Upgraded Gear is supported by its readers. We may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you when buying using a link on our site.
The most common reasons to caulk your home are to seal gaps and cracks in your window frames and doors, or between bricks and mortar. But what caulk should you use? It’s more important than you think. There are a few important considerations when choosing the right caulk, chief among them is the caulk’s ability to stand the test of time.
To create this article, we spent hours researching product data and user reviews for different exterior caulk for windows, doors, & brick. After reviewing the data, we've compiled a list of our top picks.
Tip: If you need help, then we recommend skipping ahead to our buying guide which lists important things to consider when purchasing a exterior caulk for windows, doors, & brick.
|OSI Quad||Best Overall||Type of Caulk: Elastomeric Sealant||Durability: 25 years||Fills Gaps: 3/8 inches||VIEW LATEST PRICE||Read Our Analysis|
|Sascho Big Stretch||Best for Large Gaps||Type of Caulk: Elastomeric Sealant||Durability: Unspecified||Fills Gaps: 2 inches||VIEW LATEST PRICE||Read Our Analysis|
|OSI Quad Max||Premium Choice||Type of Caulk: Elastomeric Sealant||Durability: 15 years||Fills Gaps: 5/8 inches||VIEW LATEST PRICE||Read Our Analysis|
|Gorilla Silicone Sealant Tube||DIY Choice for Silicone||Type of Caulk: 100% Silicone||Durability: Lifetime Guarantee||Fills Gaps: 1/2 inches||VIEW LATEST PRICE||Read Our Analysis|
|GE Sealants Supreme Silicone||Premium Choice for Silicone||Type of Caulk: 100% Silicone||Durability: Lifetime Guarantee||Fills Gaps: 1/2 inches||VIEW LATEST PRICE||Read Our Analysis|
|Gorilla Silicone Sealant Squeeze Tube||Best for Small Jobs||Type of Caulk: 100% Silicone||Durability: Lifetime Guarantee||Fills Gaps: 1/2 inches||VIEW LATEST PRICE||Read Our Analysis|
More Details on Our Top Picks
Best OverallShop Now at Amazon
OSI QUAD is the best choice for most outdoor caulking jobs if you want superior performance. It comes highly recommended by the experts. OSI QUAD is the preferred cold water sealant for exterior windows and doors, PVC trim, fiber-cement siding, vinyl siding, and roofs. It adheres to a variety of materials, including cedar, painted or stained woods, fiberglass, vinyl, coated aluminum, steel, metal, and brick.
It can be used on both dry and wet surfaces. The material is permanently flexible and allows for three times the stretch in joints. It is resistant to UV rays and will not crack or yellow. It can be used on larger joints than 1/4", but larger joints than 3/8" require a backer material. Note that it does have a 23% shrinkage when cured, so you might want to apply a little extra when creating each caulk bead.
This caulk is sticky when it comes to application (compared to pure silicone caulk). Because it cannot be removed with water or soap, apply it slowly. It's difficult to remove once it's on there, and it basically sticks to everything. It is our recommended caulk for outdoor caulking.
Best for Large GapsShop Now at Amazon
Sascho Big Stretch caulk is an elastomeric sealant with excellent indoor and outdoor performance. The caulk can fill gaps up to two inches wide without sagging. It also lives up to its name, as the Big Stretch caulk can stretch up to 500% in length without cracking! This is great if you're worried about settling or expansion caused by humidity changes. As Sascho's caulk is formulated for indoor and outdoor use, paint-ready time takes a hit and is 48 hours. Even so, for a caulk that is truly universal, the extra time to paint isn't a dealbreaker.
Premium ChoiceShop Now at Amazon
OSI Quad Max is the professional caulking choice that offers superior adhesion to a wide variety of exterior surfaces and materials. Once it's dried, Quad Max caulk turns into a flexible, non-tacky weatherproof barrier. It's quick and easy to apply, cures quickly, it's paintable in one hour, and it provides superior adhesion to all surfaces. Quad Max offers maximum durability with a Class 50 joint movement capability due to its 5x stretch. Ideal for indoor/outdoor use. It is suitable for decks, siding, roofs, and other applications requiring a high level of durability.
Last but not least, this sealant will never shrink, unlike OSI Quad, which shrinks by 23%. Since there is no shrinkage, you can save some money by using less caulk. The combination of these features makes OSI Quad Max the professional choice for exterior caulking.
DIY Choice for SiliconeShop Now at Amazon
Gorilla 100% Silicone Sealant is an excellent choice for the average DIYer. It's made of pure silicone, which means it's completely waterproof and won't yellow, shrink, or crack. It also provides excellent protection against severe weather and damage. The Gorilla sealant also offers a lifetime guarantee (but it doesn't extend to mold and mildew resistance).
The benefit of silicone caulk is that it can be used both inside and outside. It's ideal for use in the kitchen and bathroom, as well as around windows, doors, plumbing, and gutters. However, silicone is not paintable and does not adhere well to some surfaces, such as brick, masonry, cementitious materials, or metals prone to corrosion.
