Cracks symbolize how things are falling apart; as if signaling doom and gloom. For concrete, this seems as badly foreboding as it is also a matter with a simple solution: caulking. In this guide, you’ll find the best type of caulk specially made for concrete cracks.
Cracks can range from disturbing to downright scary, particularly when in the vicinity of foundations, their existence calling to question a building’s (or home’s) structural integrity; such as concrete cracks in walls, the floor, or any concrete surface located at your home, office, or garden.
This guide will take you through several of our picks of the best caulking repair solutions for major and minor cracks that develop in concrete surfaces over time.
Fundamentally, a caulk refers to a dry and less elastic adhesive compound that you can fill in to cracks for repair. Caulks are often also referred to as sealants. While this isn’t technically wrong, there are distinctions between them, as well as between similar materials such as silicone.
In comparison to a sealant (which gets manufactured using flexible materials like silicone), a caulk has a dry and rigid constitution. As such, it best performs in areas where there are less contraction and expansion. They also dry rapidly, while sealants take a much longer period of dry time.
Let’s take these varied but often-confused compounds and uncover their mysteries to determine which caulk is the best at working its magic in repairing concrete cracks at home or any concrete application.
Comparing The Best Caulk For Concrete Cracks 2021
1. General Electric GE5020 Concrete and Masonry Silicone II Caulk
Inspired by NASA’s use of aerospace-grade silicone sealants for sealing astronaut boots to the spacesuits, GE Sealants & Adhesives is an acclaimed name in silicone technology. The brand manufactures a wide variety of premium products that assist projects in the construction industry, and related efforts, whether for professional use or simply for home or personal use.
The General Electric GE5020 caulk comes with a strong pedigree, its brand already known and trusted across diverging industries. Therefore, its innovations don’t come as a surprise, like being one of the very few caulks that you can expose to water shortly after applying. This means that while rain is always a cautionary factor, it doesn’t carry as much danger in neutralizing the caulk’s use when it occurs not long after it was applied.
Three hours is all it takes for this caulk for concrete cracks to build a strong adhesion to the surface and dry; much less time than with other brands that usually take 24 hours, effectively more than increasing the speed and efficiency of work considerably. As such, it’s able to deal with water exposure in style, and more quickly.
Since this is GE, one superpower isn’t enough, and its quick-drying property is paired well with its relative immunity to harsh weather conditions. Neither scorching heat nor freezing cold will keep you up nights worrying about the caulk developing cracks or loosening. After all, the silicone of the GE 5020 comes with permanent flexibility, so even through continuous freeze and thaw, its quality does not degrade.
Regardless of the weather or time of day or year, this caulk will steadfastly hold its ground. It will not shrink, expand unreasonably, or get affected by water exposure. It also provides the cracks it seals protection against mold. This is because the caulk veritably seals, leaving no space even for air, so there is no place or opportunity for mold to grow.
This has complimentary effects such as keeping energy bills from rising or air from seeping through.
What It Lacks in Looks It Makes Up on Function
The GE 5020 Caulk only seems to lack looks. Although the caulk itself features a beautiful gray color that seems to blend well with most pavements, it is non-paintable.
That means if the colors of the surroundings do not match, the filling with this caulk will look out of place, mismatched, or a downright eyesore. This wouldn’t be the case if you want to fill a crack on the ground because cars and human traffic will eventually give it a blackish tint that camouflages it well with the background.
It does its job so well that the outcome of this means that one cannot remove the product once it dries and cures without much effort.
While it dries relatively quickly, depending on the situation you may need to expend a little bit of time and effort for overhead beforehand to prep the condition before application. For example, you may want to first secure the surrounding areas of a surface with masking tape or a related method or material, before then carefully applying the caulk.
Bottom Line: If you want to fill in a crack on the ground or a concrete crack located in an out-of-sight position (for example, a garage), then this is your best option. It fills in the cracks easily and permanently, without making compromises or major tradeoffs.
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Permanent Flexibility
- 10-year mold protection
- Easy Application
- Features a universal and beautiful color
- Difficult to remove after application
- This product is highly durable
- The product is manufactured in United States
- The product is easy to use
2. DAP Self Leveling Concrete Sealant
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One of the daunting challenges people face when caulking is leveling it before it dries. If lumps occur, the uneven, dried caulk would leave an unsightly spot where the repair process could have been completed to include spotless aesthetics. Fast levelling caulk requires practice and a strong skillset. And you’d like to do it without breaking the bank, if you will.
