caulk cracked immediately!

pitpatSeptember 1, 2011

DH caulked around our chair rail a few days ago (there are gaps), and the caulk cracked immediately. He used brand new DAP Alex Plus. Is there something else we should try? TIA

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ionized_gw

pPc? Details about width and depth of area caulked?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 5:56PM
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pitpat

This is what DH said:
The top of the chair rail is about 1/8" wide. The depth varied �" at times there was none (where the chair rail was flush with the wall), but in other spots there was as much as an 1/8" gap. The crack runs almost the entire length of the area caulked, so depth doesn't seem to be the issue. Would it crack if I smoothed the caulk too thin(ly)?

also, out of curiosity, what does "pPc" mean? Not "pay-per-click," I imagine.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 9:31AM
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ionized_gw

Oops, that was supposed to be Pic for picture. Sometimes said to be worth a thousand words.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 6:36PM
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paintguy22

Caulk isn't really meant to fill gaps that large even though people do it all the time. Yes, applying the caulk with too much water will cause it to crack and applying caulk into big gaps will cause it to crack also. You will need to apply the caulk multiple times anyway in order to account for the shrinking. If you can push on the chair rail and it moves, this is another reason that the caulk may crack there. Can you use some nails to tighten up the gap?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 8:49AM
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pitpat

Here ya go.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 8:52AM
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pitpat

We weren't 100% sure about caulking the gap, so I guess we have our answer now. :( However, the crack does run the length of the rail, even where there was no gap, so I'm not sure if that was the problem. Regardless, do we just need to keep applying small beads until it doesn't crack?

This has been so frustrating!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 9:05AM
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pitpat

We weren't 100% sure about caulking the gap, so I guess we have our answer now. :( However, the crack does run the length of the rail, even where there was no gap, so I'm not sure if that was the problem. Regardless, do we just need to keep applying small beads until it doesn't crack?

This has been so frustrating!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 5:04PM
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sombreuil_mongrel

The only two hints I can give:
1) Primer before caulking on new sheetrock , because caulk sticks a lot better to painted materials than raw ones.
2) If the gap is "healthy", use a caulk with more solids/water ratio, like Big Stretch caulk. Since there is less water, it really does not shrink down very much as it dries.
Casey

    Bookmark   September 3, 2011 at 5:54PM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

Spend a few extra dollars on a good flexible caulk and follow the instructions.

Dynaflex is one quality caulk that is elastomeric and will perform much better than the inexpensive Alex caulk.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 8:52AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes

Did you tool the caulk in place?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 10:09AM
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snookums2

What do you mean by tool the caulk. Do you think its' necessary to use one of those little caulking tools? I haven't come across that tip yet.

(I know this is an old thread).

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 9:47PM
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paintguy22

No, tooling just means using your finger to smooth the caulk into the gap evenly.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 11:20PM
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snookums2

okay, thanks.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 9:27AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

I am guessing it cracked because it was lousy caulk. Polyseamseal and White Lightning are two brands to avoid. Polyseamseal will crack because it is just not flexible enough. W/L will crack because what do you expect at that price point? It is more water than solids, shrinks back a lot.
If you work the caulk too much, it may separate because not enough was left to fillet across the gap.
Casey

    Bookmark   November 22, 2012 at 9:34AM
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ctilley

Alex plus is supposed to be a better caulk. It is siliconized, so It is supposed to give more.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 11:33AM
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PRO
Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

quote"Alex plus is supposed to be a better caulk."

It is not. It would be at the lower end of the quality scale

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 4:57AM
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snookums2

Use a good elastomeric caulk like DAP Dynaflex 230 that meets Class 25 specs. Don't use cheap painter's caulk.

Make sure the joint is clean, dust free and dry.

Apply to a primed/painted surface, not bare absorbent ones (wood, drywall board, plaster, etc).

The trim etc. expands and contracts seasonally, so if possible, I would also caulk at a time when the humidity level is mid-point for the room. If the range spans 50-75, then around 60+.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 4:07PM
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