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Crown molding adds a lovely finishing touch to your home. Unfortunately, unsightly crevices and gaps can develop between the molding and the ceiling or wall, putting a dent in their elegance. On the bright side, you can easily fix these dents using the best caulk for caulk molding. Even better, caulk is relatively easy to apply, thus allowing you to return your home to its elegant look in no time.
However, with so many types and brands of caulks available, choosing the best caulking material for your project can be a challenge. Especially considering that not all types of caulk are suitable for crown molding.
Luckily, this article offers an in-depth look at the different types of crown molding caulks available, important factors to consider, and useful tips for successful application. More importantly, I’ve included my recommendations for the best caulk for crown molding you can use to hide any gaps/ cracks in your trim to create a professional, finished appearance.
Why do gaps form around crown Molding?
Before we look at the different types of caulks available, it’s important to understand why gaps appear between crown molding and the wall/ ceiling in the first place. Besides, these factors will determine whether the gaps are seasonal or how large they are. That said, here are some factors that can cause gaps to appear between crown molding after installation;
Like any other object, crown molding material shrinks in cold weather and expands in hot weather. This can cause large caps to form between the crown molding and the wall/ ceiling, especially if you live in an area that experiences significant seasonal weather changes. Also, this can occur in homes with underutilized or inefficient heating and air conditioning systems. In general, experts recommend caulking gaps around crown molding in winter since they’re usually large during the cold season.
Natural home settling
Every house’s foundation undergoes natural movement after construction as the soil settles over time. Luckily, this movement is usually insignificant in most cases. However, if your house settles unevenly, it may pull down part of the crown molding, causing gaps to appear between the molding and the ceiling.
Limitations of construction material
The rafter and studs that hold up the walls in your home usually vary by a small degree in width. As a result, it’s a bit difficult to precisely line up lumber over the entire length of the wall, forming an imperfect line. To fix this problem, various wall coverings such as drywall are designed to flex slightly to cover up that inevitable wave. For that reason, the imperfection is totally invisible. Nonetheless, when you install a precisely milled piece of crown molding to the wall, the small gaps will instantly look huge.
Why you should caulk crown molding
While you can install gap-free crown molding, you can’t account for years of natural foundation settling and temperature fluctuation. Luckily, applying caulk will ensure a gap-free crown molding installation that can withstand wear & tear over time.
At the same time, the best caulk for crown molding is designed to flex with small settling events and natural temperature changes. So, by applying a small caulk bead to the bottom and top of your crown molding, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble in the long run. In addition, applying the right caulk will ensure a long-lasting, tight finish for your crown molding.
Different types of Caulk for Crown Molding
Using caulk to fill large gaps and seams on the lower and upper sides of crown molding is a great way to improve its appearance. Plus, it gives the room a professional look and ensures a good, firm finish. So, whether you are remodeling an older home or working on a new home, caulking is the best way to get rid of joints around the crown molding. The various types of caulk you can use for this project include;
Silicone caulk is usually the most preferable type of caulk for sealing joints and seams around the crown molding. Thanks to its ability to resist temperature changes in a specific room. Moreover, if the existing crown molding is white, you don’t have to color the room after applying this type of caulk.
Acrylic Latex Caulk
Acrylic latex is the easiest type of caulk to apply and smooth out. More notably, it’s the only sealant that cleans up with water. Not to forget that it’s ideal for various tasks like sealing tiles, showers, sinks, toilets, bathtubs, baseboards, and crown molding.
As a drawback, acrylic latex caulk is the least durable type of sealant. Moreover, it stretches the least, making it ideal for interior applications where temperatures are relatively consistent. Nonetheless, the limited flexibility makes it vulnerable to cracking.
Other than that, this caulk is user-friendly, easy to fill in gaps, and cleans up with water and soap. In addition, it’s easy to paint and offers exceptional resistance to the sun’s UV radiation.
Siliconized acrylic latex caulk
Some acrylic latex caulks for crown molding and trim are labeled ‘plus silicone’ or ‘siliconized’, meaning they have silicone. Adding silicone to acrylic latex helps to improve its flexibility and adhesion, making siliconized acrylic latex an excellent option for crown molding.
This special formula creates strong products that work perfectly in both outdoor and indoor environments. Plus, they can be used to seal large gaps since they can withstand significant joint movement without disrupting their seal quality. Best of all, although silicone doesn’t usually accept paint, the acrylic latex in this formula makes this type of caulk paintable.
