Caulking is needed for multiple home renovation projects all the time. It is used everywhere for sealing sinks, bathtubs, showers, window panes, and even concrete pavements. But caulk also takes some time to set, and if it comes in contact with moisture before the caulk is cured, it can lead to a lot of problems.
If caulk gets wet before it cures, then the moisture cannot evaporate quickly. This can extend the time taken by the caulk to dry up. In some instances, it may also become difficult to achieve proper adhesion. Too much moisture can also lead to the growth of mold and mildew.
Caulk cures quicker in a dry, and well-aired surrounding. Allowing moisture to settle on the caulking before it fully dries up will only cause damage. Keep reading to see how it can be detrimental to wet the caulk before it cures completely.
Caulk Cures Quicker in a Dry Environment
Moisture only delays the curing process for water-based caulking. Caulk cures quicker in a dry and airy environment. Most manufacturers give instructions based on ideal temperatures and humidity, but these levels vary from place to place and affect the time taken for the caulking to cure.
Too Much Moisture May Cause the Caulking to Split
If a caulking tube is left sitting on water or rain, it may sometimes split open under pressure. To prevent this, better to wrap duct tape around the tube to prevent it from splitting. Also, avoiding moisture altogether is another good way to avoid this damage.
Water Will Hinder Bonding
If there is debris on the surface, or dirt, peeling paint, mold, old caulk, rust, or even moisture, it will prevent the caulk from bonding into a cohesive sealant and may even lead the caulk to fall off instead of sticking to the surface. To help the caulk to cure faster, clean the surface first and then wipe to remove excess moisture before applying the caulk.
Too Much Moisture Will Extend the Curing Process
Running water on fresh caulk will also disturb the caulking and cause delays in the curing process. In the presence of heavy moisture, the cure time will also increase proportionately. Placing a fan in the room helps speed up the process.
This video shares three caulking tips for excellent results:
Moisture May Lead to Mold and Mildew
Wet caulking may lead to a host of problems, including the growth of mold and mildew. If there is moisture introduced to fresh caulking that has not cured properly yet, it will do more harm than good. Caulking’s purpose is to seal off an area from dirt, germs, and insects, but moisture in the caulking will quickly turn into mold and mildew.
Running Water on Uncured Caulking Causes It to Crack and Wash Out
Wet surfaces will make it difficult to attain proper adhesion. It may also prevent the curing of the caulk. If there is a probability of rain within 24 hours, it is advisable not to apply the caulking but to wait it out. However, suppose it is necessary to get caulking done despite the rain and snow forecasts.
In that case, it is better to cover the work with a plastic tarp to prevent moisture from getting onto the caulk, which may cause a crack, or worse, wash out.
Humidity Affects the Time Taken for Caulking to Cure
Depending on humidity levels in an environment where the caulking is done: the timeframe for curing of caulking may differ. Caulking will take longer to cure in a home with high humidity and vice versa.
Other Caulks Can Cure Quickly and Endure Moisture
There are some products in the market, mostly silicone-based caulking, such as the GE5040 Advanced Silicone 2 Kitchen & Bath Sealant, that can actually dry and cure very quickly and endure moisture in the surroundings.
The process of curing caulk goes on after it is applied to a surface. You need to budget the number of hours it will take to dry based on the instructions provided in the product package and consider the temperature, weather, and humidity in the air to arrive at a practical time-frame within which the caulking would be cured.
For water-based caulking in dry climates, you might need to wait up to 48 hours before wetting the caulk. In a more humid environment, the amount of time taken for the caulking to dry up and cure completely will increase.