Caulking or painting with primer first is a MAJOR dilemma among house painters and homeowners alike. The trouble is that sometimes there is reason to paint before caulking and reason to caulk first. Here we will tell you when to caulk and why.
Generally if possible you want to caulk AFTER the prime coat. When everything is primed white, every line that needs to be caulked will be blatantly obvious. Plus primer bonds to any surface much better than caulk alone.
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Caulking First For Exterior Painting?
Exterior surfaces are of course more dirty than any interior painted surface, even after a good washing. For this reason we always caulk after the prime coat on exterior surfaces. Good quality primer will not be compromised by a little dirt in a corner but caulking could be totally compromised.
However, if you are not applying a prime coat you DEFINITELY should caulk before you do your exterior house painting.
Caulking First For Interior Painting?
Caulking trim and other interior painted surfaces can be dirty too. However nowadays most are not using primer for interior house painting projects. Therefore you want to clean any interior surface well enough for your caulking to bond well.
Caulking Dry Time
Caulking dry time is important too. If you are caulking AFTER a prime coat, leaving the caulking to dry long enough is very important. Caulk that is painted over too soon will loose much of its bonding properties and many times also causes the paint to fail.
When To Caulk AFTER Painting
There are a few times where caulking after you paint is very appropriate. A clean caulk line over fully dried paint is appropriate when you are meeting a paint finish with an unpainted surface like a counter top or another surface in a wet area. This is also an opportunity to use a stronger non paintable caulk.