Many varieties of clear caulk appear white during caulking, then dry clear. This is especially common with clear caulks containing latex. If the caulk is applied to a clean, dry surface and allowed to fully dry after caulking, it will turn from white to clear. If the caulk is not allowed to fully dry, it may retain a cloudy, white appearance.
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What Caulk Goes on White and Dries Clear?
Clear caulk that contains latex often appears white during initial caulking. This is due to the presence of water in the formula. As the caulk dries, the latex structure changes, causing the caulk to turn clear.
- Clear caulk that contains latex often goes on white and turns clear when dry.
- As the caulk dries, the latex structure changes to result in clear caulk.
- Silicone-based caulks almost always go on white and dry clear.
Like latex, clear silicone caulk also goes on white and dries clear. As the water dries out of the caulk, only the silicone is left. This allows a clear finish.
Why Isn’t Your Caulk Turning Clear?
If you’ve purchased a “clear” caulk that goes on white and refuses to change to clear, moisture is the common cause. If the surface where you are caulking is not fully dry, moisture can become trapped between the caulk and the surface, preventing the caulk from turning clear. Also, constant water exposure can keep the caulk from curing and turning clear. This can occur in bathroom and kitchen applications.
- Moisture present on the surface during caulking may prevent your caulk from drying clear.
- Constant water exposure from a sink or shower may prevent your caulk from turning clear.
- Expired caulk may not dry properly, meaning it will remain white.
- If your caulk won’t turn from white to clear, remove the caulk and re-caulk the surface.
Caulk that is expired may also not activate properly. If you use expired caulk, it may go on white and remain white. Regardless of why your caulk isn’t turning clear, if this is the case it should be removed and the seam should be re-caulked.
Should You Use White or Clear Caulk?
Clear caulk is best used in kitchens and bathrooms. It is used to create an unobtrusive caulked seam that will not clash with nearby tile, grout, or stone surfaces. If you are not planning on painting over the caulk, clear caulk is often the best choice.
- Use clear caulk in bathrooms and kitchen.
- Clear caulk is good for sealing fixtures on tile or stone (such as in showers or around a kitchen sink).
- Use clear caulk where you do not plan to paint over caulk.
- White caulk is best used for sealing baseboards, trim, and siding.
- Use white caulk where you will be painting over the caulk.
If you are caulking baseboards, trim, or other surfaces that will be painted later, white caulk is the best choice. White caulks are often designed to provide a paintable surface. Plus, since you’ll be painting over it anyway, white makes a great blank canvas to start with.
Can You Put Clear Silicone Over White Caulk?
Never apply new caulk over old caulk. If you add clear silicone caulk over white caulk, you will achieve a messy look where you can see the white caulk beneath. Silicone sealants bond well to hard, smooth surfaces such as tile, metal, and stone. Applying silicone caulk over white caulk may cause your caulk to peel off.
- Do not apply clear silicone sealants over white caulk.
- Clear caulk over white caulk will have a messy look.
- Applying new caulk over old invites mildew and mold.
- Remove existing caulk before applying your new silicone caulk.
Applying silicone caulk over white caulk invites mildew to form between the layers of caulk. Even mildew-resistant caulk, like Polyseamseal, will form mold if it is applied in this way. To prevent this, remove all the old caulk carefully before caulking any seams.
Does DAP Clear Silicone Caulk Go On White?
Like almost all silicone caulks, DAP clear silicone goes on white. However, when allowed to dry the caulk will turn clear. Although the caulk may dry clear in just a few hours. In some cases, it may take upwards of 7 days for the caulk to fully dry clear.
Does Clear Caulk Start Off White?
Almost all clear caulk start off white, then dry clear. This applies to many varieties of clear latex and silicone caulk. If your caulk is not drying clear after 7 days, then there may be moisture trapped between the surface and the caulk. If this is the case, the best course of action is to remove the caulk, make sure the surface is completely dry, and re-caulk. Wait at least 24 hours after caulking before allowing the surface to get wet—this will ensure the caulk dries clear and stays clear.