Acoustic Caulk – Regular vs. Sealant

When soundproofing an area, you need to take account of everything from what you will apply, how you will apply it, and the method to use. Equally as significant are the gaps. Leaving gaps can ruin the whole soundproofing job you have done as they could still let some sound pass. To save the situation acoustic caulk will prove useful.

It is a sealant that you can use to seal off the gaps that cause sound leakage. You can use the caulk as a sound inhibitor, but it also has multiple benefits. This article will highlight all you need to know about acoustic caulk, its benefits, and the difference between acoustical and regular caulk.

The Difference Between Acoustic Caulk and Regular Caulk

The-difference-between-acoustic-caulk-and-regular-caulk
Photo credit: soundproofcentral 

Acoustic caulk is a flexible sealant that is used to cover holes or gaps when soundproofing a room. The caulk does not harden, making it last longer as it does not form cracks. It is highly efficient when closing any airways because of its remarkable features, which are:

  • No cracks or shrinkage
  • Flexibility
  • Durable
  • It is a permanent solution

The main thing that sets acoustic caulk apart from regular caulk is flexibility. Acoustical caulk holds its flexibility permanently, which is why most people prefer it to regular caulk.

Regular caulk shrinks fast and cracks easily because it hardens. The cracks can now let in air, which will, in turn, let in sound, negating the work you put in. if you want to have a more permanent soundproof solution for your project, your best choice is an acoustic sealant.

Another difference between the two is that acoustic caulk lasts longer and is inflammable. It is made of rubber-like materials that add to its flexibility. The material also makes it easy for acoustical caulk to adhere to any material the area you are soundproofing is made of. It does not fall off and will tightly stick to the surface. Because it won’t shrink or crack, it will stay supple for many years, making it a more permanent solution.

The acoustic sealant acts as a vapor blocker as well. This feature, combined with the rubber design, helps to eliminate sound penetration and reduce transmission. Some of the other features that make acoustic caulk better than regular caulk are:

  • Easy to apply
  • Remains soft and supple
  • Does not change shape
  • Reduces sound and draft transmission
  • It is flexible, allowing it to fit small holes and gaps.

Best Acoustic Caulks

Now that you know the benefits of acoustic caulk, the question that remains is, what caulk should I choose? Well, here is our list of the best acoustic caulks you can get:

Trademark Soundproofing Acoustical Caulk

This is a water-based latex acoustical caulk that perfectly blocks sound. It is paintable and dries within 48 hours, and does not have a significant odor. You can use the caulk to stop noise leaks through doors, windows, and plugging holes.

The sealant is different from the Green Glue Damping, which is used for soundproofing between rigid building membranes. The Damping is effective for the entire soundproofing job, while this sealant works better in small gaps and holes.

Because of its great stretch and flexibility, this sealant only gets better with age. Depending on the environmental and weather changes, it can contract and expand without forming any cracks. This makes it suitable for use over long periods without losing its effectiveness.

Features

  • Easy to apply
  • Dries quickly
  • Doesn’t have a strong odor
  • Perfectly blocks sound from entering gaps and holes
  • Great stretch and flexibility

St. Gobain Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant (28 oz)

This noise-proofing sealant is non-hazardous and has a unique advantage; it does not have an odor. The sealant dries quickly, sealing gaps in a matter of minutes, and it only takes 48 hours for the sealed parts to completely dry.

The primary use for the sealant is sound deadening, and it is exceptionally good at it. It is also super flexible and will stay pliant and allow movements without forming cracks while it cures. Its elasticity and stretch are just the cherries on top of an already great product.

The sealant comes in different colors, which means you can pick a color that corresponds with the room you want to soundproof. You can use the white or clear one if you want something more conventional, but you have the choice of picking between black, tan, grey, limestone, brown, and many other colors. The variety gives it a massive advantage over other sealants with only a few color variations.

Features

  • It dries quickly
  • Remains pliable and flexible even as it ages
  • Is completely effective in reducing sound transmission.

Sashco 10016 Big Stretch Caulk 10.5 oz Cartridge

Sashco has incredible characteristics that make it stand heads above other sealants, making it one of the best acoustic caulk sealants in the market. It adheres exceptionally well, which is what you want in a sealant. It is also super flexible, stretching over time instead of cracking.

Another great characteristic of the sealant is its ease of application. It comes in cans with nozzle applicators, so all you have to do is point and spray. You can also use your fingers to apply, but make sure to wear protective gloves when you do. It also does not harden while it dries and stays flexible throughout.

The sealant turns clear while drying, making it easy for you to monitor the progress. You can quickly catch any errors you made in the sealing job and have enough time to rectify them. The sealant can be used on interior walls, doors, vents, baseboards, windows, and numerous other places, like using it as crown molding.