Advanced polymer acrylic latex caulk
This type of sealant for crown molding is usually graded for exterior and interior applications. It resembles the siliconized acrylic latex caulk, but its formula contains added polymer for extra flexibility. For that, it’s the best type of caulk for mending large gaps in crown molding and trim.
Unlike acrylic latex caulk, elastomeric sealants are very flexible. This makes them ideal for sealing joints that experience a lot of movement, both in exterior and interior applications. In addition, they contain unique formulations that make them relatively more durable and paintable than acrylic latex caulks. At the same time, these sealants have excellent adhesive qualities and are easy to clean.
Key factors to consider when looking for the best caulk for crown molding
All caulks are not created equal as some are better suited for certain applications compared to others. For that reason, there are a few factors you should consider when choosing the best caulk for crown molding seams. These factors include;
Type of caulk
There are several types of caulk on the market. However, not all versions are suitable for crown molding. So, before you settle on a particular type of caulk, it’s important to ensure that it’s compatible with your crown molding.
For instance, masonry caulk usually contains sand to add texture and features a polyurethane base. On the other hand, butyl caulk is ideal for sealing guttering since it’s highly flexible, while the refractory caulk is usually used around fireplaces since it’s heat resistant. However, none of these sealants provide the smooth finish and ease of application required for caulking crown molding.
Instead, the best caulks for crown molding can be classified into 3 categories. That is; pure silicone, siliconized latex, and latex (acrylic latex/ polymer acrylic).
Drying & Curing time
The duration that caulks for crown molding to dry varies significantly among the various types available.
In most cases, latex caulk has the fastest drying time, as some options can cure in as little as 30 minutes. This feature can be particularly useful if the crown molding and caulk will be painted or if the gaps need a second application. Also, if you need to use the room you’re working on as quickly as possible, latex caulk is the best choice for your project.
In comparison, pure silicone caulk takes longer to cure. For instance, silicone caulks usually take 24 hours to cure fully, thus increasing the amount of time you spend waiting for the caulk to dry.
Quality & Durability
Caulking crown molding isn’t the type of job that should be redone regularly. Therefore, it’s important to look for a high-performance formula to ensure a durable seal that will last for years.
Generally speaking, crown molding caulk from a reputable brand can last for more than 25 years. Some products, especially the pure silicone ones, even offer a lifetime guarantee. However, the durability of the caulk will also be influenced by other factors like the type of crown molding material, how well it’s applied, and any wall movement.
Ease of use
The best caulk for caulk molding should be easy to use at room temperature as well as clean up with water. This is an important step in achieving a seamless look and beautiful finish for your crown molding.
If you’re planning to paint your crown molding after sealing the gaps, look for a caulk that is easy to paint. This will make it easy to cover up any blemishes or seams with a coat of paint.
Also known as ‘painter’s caulk, latex caulk is the easiest type of crown molding caulk to paint. In comparison, pure silicone caulk isn’t paintable, unless it’s a combination of latex and silicone. Interestingly, some caulks are available in colors that are commonly used in crown molding applications. However, if you’re planning to use white caulk on crown molding that will not be painted, make sure it is resistant to yellowing.
Various caulking products are designed for different gap sizes. For that, it’s important to check the rating against the gap size you intend to fill to ensure you get professional-looking results.
Generally, you can use any type of crown molding caulk to fill small gaps. But if you want to fill a particularly large gap, it’s recommended that you look for an advanced polymer acrylic latex caulk. Such caulking products are more viscous to offer the needed structural support, making them ideal for filling large gaps.
Crown moldings can be made from various materials such as natural wood, PVC, wood composite, etc. So, before you choose a specific caulk for your project, it’s good to check how well it adheres to the selected materials. On the bright side, latex silicone and pure silicone caulk products usually provide the most versatility as they adhere to a wide range of materials.
Changes in indoor humidity levels and temperatures usually cause crown molding to swell and constrict, forming a gap between the molding and the ceiling/ wall. For that reason, consider using a sealant that can contract and expand with the crown molding material. In that regard, acrylic latex caulk is the least flexible type of sealant, However, their advanced polymer blends are the most durable and flexible. Alternatively, you can use other flexible options like silicone acrylic latex caulk and elastomeric caulk. These sealants have the exceptional ability to withstand a lot of joint movement without breaking the seal. This makes them ideal for filling large gaps & cracks that might experience some movement.
