What is Butyl Caulking Sealant – How to Use It?

usage of butyl caulking sealant

You probably have used caulk to seal up cracks in the walls and joints of your home.

It’s simple to use yet quite effective and can last for many years with the right product that is properly applied.

 Butyl is a type of caulking that is designed for exterior use. You will see this type of caulking used on chimneys, gutters, and other harder surfaces that are exposed to the elements. 

What makes this type of caulking desirable for outdoor use is that it is waterproof and resists the elements.

 But what makes this type of caulking well suited for exterior use, and how do you apply it to cracks or gaps? 

What is Butyl Caulking?

What makes this type of caulking different than acrylic latex, which is used on interiors, is that this product contains butyl rubber. 

The rubber is quite effective as it is naturally waterproof along with being elastic.

This means that once the caulk cures in the gap or crack, it will not only prevent water from entering but it can also shrink or expand to keep the gap filled. 

And while there are other types of caulking that offer these advantages, an additional benefit to butyl is that it can bind with so many different types of material. 

      1- Concrete

      2- Glass

      3- Masonry

      4- Metal

      5- Wood

This makes butyl caulking quite effective and efficient because it can bind with most of the materials used to make up a home, building, or structure. 

This type of versatility means you can start on the roof and use it to seal joints or fill up cracks in the chimney. 

Then you can move down to the walls and use it on the aluminum siding to plug up the gaps.

And then go into your basement or outdoor foundations to address issues affecting the concrete. 

ways to apply butyl caulking

How to Apply Butyl Caulking? 

The first step is to wear the proper clothing and protection. This means long sleeves and gloves so that the caulk does not meet the skin. Eye protection is needed as well. 

The area in which you are applying the caulk should be well-ventilated. If you are outdoors, this should not be an issue. 

But if you are indoors such as in the basement or garage, then use a fan to circulate the air and wear a respirator. 

Once you are finished applying the caulk, be sure to change your clothes and wash them along with washing your hands.

Butyl caulking can be applied to cracks and gaps, much like caulking made from other materials.

Because it can seal up a variety of surfaces, you can stick with butyl when waterproofing or exposure to the elements is needed. 

You start by cleaning away the surface. This means that you should remove any loose mortar, dust, and old finishes that might be peeling or otherwise compromised. 

You can use a power washer or a wire brush to scrub the surface thoroughly to ensure that it is clean and free of loose material.

Be sure to let it dry before applying the caulk. 

As part of the cleaning process, any mold that is present should also be removed as well. You can do this with a mixture of one part bleach and ten parts of water. 

Spray on the solution, let it kill the mold, then wipe away the remains or rinse using a power washer and let it fully dry. 

Once the area is clean and dry, apply the butyl caulk to the crack or gap.

To be fully effective, the temperature must be between 40- and 120 degrees F. If it is too cold or too hot, the caulk will not properly stick to the surface. 

If the temperature is towards the upper ranges, then you may not need to heat the caulk in order to apply it. 

However, if it is towards the colder ranges, then heat the caulk by soaking the tube in warm water for about 20 minutes. 

Cut the tip of the tube at a 45-degree angle. Load the tube into the caulk gun and squeeze the trigger to begin. 

You should test the caulk first to ensure that the flow is proper. Use paper or some other material that can be thrown away once the testing is complete. 

Now, set the tip at a 30-degree angle to the gap or crack and apply the caulk. Run the tip from one side of the crack to the other, filling the opening. 

Once the gap has been filled, use a tool to smooth out the caulk. Depending on the brand you purchase, there may be specific instructions as to how to apply, smooth, or shape the caulk. 

Let the caulk fully dry and check it to ensure that it has properly filled the gap. 

Butyl caulk will last for a long time under normal conditions. The butyl rubber component is extremely durable and will last for years, even under extreme conditions. 

You should regularly inspect the caulk once a year to ensure that it is still intact.

If you see signs of cracking or flaking, then you will need to remove the caulk and add another round. 

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