It has impressive stretching capabilities, stretching to over 500% of its size, way better than any other sealant. The stretch makes it so good that it only gets better with time. Let the material you treat the sealant with expanding and contract regularly to accommodate the different temperature changes. Also, do not apply the sealant in areas with frequent contact with water, like roofs or pools, as prolonged water exposure can take away its curing effect.

Features

  • Easy application on all surfaces
  • Adheres well to all surfaces
  • Easy to paint and clean
  • Stays flexible throughout
  • Turns clear while it dries

Acoustic Caulk Uses

Acoustic caulk is effective in filling small gaps, holes, and seams. Whenever you have a joint or gap between two materials, for example, walls and ceilings, you apply the sealant to stop any air and sound from passing through. You can also use it around electrical wiring, doors, or windows. The sealant does not just seal the outlets; it secures them too, protecting them from air and water.

Remember, however, not to use the sealant in underwater applications. It can only hold its shape when exposed to water applied on surfaces outside the house. Being submerged underwater for a long time makes the sealant soft, reversing the curing process and ruining its effectiveness.

If you are looking to soundproof an area that will be submerged or exposed to water, use the regular silicone caulk, which can survive such conditions. One good example is the Gorilla Silicone Sealant. It is waterproof and resistant to mold and mildew and can survive wet environments for longer periods.

Some of the most suitable places to apply acoustic caulk are:

  • Joints on soundproofing in ceilings
  • Joints on floor construction
  • Exposed spaces between drywalls
  • Around electric outlets and wiring
  • While weatherstripping doors or windows

You must cover all gaps when doing soundproofing because any area that can let in air lets in noise as well. You can make your sealant more effective by applying tape or spackle over the sealant while it dries.

Acoustic Caulk Application

Applying acoustic caulk is an easy process, no matter which one you use. The whole application process takes 30 minutes or less. Here are the steps to follow when applying the sealant:

1. Prep the Room

Since you are applying a chemical product, make sure you work in an area with a lot of ventilation. Even though the sealant does not have a strong odor, it is still overpowering and can cause lightheadedness. Protect yourself and open all the windows and doors in the area you are working in.

2. Clean the Drywall

Before you start applying the sealant, make sure you clean the drywall to get rid of dirt, dust, or debris. This is a necessary step to make sure the sealant will adhere to the surface better. The dirt can affect the curing process and the sealant’s elasticity, so make sure to wipe down the drywall entirely for better results.

3. Cut the Nozzle

Most sealants have a nozzle on the bottles or cans, and you will need to cut it to form a hole. The size of the hole will depend on the seam or gap you want to seal. Use a sharp object to cut the nozzle for a smooth tip. Some guns have an inbuilt tip cutter on the handle that you can squeeze to cut the tip.

Since you will be applying the caulk by holding the caulking gun at an angle, you should also cut the tip at an angle too. This will help you apply in a smooth line, stop the gun’s stuttering, and make your job easier.

4. Apply with a Caulking Gun

A caulking gun is specially designed for applying the sealant, and it is easier to use than squeezing the tubes. You can easily get an ideal gun online, for example, the Cradle Caulking Gun from Amazon. It helps prevent dripping and has padding on the trigger and handle for comfort when applying. It also has a good thrust ratio of 10:1, so you can use it with low viscosity sealants.

Caulking guns are more precise and stop dripping, making for effortless application. You can use painter’s tape to get perfectly straight lines. You should also apply the sealant very quickly because some caulk cures fast, making it hard for you to make any adjustments and finishing touches before it dries.

5. Use a Caulking Tool

Any sealing job needs to be smooth without any bumps and to remove them you will need a caulking tool. The tool helps smooth over the beads to give you a nice, smooth finishing. Be light-handed when using the tool as you do not want to remove the caulk, but smooth it.

The Caulking Tool Kit can help you clean over and repair any residual sealant, helping to improve the overall aesthetic. You can use the kit anywhere to clean bumps even in areas and angles that are hard to reach.

6. Let it Dry

Most acoustic caulk sealants take 48 hours to cure fully. Let it dry for two days before painting anything over it. Do not let it touch any water during the drying process, as this could delay the curing process. Make sure it is completely dry before painting.

Buying Guide

Since there are many acoustic caulks in the market, you may be spoilt for choice on which one to go for. One of the most important things to look out for is the type of sealant. The top three we mentioned above are some of the great acoustic sealants you can get.

You should also look for a sealant that can be painted over. Alternatively, you can also get those with color varieties to save you the painting process. Also, consider the price, equipment, and where you will apply the sealant.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know all there is to know about acoustic sealants, you are ready to start soundproofing your room. Remember, acoustic sealants are suitable for sealing small gaps, holes, and seams, not for the whole soundproofing project.

Find a sealant that is within your price range and will fit your area of application. Make sure you fill all the gaps that could let in air to ensure no sound gets through. The sealant you get should also be stretchy, flexible, and hold its shape without cracking during different weather and environmental changes.

There are many sealants to choose from; the three mentioned above are some of the best you can get in the market. Find one that suits your needs and start sealing.

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