Premium Choice for SiliconeShop Now at Amazon
GE Sealants Supreme Silicone is the best choice for a silicone caulk because it comes with a lifetime guarantee, which even covers mold and mildew. This caulk is entirely silicone so it's totally waterproof and offers the ultimate protection against severe weather and water damage, resulting in a freeze and sun-proof seal that will withstand the elements year after year.
Additional features include stain resistance and a lifetime mold and mildew guarantee. It's also more flexible than other sealants and it features 7x stronger adhesion. Finally, it's rain ready in 30 minutes and resistant to shrinking and cracking.
Now before pull tigger and use this as your next sealant option, keep in mind two important things about silicone. First, it doesn't adhere well to some surfaces, such as wood, vinyl, galvanized metal, masonry and shingles. Second, silicone cannot be painted because the paint won't stick. But if you plan on caulking a non-porous surface and don't need to paint the caulk, then this is the best choice.
Best for Small JobsShop Now at Amazon
This is the squeeze tube version of the Gorilla 100% Silicone Sealant. It's an excellent choice for the average DIYer. It is ideal for small jobs because it is easy to control the amount of material you put out. You just squeeze the tube.
It is completely waterproof and will not yellow, shrink, or crack because it is made of pure silicone. It dries in 30 minutes and provides excellent weather and damage protection.
Silicone caulk's versatility allows it to be used both inside and outside. It is suitable for use in the kitchen and bathroom. It is also ideal for windows, doors, plumbing, and gutters. It is not, however, paintable and does not adhere well to bricks, masonry, cementitious materials, or corrosive metals like brass and galvanized metals. .
Finding the perfect exterior caulk can be a challenging experience. With a variety of adhesives and applications, no two caulks are alike. Here are the most important things to consider before making a purchase.
The caulking product you choose for use on a home's exterior is a big deal and completely different from choosing interior caulk.
You can find a lot of different types of interior caulk, such as acrylic caulk, acrylic latex caulk, and polyurethane caulk.
In general, the two main categories of caulk recommended for exterior caulking, where exposure to the elements is present, include 100% silicone caulk and an elastomeric sealant (which is formulated with polymers and advanced synthetic resins).
Before we get started, you might be wondering what the difference between "caulk" and "sealants". Although the two terms are interchangeable, a sealant usually refers to a caulk that is more flexible than a standard caulk like plain acrylic. But aside from that, the label doesn't matter much. It's what's inside that counts (just like mom always used to say).
Silicone caulk are rated for exterior use and interior use. Because of its natural flexibility, it makes an excellent waterproof seal around an exterior door or window. It does not shrink or crack when exposed to water. Because it is waterproof, it is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
Siliconized caulk is also naturally mold and mildew resistant, making it ideal for areas that are frequently exposed to water. It also performs impressively in extreme temperatures, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of applications.
However, because it is waterproof, it repels water and liquids such as paint. As a result, if you need exterior painting to match, then avoid a silicone sealant.
So, if you're sealing around an exterior door or window frame, go with clear silicone or one that matches the surrounding area.
Another disadvantage is that 100% pure silicone caulk cannot bond to porous materials such as wood, stone, or a brick surface. So, for those applications, select a non-silicone product.
Elastomeric sealants are a type of specialty caulk that includes anything other than silicone, acrylic, or polyurethane. OSI Quad, Sasco Big Stretch, and other types of flexible caulking are among the products in this category (also known as hybrid caulks).
Each product in this category has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of using an elastomeric sealant over pure silicone are its strong seal to porous surfaces and paintability. It's an excellent choice for sealing gaps where an aluminum water table meets your brick, as door caulk, and around a brick-encased exterior window. An elastomeric sealant caulk is also useful for sealing gaps between concrete blocks and painted or unpainted wood.
What are the drawbacks? In general, and depending on the product, you can expect these products to last 15 to 25 years if they are exposed to sunlight. In contrast to 100 percent pure silicone, many elastomeric sealants contain additives that degrade over time when exposed to ultraviolet light. However, there aren't many better options for sealing around exterior brick, an exterior window, door, or wood.
|Model||Type of Caulk|
|GE Supreme Silicone||100% Silicone|
|Gorilla Silicone Squeeze Tube||100% Silicone|
|Gorilla Silicone Tube||100% Silicone|
|OSI Quad||Elastomeric Sealant|
|OSI Quad Max||Elastomeric Sealant|
|Sascho Big Stretch||Elastomeric Sealant|
Caulk's durability rating works in the same way that a warranty does. In general, a manufacturer may warrant the caulk to perform as described for a specified number of years. What happens if it doesn't? They will refund your money if you show them the receipt.
So here's the problem. Will you still live in the same house in 50 years, have the same caulk on your brickwork, have your receipt, and be willing to go through all the trouble for a few dollars' refund? No, it's unlikely. The average homeowner does not keep caulking receipts.
How can we benefit from the durability rating? Easy. It serves as a good guide for the caulk's lifespan. If you want caulk that will last longer, buy a higher durability caulk.
When used correctly, caulk fills in cracks and gives you a polished appearance. However, you'll need to invest in proper caulking to achieve a professional appearance. You'll need one that's rated for the size of the gaps between your brick, door, or window.
