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How Do You Paint Non Paintable Silicone Caulk?

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Trying to tackle home painting is not for the weak, especially where caulk is concerned. Whether you purchased the wrong type of caulk or you purchased a property that was caulked by non paintable caulk, you now have a large obstacle standing between you and fresh paint.

Caulks that are considered non paintable is based on silicone, making it difficult for paint to latch on and stay on the surface, even after it has dried. Keep reading for the best way to tackle this caulk and keep your home improvement plans on track. 

How Do You Paint Non Paintable Silicone Caulk

What Kind of Paint Will Stick to Caulk? 

When you use caulk, it is critical to understand that there are two different kinds out there and which one you use will determine if you can paint over it; latex-based caulk and silicone-based caulk. 

If you have a latex-based caulk, you will be able to paint over the caulk with several types of paint, disclosing it from the eye view and covering it.

For latex-based cult, the best type of paint to use is one of the following:

  • Shellac-Based Paints
  • Latex Paints
  • Oil-Based Paints

Shellac-Based Paints

Because these paints are infused with primer, Shellac-Based Paints are ideal for painting latex caulk. The primer infused has properties that have been thinned out with denatured alcohol, which is beneficial to caulk.

Even with silicone-based caulk not meant to be painted, the denatured alcohol within allows the shellac-based paints to stick to the silicone and cover it. 

Latex Paints

This type of paint is the most traditional type of paint used by homeowners. When applying to caulk, it should be latex-based caulk and not silicone-based caulk.

NOTE: Before applying this type of paint to any caulk options, it should be primed first with a latex primer to give it a barrier where it will stick and do so properly. 

Oil-Based Paints

One of the best options for silicone-based caulk, oil-based paints provide an option for the caulk that cannot be painted. While it blends well and paints over latex-based caulk easily, oil-based paint can be applied to silicone-based caulk once it is cleaned and roughened to capture and mold the paint. 

Depending on what type of caulk you have, you want to purchase a compatible paint. Even when you purchase non paintable caulk, there are still ways around that process and making sure that you remedy the situation. 

What Happens if You Paint Directly Over Non Paintable Caulk?

Depending on what type of paint you purchase and use on the non paintable caulk, you may find yourself in a bit of a mess. First and foremost, if you have purchased acrylic paint or cheaper latex paint thinned out significantly, you can expect most of the paint to come off of the caulked area and not stick.

Even when applying multiple coats to the area, the paint will not stick unless you treat the area first. 

How Do You Paint Non Paintable Silicone Caulk?

If you have non Paintable Silicon Caulk and you still want to paint it, follow next steps:

1. Apply Alcohol To The Caulk

Especially if you are using silicone-based caulk, a layer of denaturalized or rubbing alcohol needs to be applied directly to the caulk before the paint, especially when using shellac-based paints on the area.

The alcohol will clean the caulk so that it does not have any dirt or sticky substance captured in the paint. Also, it roughens the surface of the caulk, making it easier for the paint to be applied and stick to the surface. 

2. Apply Paint Thinner or Primer

For latex-based or oil-based paints, you need to apply a paint primer directly to the caulk before applying the paint. Allowing the primer to first stick to the caulk and then painting over it later gives the paint the grip it needs to stay on the surface and keep wearing off.

NOTE:  You may need to apply several paint primer coats, depending on how thick your paint is or how thick the caulk may be. The primer is used to thin out the paint so that it applies easier. 

3. Plan For Multiple Coats

Any time you paint over non paintable caulk, you should prepare for multiple coats of paint. Because the silicone-based caulk requires a process to paint, you may find yourself needing another layer of primer and/or paint on the caulked surface. 

4. Add Multiple Layers of Caulk

If you have tried to paint over the silicone-based caulk and still cannot get the primer and paint to stick, you do have one last option to try.

  1. You can sand down all the paint and primer that you have applied back to the caulk.
  2. Once the silicone-based caulk is exposed, you can apply latex to move directly over it and dry. Since latex caulk is much easier to paint and can handle various paints, this may be the best option. 
  3. You do not need to apply a large layer, just a small amount spread evenly across the surface, creating a thin layer where you plan to paint. You do not want to make it too thick when applying.
  4. Once you have the surface covered, make sure you give it time to dry thoroughly and begin painting. 

What happens if You Leave Caulk Unpainted? 

While caulk does go on the surface as white when it is first applied, it will only keep that color temporarily. Not long after it is applied, you will start to notice it changing colors and will not be as appealing as it may have been before.

Most caulk starts to change colors due to exposure to the environment. Dirt and dust are known to latch onto the caulk and keep permanent homes. As more dirt and dust build up in the area, the color of the caulk changes from a bright white to an unappealing yellowish or brown color. 

If you have recently applied your caulk, you want to plan to paint soon. You do not have to do it in the next day or two, but you do not want to leave the caulk there months at a time.

NOTE: Trying to paint caulk that is dirty and unclean will be difficult, even if it is latex-based and usually easy to paint.
How Do I Remove Non Paintable Caulk

How Do I Remove Non Paintable Caulk?

If you have a caulked area that you have tried to clean, paint, or both without success. It may be time to remove the caulk and have it reapplied. Once you have made up your mind this is the route you want to go, make sure you have a towel and a utility knife available.

The dried caulk will need to be scraped out of the area, which is why a utility knife is essential. You can choose between different blades to get into corners and crevices, making sure that all the caulk is removed.

Once removed, you will need to replace it with a latex-based caulk and begin the much easier paint process. 

Realated Questions

How Do I Clean Non Paintable Caulk?

If you have noticed that the caulk you want to paint is discolored and needs to be cleaned, you need to find some rubbing alcohol to clean the area first.

If the dirt is not too terrible, the alcohol should sanitize and remove most of the debris that is trapped within. If the alcohol is cleaning the caulk, but not getting it all, you can choose a caulk-removing goo that you can pick up at your local hardware store. 

What Is The Best Primer For Non Paintable Caulk?

If you are trying to apply primer to your silicone-based caulk, latex-based primer is your best option, especially if you are choosing latex paint for your surface.

Any primer that provides a strong or ultra cover to the surface is your best option because it is made to stick to any surface or material where it is applied.

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