Enter DAP self-leveling concrete sealant. DAP is a known brand relied upon by many in the industry, from professionals to those who use it for their personal repairs at home. The company’s products are known to resolve many a customer’s pain points, and the release of the DAP Self Leveling Concrete Sealant seals this reputation in the caulking community.
Features of DAP’s Self-Leveling Concrete Sealant
DAP’s self-leveling concrete caulk is made of high-quality silicone rubber, with a bias for effective repairs, quality results, and durability. It comes in a squeezable 2 x 2 x 11.25 inch tubes that allow for easier caulking, even though, at 13.3-ounces, it is heavier than most caulks. It has a coverage of 49 linear feet with a 3/16” bead.
The semi-liquid caulk has a gray tint, which may not be universally preferred, with some people outright disliking its dull gray output. Thankfully it is paintable, and although this may mean an additional layer of work and time, it also provides for the ability to have greater control over the affected area’s final aesthetics.
It has relatively negligible order so that the repaired surface will not carry that repaired smell. But one of its notable properties is weather resistance. This DAP concrete caulk does not shrink or contract, and is a mighty contender against the elements. In fact, it is waterproof, and prevents bacterial or mold build-up, making it ideal for usage in the bathroom and kitchen, apart from concrete.
Once applied, the caulk remains in place with dependable tenacity. And as its name highlights, it has self-leveling properties that prevent ugly lump formations, and upon application, levels uniformly without much fuss required.
Its formulation uses its much flaunted Kwik Dry Technology, which guards against exposure to moisture and water after only 3-hours where other brands would have required 24-36 hours of drying.
Bottom Line: All in all, the DAP concrete caulk is a good option for horizontal (parallel to the ground) cracks and surfaces because it has a semi-liquid form, and run along vertical cracks, reducing its effectiveness.
- Self-leveling property
- Less waiting period (3-hours)
- Durable and flexible
- Low odor
- Comes with a lifetime guarantee
- Does not work on vertical cracks
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3. Sikaflex Self Leveling Sealant
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Sika is a Swiss multinational specialty chemical manufacturer that serves across various industries from automotive to home improvement to construction. Its products range in assisting processes like sealing, damping, bonding, reinforcing, and other similar activities.
Its Sikaflex Self-Leveling Sealant is among the essential components of the construction and maintenance industry’s toolsets. It’s one of the cheapest yet best-quality caulks you can get your hands on for concrete cracks.
The Sikaflex sealant compound comes filled in a sturdy bottle that measures 1.85 x 1.85 x 11.5 inches, requiring a caulk gun to get the liquid out and applied.
The product comes in 9, 10.1 and 29 ounces, and while the 10-ounce bottle will suffice for smaller areas, we recommend the 29-ounce package because its ample quantity not just provides for volume discounts, but because it aids in getting the job done quicker for areas whose concrete, by reason of construction processes or weather, are prone to cracking.
It also has a low viscosity, so even though this increases the fluidity of the compound, and it fills the crack quickly, it may take a while to dry completely, erasing expectations of having a capacity for accelerated curing.
Hence, you may not be able to expose it to water or the elements immediately after application, but once dried, it can also be a monster, withstanding adverse effects of weather, exposure to water, and everything else without any evidence of difficulty.
It is capable of bridging gaps of 1.5-2 inches in width, and its adhesive capabilities to a concrete surface deserve high marks, to the point of being downright impressive because filling in even larger gaps doesn’t have to mean compromising aesthetics. This is why Sika AG offers this product in two color variations, gray and sandstone.
And if those two colors still don’t play well with the applied surface’s base or surroundings, you can easily paint with them with your desired hue. The colors may yet fade over time, but will generally retain its vibrance for a considerable amount of time.
While Sika advertises otherwise, you may need to use a caulk gun because it is almost impossible to keep a good degree of control or get the compound where you need to without it. Other than that, the application is easy and smooth.
Bottom Line: Sikaflex self-leveling sealant is a reasonably-priced caulk that does a sterling job with cracks. Unlike DAP’s sealant, this product is the best caulk for vertical concrete cracks. The overhead of needing to buy a caulk gun is a small price to pay for the many features and benefits it provides.
- Weather Resistant
- Easy Application
- Available in two colors
- Low viscosity
- May require the use of tools
- No tooling required, levels itself
- Water immersible after cure
- Able to bridge gaps up to 1. 5 in. wide
Caulk For Concrete Cracks Buyer’s Guide:
When buying the perfect caulk, a wise approach is to know what you seek for your specific use, repair, or situation. Additionally, while the best caulk for concrete cracks reviews given above conveys an ample amount of information to assist your decision in making a purchase, it’s always a good step to examine the nature of the product as well, based on the content as listed in its labels and packaging, and guides such as this and others online.