Best Caulk for Crown Molding Reviews
GE Sealant & Adhesive silicone caulk is one of the most durable sealants on the market at the moment. Plus, it can be used for various applications, including outdoor and indoor use. For instance, you can use it to fill crown molding gaps, and seal wall joints as well as bathroom ceiling fixtures.
Moreover, this sealant is 100% waterproof. For that, it provides a reliable seal in areas that are prone to water exposure and weather elements. On the same note, its hybrid formula combines the exceptional waterproof performance of silicone caulk and the paintability and ease of use of acrylic latex.
Talking of paintability, this formula takes just 30-minutes to dry after application. Therefore, it will save you a lot of hassle since you can paint it in as little as 30 minutes. More notably, this allows you to apply it on exterior trim during rainy seasons with any issues.
Another interesting feature of this silicone caulk is that it offers durable adhesion and high flexibility. Not to forget that it prevents the growth of mold and mildew, and delivers beautiful results due to its easy tooling and smooth application. Best of all, it comes with a lifetime guarantee, meaning you’ll get high-quality results for as long as you own your home.
To sum up, if you want a high-quality & durable caulk that will keep your crown molding looking great for years to come, this GE silicone sealant is a good place to start.
- 7-year mold & mildew growth resistant
- Easy to use
- Ideal for wet and dry applications
- 30-minute paint-ready
- 100% waterproofing
- Shrink & crack proof
- Works on various surfaces
- Comes in a 10.1 oz cartridge tube
This Gorilla white 100% silicone caulk is another perfect sealant for filling in crown molding seals. Thanks to its ability to ensure a tight waterproof seal, while providing a seamless look with its white color.
On top of that, thus silicone sealant is ideal for various tasks since it’s flexible, durable, and extremely easy to use. Even better, its application requires minimal pressure from the caulking gun as it glides smoothly across the crown molding’s surface.
You’ll also note that this silicone-based formula has a relatively fast curing time. It can form skin in just 30 minutes, making it waterproof in such a short time. However, it can take up to 24 hours to cure fully since it’s quite soft at that stage.
In terms of flexibility, Gorilla silicone caulk doesn’t split or crack during the normal movements that buildings usually experience. As a result, it will remain flexible during its entire life, thus protecting your crown molding for longer. Better still, this sealant is resistant to mold & mildew and maintains a clean, white finish.
On the downside, this sealant cannot be painted since its formula contains 100% silicone. In addition, it has poor adhesion on some surfaces such as cement, masonry, and brick. However, considering that crown moldings are crafted from such materials, this caulk is an excellent option for filling crown molding seams.
- 100% silicone formula
- Seals air, water, and moisture
- doesn’t yellow, shrink, or yellow
- 30-minute water ready
- Available in white & clear
- Mold and mildew resistant
With this fast-drying Alex Plus acrylic latex caulk from DAP, you can finish your crown molding filling project in a short amount of time. All thanks to its high-performance formula that dries within minutes and becomes paint-ready in about 30 minutes after application.
And unlike the Gorilla silicone caulk we’ve reviewed above, this acrylic latex sealant is paintable. Therefore, you can easily match it to the rest of your crown molding with a layer of paint, making it the best caulk for interior trim. Better still, its formula lasts a long time, so you can rest assured it will get the job done effectively.
One thing that makes this formula stand out from standard acrylic caulk though is that it contains added silicone. As a result, it’s more durable and flexible than standard caulk and does a great job of preventing it from ng over time. Moreover, this formula has a performance temperature range of -20 to 180 deg F and can be used at temperatures ranging from 40 – 100 deg F.
Lastly, this acrylic latex caulk has excellent adhesion and works well on highly porous surfaces such as brick and masonry, unlike its 100% silicone-based counterpart. At the same time, it’s ideal for other surfaces like PVC, wood, etc. More importantly, it has a gap-filling capability of ⅜”, which is adequate for most applications, yet it’s moderately priced!
- Low-odor, water-based formula for workability
- Paintable & water clean-up
- Ideal for exterior and interior use
- Lasts for up to 40 years
- Adheres to multiple surfaces
- Highly flexible
Latex caulks are usually less flexible than other types of caulks. For that reason, silicone is added to most latex caulks to increase their flexibility and durability. Surprisingly, Big Stretch acrylic latex caulk delivers tremendous flexibility, yet its latex-based formula doesn’t contain silicone. In fact, this caulk can stretch up to 500% of its original size without cracking or splitting, making it one of the most flexible caulks on the market.
