SOLVED: Sanded Vs. Unsanded Caulk: A Summary

Generally speaking, once it comes to sealing in modern residences, caulk is by all accounts one of the leading solutions. Over time, manufacturers of caulks have incorporated quite a few materials into their products for enhanced performance and sand is one of them. In use, sanded as well as unsanded caulks would create solid seals but the differences in their nature lead to unique results in different applications. Thus, the winner in sanded vs. unsanded caulk captures the interest of homeowners who intend to do some sealing with caulk.

Insights Into The Caulks

Sanded vs. Unsanded Caulk: When to Use Each One

Unable to make up your mind between sanded and unsanded caulks? In that case, you have come to the right place. This article could tell everything that you must keep in mind about both types of caulks from performance characteristics to application criteria.

Performance Characteristics Of Sanded And Unsanded Caulks: Breakdowns  


Given proper attention, sanded and unsanded caulks should adhere to surfaces without much difficulty for most of the time. That being said, thanks to the purity of the composition, unsanded caulks prove superior to sanded ones in terms of adhesiveness. The moment unsanded caulks come into contact with surfaces, they stick immediately so spreading them evenly is child’s play. Thus, for creating seals on vertical surfaces, many homeowners consider unsanded caulk to be the winner in sanded vs. unsanded caulk.


All in all, the presence of sand in the composition usually provides sanded caulks with increased durability after they dry. As a result, in normal conditions, seals that incorporate sanded caulks would hold together for years before reapplication becomes necessary. On the other hand, it’s noteworthy that unsanded caulks tend to be less brittle than their sanded counterparts following the conclusion of application. That means depending on the settings, it’s a good idea to go for unsanded caulks instead of sanded ones.

Mold Resistance 

The mold resistance of sanded caulks is subpar which is why they don’t do well in locations with high levels of moisture. Meanwhile, capable of keeping out moisture, unsanded caulks excel at inhibiting the growth of mold over time. Hence, for typical rooms inside your house, feel free to use whatever type of caulks that you like for sealing. However, in the case that you wish to seal rooms that experience a lot of humidity such as bathrooms, you should choose unsanded caulks.


If they get enough time to dry, sanded and unsanded caulks would help seal surfaces but their effects on materials vary. For instance, the use of sand causes sanded caulks to be coarse and that may harm delicate materials including marble, limestone, etc. About unsanded caulk, since their effect on materials is minor, people don’t have to worry much while using them. To ensure that the result of the sealing is as expected, it’s strongly recommended that you take materials of surfaces into account.

Applications Criteria Of The Caulks 

The sealing requirements change from time to time so there is no such thing as a consensus about sanded vs. unsanded caulk. Nonetheless, to make the right call, you should memorize these considerations.

  • Size: For projects that require sealing gaps smaller than ⅛ of an inch, unsanded caulks would be adequate. Still, if you have to seal gaps smaller than ⅛ of an inch, it’s best to use sanded caulks.
  • Aesthetics: The fine texture of unsanded caulks makes them suitable for areas where appearance is a concern. Usually, unsanded caulks blend in instead of standing out like a sore thumb so they match various interior themes. In addition to that, unsanded caulks smoothen the translation from boards to walls which is a big plus. As for spots that stay out of sight in most of the cases, it’s ok to use sanded caulks despite their coarse look.
  • Atmosphere: Sanded caulks work wonders in rooms with dry atmospheres. If you plan to seal rooms with humid atmospheres, it’s widely advised that you prioritize unsanded caulks.
  • Surrounding: Need no-nonsense caulks to seal sanded grouts, tiles and so on? Then you won’t regret using sanded caulks. However, if you wish to seal dedicated materials that cannot handle anything coarse, it’s wise to use unsanded caulks.

How To Apply Caulks: A Homeowner’s Guide 

Sanded Caulk vs. Unsanded | Hunker

Once it comes to the application of caulk, you should refer to the owner’s manual of your product for the best result. Nevertheless, if you could use some guidelines, you may want to take a look at the steps down below.

Step 1: Preparation 

Gather the tools and gears you need for the application. At the very least, make sure that you have a caulk gun, razor blades, painter’s tapes, cloths, rubbing alcohols, … Besides that, you also need to prepare personal protection equipment: goggles, glasses, respirator and so on. Consisting of chemicals, caulks would cause a number of health issues if you let them get on you so be careful.

Step 2: Process The Application Surface

To facilitate the adhering of the caulk, you should use razor blades to get rid of the old caulk. Next, run a vacuum cleaner surface through the application surface to collect debris. For a clean workspace, it’s worth the time and effort to wipe everything using a combination of cloths and rubbing alcohols as well. Last but not least, cover the application surface with painter tapes to keep caulk in a straight line.

Step 3: Apply The Caulk

Open the caulk gun before using it to apply caulk to the surface at a 45-degree angle. At all times, to evenly distribute caulk throughout the gap, you should press the nozzle of the caulk gun against the surface. Afterward, proceed to use your glove to push the caulk in gently to get caulk to fill the entire gap and make the seal less noticeable from the outside. Move on to the next step when the seal is to your liking.

Step 4: Remove The Painter’s Tapes 

As you remove the painter’s tapes, remember to pull them away from the application surface. The last thing you want to see is for the caulk to come out along with the tapes so there is no need to rush here.

Step 5: Wait For The Caulk To Dry 

With the painter’s tapes out of the way, the last thing to do is to wait for the caulk to dry. Depending on the products, it would take between thirty minutes and a hour for the caulk to dry. In the case that you intend to paint the caulk, you have to wait until after the caulk sets in for good and that could take a couple of days.

What you need to know about caulking

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