On one end of the spectrum, some exterior caulk can only fill gaps as small as 3/8 inch, while others can fill gaps as large as 2 inches!
What happens if you use caulk that isn't rated for the size of gap you have? Instead of completely filling the gap, the caulk bead will fall (slump) into it.
The viscosity of caulk is usually proportional to how well it seals a gap. Caulk with a higher viscosity moves more slowly and holds its shape better when filling voids than caulk with a lower viscosity.
Using a backer rod is a simple way to prevent caulk from slumping. It's a foam rod that you insert into larger gaps and cover with caulk.
|GE Supreme Silicone||1/2 inches|
|Gorilla Silicone Squeeze Tube||1/2 inches|
|Gorilla Silicone Tube||1/2 inches|
|Sascho Big Stretch||2 inches|
|OSI Quad||3/8 inches|
|OSI Quad Max||5/8 inches|
The time needed for curing differs from the time needed for painting. In general, the cure time denotes when the caulk has reached its final form.
This is critical when applying exterior caulk!
Assume you're using caulk to seal up the brickwork around your windows. If you have a heavy rainstorm before the caulk creates a weatherproof seal, it can cause holes and gaps in the caulk, reducing its durability and allowing water in. Just remember to plan ahead of time and keep an eye on the weather forecast.
Paintability is not a major consideration when selecting caulk for interior applications because the majority of interior caulk can be painted. Exterior caulk, on the other hand, is a completely different story. It is not possible to paint exterior silicone caulk. You'll have to make do with whatever color the caulk happens to be.
Silicone caulk, on the other hand, comes in a variety of colors, including white, clear, and beige, and can be used in a variety of applications. Also, if you're trying to match it to vinyl siding, you should be able to find the right color silicone siding sealant for your needs.
However, if you need to paint the caulk to match, get paintable caulk. This means you'll need to purchase a paintable elastomeric sealant. It's not rocket science, but it's something to think about when looking for exterior caulk to use on brick, around vinyl siding, and as a door sealant.
|OSI Quad Max||1 hour|
|Sascho Big Stretch||48 hours|
|OSI Quad||After Cured|
|GE Supreme Silicone||No|
|Gorilla Silicone Squeeze Tube||No|
|Gorilla Silicone Tube||No|
Many people make the mistake of buying a non-flexible caulk, filling a large gap with it, and then thinking they're finished. So, what comes next? Winter has arrived, and the lovely caulk job has developed cracks! If you haven't figured it out yet, filling cracks is a pain.
What causes this to happen? As the seasons change, so does the humidity, causing the materials to swell or shrink.
The best way to avoid cracks is to use a flexible caulk. How can you tell if the caulk you're going to use is flexible? It is typically printed directly on the caulk tube. Any caulk containing silicone, an advanced polymer, or an elastomeric sealant is likely to be flexible and, as a result, crack resistant.
|Model||Joint Movement Capability|
|Sascho Big Stretch||25% tested (but stretches 500%)|
|GE Supreme Silicone||50%|
|Gorilla Silicone Squeeze Tube||50%|
|Gorilla Silicone Tube||50%|
|OSI Quad Max||50%|
Unless you intend to caulk in the winter, the application temperature rating for caulk is usually unimportant. Who wants to caulk when it's 20 degrees outsize? That's crazy! But there are times when you have to do what you have to do and caulk in cold temperatures.
Silicone has the advantage of being able to be applied in temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit (even though most manufacture labels will say that 0 degrees is the limit).
The biggest disadvantage of silicone caulk is water, not application temperature (though that's a different topic). Simply make sure the area is completely dry before applying silicone caulk. When it's foggy outside, you shouldn't use silicone caulk since it won't seal properly.
What about hot temperatures? In general, most exterior caulk can be applied in temperatures up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and some can even be applied up to 140 degrees!
Excess caulk cleanup is generally not a major concern when selecting outdoor caulk. Almost all require the use of mineral spirit to clean up, which is inconvenient. However, once you've mastered caulking, you should be fine. If you learn how to caulk properly, you will have very little mess.
Remember to use the soapy finger method when smoothing out your caulk bead for a smooth finish. Simply smear some dish soap on your finger and smooth out the caulk bead for a clean finish. Because most caulk does not adhere to soap, it will not adhere to your finger, resulting in a smooth, mess-free bead.
Finally, before you buy, decide whether you want 10.1-ounce cartridge tubes or 5.5-ounce squeeze tubes.
The larger cartridge tubes make sense if you have a lot of places to seal. It's less expensive and requires less effort on your part. To get started, you'll need a caulk gun. If you don't already have one, a manual plunger-style gun can be purchased for $10 to $50. A cordless caulking gun is the next step up, and they range in price from $75 to $250. You can save money by purchasing just the tool if you already have a compatible battery.
What about the squeeze tubes for caulk? When is the best time to put them to use? A squeeze tube is ideal for touch-ups when you don't have a lot of caulk to apply. It's also useful when the area is in a hard-to-reach place where your caulk gun won't fit. In this case, a squeeze tube is an excellent choice.
The main disadvantage of squeeze tubes, aside from the price per ounce, is the limited color selection. The most common colors are clear, white, and tan.