Learn about its domains, types, usability, temperature tolerance capabilities, and other aspects in detail so that you may decide only the best for yourself.
Types of Caulk
Bfore you begin with your journey towards crack repair, you must first decide whether you want to work with caulk or a sealant. The difference between the two is elasticity.
Once you’ve decided that, you will then need to decide what particular type of caulk you’ll need because there are several different types of caulks, each with its unique purpose and characteristics.
Here are some of the common types of caulks:
- Blacktop Asphalt
- Gutter & Flashing
- Window and Door Interior
If you’re repairing concrete cracks, for example, then you’ll likely require concrete or adhesive caulks, which can fill in gaps as well as resist water and high temperatures. These two types are also suitable for filling in gaps between concrete slabs or cracks between pavements.
The rest should be mostly self-explanatory and dependent on your particular use case.
Apart from categorizing them by their specific use, caulks can also be classified according to their composition. Even in this, you will find two divisions:
Each composition possesses its own set of properties, alongside its own range of benefits and disadvantages. Hence, brands aren’t enough a criterion when making a selection, but you need to take a holistic view and take a keen eye on the way the formulation matches your use case.
Durability & Lifespan
Another aspect of caulks that you need to look into is their durability, longevity, and endurance. Ensure that the product is durable by looking for the following properties:
- Weather resistance
- Abrasion and tear resistance
If the caulk can withstand the adverse effects of blazing heat and chilly winters and does not immediately turn into mush when exposed to water, then you have a candidate!
Additionally, since concrete contracts and expands with temperature, it’s important to look for a caulk that adapts to its changing conditions with its flexibility. It should have enough elasticity to ensure that the repaired crack doesn’t rear its ugly shape again, but doing so in a way that won’t be a tradeoff with another factor.
Along the same lines, it’s wiser to opt for a caulk with greater temperature tolerance. Most caulks handle a minimum of 40°F, but it’s best to require more.
Seeking the sweet spot for a caulk’s elasticity for your particular application need not entail compromises or taking too much time on the hunt.
It means reaching that Goldilocks zone by getting the right information (like the one you’re reading) instead of trial and error, finding that golden balance in viscosity that isn’t too low– that too much of the product is needlessly squeezed out and doesn’t have the desired effect in a wasteful exercise– or too high that it has difficulty coming out of the caulk gun, let alone being applied properly. The right viscosity also promises an optimal curing time as well as flexibility.
Price & Brand
While consumers want everything in a single package (and cheap), sadly reality dictates you’ll have to pick based on more factors, like the surroundings and requirements of your project and priority, and find your optimal spot there.
The first step is arming yourself with the information you need on the products you require for the project (like repairing a cracked wall, for example) at hand, as well as the varying factors surrounding it from the surface material to expected weather conditions in the area going forward.
Once all these are done and the requirements are clear, you may select from a narrowed list of candidates, and where all things are equal, it will be down to the choice between price (and the perceived value, or lack of it, that it provides), and the product’s brand equity.
Some of the well-known and reliable caulk-selling brands include:
- General Electric
- Red Devil
- Sashco Slab
- Protective Coating Company
Most of these will charge no more than twenty to fifty dollars for a good amount of adhesive concrete caulk. But that’s still more than a hundred-percent difference between them, so choose based on your priority between price and name, and what is material to the job.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that we have reviewed all the products and evaluated the key aspects to purchasing the perfect caulk for concrete cracks, it’s time to decide which one of the reviewed products is the top choice of caulk for concrete cracks in the lens of the factors discussed in the buyer’s guide.
And the winner is (drumroll): DAP Self Leveling Concrete Sealant. This caulk excels in all the factors listed above, including usability, composition, curing time, flexibility, and staying power.
Best of all, the rapid-curing DAP Self Leveling caulk is specialized for repairing concrete cracks. Its silicone-rubber hybrid composition provides extra strength and durability. Also, the flexibility and elasticity of the caulk are neither high nor low, which makes it more efficient for a broader range of repair situations.
Upon application, the moderate flexibility of this paintable caulk enables it to flow easily into the crack and reach its depths with great coverage. It will prevent air bubble formation. Also, the flexibility allows the concrete to contract and expand without trouble.
As such, it is the choice for most cases. However, the caveat is that each situation will vary, and may require a different optimal compound based on the situation or your specific requirements. Hence, when purchasing the best caulk for aluminum to concrete, remember to take the factors stated above into consideration and get the best fit between repair, blemish removal, and staying power.