Spectrum Caulk Frequently Asked Questions
What is Spectrum Caulk?
Spectrum Caulk is a professional grade, single component caulk designed to match the color and texture (sanded and non-sanded) of the different grout manufacturers’ colors available today. Although Spectrum Caulk is a “caulk” and not a “joint filler”, its formula allows it to properly replace grout whenever the application presents itself. The appearance of the caulk next to the grout is virtually unnoticeable, thus giving a uniform appearance for a proper installation.
Where Do I Use Spectrum Caulk?
Spectrum Caulk can be used to repair well-worn and cracked grout joints, but should always be used on new installations to replace grout wherever movement is a concern. A good example of movement between surface areas is where the floor and walls meet, tub and wall, sink and countertop, countertop and wall or backsplash, window and wall, cabinetry and tile, door thresholds and interior expansion joints.
How do I remove the grout from the joint to apply the caulk?
Two different tools are generally used:
- A grout saw is the least expensive and can be purchased at any DIY store.
- A 4 inch grinder with a dry cut masonry blade is another option. (Note: Both of these suggestions create dust and precautions should be taken for this.)
For a grout repair, do I need to cut out “all the grout” in the joint before applying the caulk?
Generally yes, but because Spectrum Caulk is a sealant and should be used with a backer rod or some filler behind/below it, some contractors cut halfway down or cut a V shape in the joint before applying the caulk. (See Backer Rod use @ www.tileusa.com)
Can I just fill in the crack or worn area with the caulk and not cut anything out?
Some contractors have been known to do this as a quick fix. In worn or cracked out joint areas, Spectrum Caulk is ideal. However, on a joint that has cracks through it but you wish to leave the grout in, Spectrum Caulk repairs it temporarily because you are basically “band-aiding” the cracked area and it will not last long.
On a new installation, how do I keep grout out of the joint if I’m going to caulk that particular joint?
Grout your installation as usual and try to keep the “caulk” joints as clean as possible and free from the grout mixture. Should you get grout into this joint in error, while the grout is firm yet crumbly, scrape that grout out with a tool of the same width. Now you can caulk this joint.
How do I make Spectrum Caulk blend in and look the same as the existing grout?
Use of a hydra-sponge (purchase at any DIY store) and water will get the desired look. Fill a 5 gal. bucket with water approx. 2/3 full, dunk and then wring the sponge out and gently rub in a circular motion across the Spectrum Caulk before it cures. (Note: You will need to dunk and wring your sponge out several times as you wash.) You should now start to see a similar look to the grout. Stop washing the immediate area and focus on cleaning the area around the caulking.
After applying Spectrum Caulk in corners or against windows, how do I create a uniform finish?
The Spectrum Caulk tool is perfect for this, as it is designed to work in corners to wipe away excess caulk.
Do I need to worry about staining the tiles or walls with Spectrum Caulk?
Caution should always be taken to make sure ceramic or stone tiles are not susceptible to staining. Always do a test in an inconspicuous area to determine any issues. We do recommend that you use a low adhesive tape on all baseboards, walls, etc. before applying Spectrum Caulk.
Is Spectrum Caulk a water clean-up product?
Yes, water or water combined with a neutral based soap works well to clean tools or areas where a caulking needs to be cleaned.
How do I clean cured Spectrum Caulk off a surface if a mistake is made?
Any paint stripper for latex based paints will break down Spectrum Caulk. A gel-type stripping product is recommended for accurate application, but use caution as paint strippers can cause harm to some surfaces. “Fully read and understand the instructions and hazards on any paint stripper product”.
How long before I can walk on the installation?
48 hours before foot traffic is acceptable.
Can I paint over the Spectrum Caulk?
Yes. Spectrum Caulk is paintable after an initial cure with latex or oil based paints.
Can I stain over the Spectrum Caulk if I want to change my color?
Yes. Spectrum Caulk is not porous; the stain may look like it was painted on.
How long can I expect Spectrum Caulk to last?
For an interior application, your life expectancy is usually between 2 to 5 years provided the proper cleaning and installation instructions are followed.
Can I use Spectrum Caulk in exterior applications?
Yes, the life expectancy will be less than the interior application and your color may fade due to ultraviolent rays. In areas where patios are covered and the UV rays are only intermittent, the life expectancy will be similar to interior applications, but the color may still fade.
Can I use Spectrum Caulk around pools or spas?
No. Pure urethanes or 100% silicone caulks are better suited for these areas. The UV rays and the severe environment chemicals create in the water of pools and spas are generally too harsh for Spectrum Caulk. However, from an aesthetic stand point urethanes and silicones tend to be less appealing in color and texture.
Can I use Spectrum Caulk in showers and tub surrounds?
Yes. Spectrum Caulk is designed to be used in intermittant water areas (showers and tub surrounds allow water to run down and out a drain). If a re-caulk is performed, then you must dry out the shower or tub out thoroughly as moisture effects the curing cycle.
If the joint is wider than ½”, can I use Spectrum Caulk?
Yes, in sanded applications, we have had success up to ½”. You may require more than one application to the joint. After the first day of cure, a crack down the middle of the caulked joint will occur due to shrinkage, (Spectrum Caulk s a sealant, not a joint filler) so a second coat is now needed to fill in any effected areas. Simply, reapply over the first application.
Is Spectrum Caulk mildew resistant?
Spectrum Caulk is mildew resistant at full cure. However, good maintenance practices are recommended as dirt & soap scum on the surface of the caulk will support mildew growth.
What is the recommended application temperature for Spectrum Caulk?
For best results, apply Spectrum Caulk when temperatures are above 40F and rising, but not above 95F.
Does Spectrum Caulk remain flexible after it cures?
Yes. Spectrum Caulk is designed to feel hard to the touch, but its elastomeric qualities are still intact to allow for any movement.
Can I use Spectrum Caulk on stucco to repair cracks or joints?
Yes. Sanded Spectrum Caulk is similar in texture and color. Just remember, UV rays in exterior applications reduce the life expectancy and over time may lighten the color.