all-purpose household cleaner such as 409 or Windex.
Step 2) Apply painter’s tape.
Next, apply painter’s tape along the edges of the caulk. This will help create a clean line and prevent paint from getting onto surfaces that you don’t want it on.
Step 3) Cut the tip of the caulk tubing.
Cut the tip of the paintable caulk tube at a 45-degree angle. Also, make sure that the size of the hole is not more than 1/8 inch.
Step 4) Apply the caulk.
Now it’s time to apply the caulk. Start at one end of the surface and slowly run a bead of caulk along the surface.
Step 5) Use your finger to smooth the caulk.
Once you have applied the caulk, use your finger to smooth it out. This will help give it a nice, finished look.
If required, apply a second coat of caulk. Just make sure to smooth it out as much as possible so that it dries evenly.
Step 6) Remove the painter’s tape.
Next, remove the painter’s tape before the caulk has a chance to dry. If you wait too long, the caulk can adhere to the tape and be difficult to remove.
Also, make sure to clean up any caulk that may have gotten onto surfaces that you don’t want it on.
Step 7) Allow the caulk to dry and paint over.
It’s important to allow the caulk to dry completely before painting over it. Depending on the type of caulking you use, this can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.
Once the caulk is dry, paint over it just like you would any other surface. Make sure to use paint that is compatible with the caulk you have used.
Generally, for latex-based paintable caulks, you can use:
- Latex Paints
- Oil-Based Paints
- Shellac-Based Paints
Depending on the kind of paint you choose for the surface, you may need to apply the primer first. Consult the caulk manufacturer’s instructions to see if this is a necessary step.
And that’s it! You’ve now successfully painted over non-paintable caulk.
What Will Happen if You Leave Caulk Unpainted?
Freshly applied caulk on window trim looks fine when it’s first applied. Over time, however, caulk can change color, become brittle and even crack.
If you choose not to paint over the caulk, it will eventually discolor and become yellow or brown even faster.
Also, if the caulk is located in an area where there is a lot of water or moisture, it can begin to degrade and crumble over time.
In some cases, the unpainted caulk may even start to get mildew that can be difficult to clean and remove later.
Paintable caulk is designed to be durable and withstand the elements, so it’s always best to paint over it to help extend its lifespan.
Why You Should Not Paint Directly Over Non-Paintable Caulk?
Many times homeowners will try to paint directly over non-paintable caulk in an effort to save time. However, I will not recommend this option for several reasons.
Firstly, non-paintable caulk is not meant to be painted over and will not adhere properly to paint. This can cause the caulk to crack, peel, and flake off over time.
It’s also essential to note that not all paintable caulks are compatible with all types of paint.
For example, some latex-based caulks can only be painted over with latex paints. If you use an incompatible paint, the caulk will not adhere correctly and will start to peel and flake off.
In some cases, you might find a paintable caulk that is compatible with the paint you’re using. However, it’s always the best option to consult with a professional to be sure.
The bottom line
Attempting to paint over non-paintable silicone caulk is a time-consuming process that often results in poor results.
It’s always best to use a paintable caulk like acrylic caulk and then paint over it to achieve the best results.
This will ensure that the caulking you put adheres properly and lasts for many years without getting cracked.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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