Moreover, Big Stretch acrylic latex caulk is paintable, easy to apply, and available in 13 different colors. Plus, it adheres to various types of surfaces, including porous materials. Bottom line, if you want a caulk that can withstand natural movements in your home and deliver professional results, Big Stretch is the perfect solution for you!
However, this formula has its sets of drawbacks. For instance, it has minimal resistance to mold & mildew, and it isn’t waterproof. For that reason, it’s not recommended for use in areas that are prone to moisture like the bathroom or kitchen. Moreover, its drying time can be affected by humidity levels, making it take about 4 – 48 hours to dry fully.
Other than that, this type of caulk is a great option for sealing large crown molding cracks that keep getting wider. Not to forget that it has exceptional gap-filling ability and flexibility once it dries completely.
- Ideal for sealing gaps that are large as 2” wide
- Water-based, low-odor formula
- Takes 4 – 48 hours to cure
- Easy to apply
How to Caulk Crown Molding
After choosing the best caulk for crown molding, the next step is to learn how to apply it. This skill will come in handy if your home has this beautiful architectural feature. Besides, as already mentioned, expansion gaps are highly likely to occur between the crown molding and ceiling and wall due to the natural cooling & heating process that occurs during each season. Luckily, knowing how to caulk crown molding is a great way to get rid of those gaps for a long time.
That said, here are some of the items you’ll need before you start this project;
- Crown molding caulk
- Caulking gun
- Damp cotton rags
- Small scissors/ knife
- A shallow bowl of water
Once you’ve gathered the above items, follow these steps to apply caulk to seal the gaps between your crown molding and the ceiling/ walls!
Step 1: Choose the right caulk
Various types of caulk are designed for different surfaces. The best caulk for crown molding should adhere tightly to both the ceiling and the molding, and leave a seamless, smooth finish. Latex caulk designed for interior use works well for most rooms, but silicone sealant might work better in spaces with a lot of moisture like bathrooms. All in all, any caulk that contains acrylic and silicone will work fine, provided it’s paintable and ideal for use on crown molding.
Step 2: Clean the area you intend to caulk
Wipe the top edge of the ceiling and crown molding with a damp rag to remove any cobwebs, debris, and dust that may prevent the sealant from adhering properly. If necessary, use a mild detergent to remove any grime or grease.
Step 3: Insert the sealant tube into a caulking gun
Insert your preferred crown molding caulk into the caulking gun. To accomplish this, pull back the rod on the caulking gun, slide the cartridge tube into the gun and push the rod forward until it rests against the bottom of the tube.
Step 4: Cut the Caulk tube
Using a knife or a small pair of scissors, cut the tip of the caulk cartridge tube at an angle of 45 deg. Try making the opening about ¼” in diameter to allow the caulk to flow out more smoothly. Plus, this gives you more control over the amount of sealant that comes out of the tube.
Step 5: Caulk the joints in sections
Put the ladder near the wall you’re working on and carefully climb until you can conveniently and comfortably reach the molding with your hands & caulking gun. Now, squirt a bead of caulk into any visible gaps between the crown molding and ceiling/ wall, working in sections, Also, apply the caulk to the joints in the insider corners when 2 pieces of crown molding joint by squeezing the trigger of your caulk gun and maintaining steady pressure.
Step 6: Smooth the caulk with water
Dip your finger in the water contained in a shallow bowl and run it along the length of your caulk bead immediately after application before skin develops on the caulk surface.
Alternatively, you can glide a rag over the caulk, while applying gentle pressure to ensure you push the sealant as far into the seams as you possibly can and remove any excess caulk. At the same time, this allows you to spread the caulk bead into a thin, uniform layer and create a smooth finish.
Step 7: Let the sealant dry
After applying and smoothening the caulk, let it dry for 24 hours before you start painting over it with a layer of paint to match your crown molding.
Overall, caulking crown molding is a relatively simple and cheap way to enhance the appearance of your home. Although the task may seem a bit tricky, anyone can do it like a pro with a little practice. Moreover, the best caulks for crown molding seams I’ve listed above are easy to apply, allowing you to achieve a beautiful, seamless finish!