paint and caulk incompatibility problem

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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 2:39 pm
Location: Northeast PA

paint and caulk incompatibility problem

Post by johno »

The paint is staying sticky where it is applied over caulking and I wondered if anyone else had this problem. I have been slowly restoring my wooden double hung windows - a few each year, so this is exterior work. I strip everything down to bare wood, sand, and use Sherwin Williams A100 exterior oil primer. Then caulk & paint the top coat directly on top of the caulking. In the past, I've used DAP caulk and SW oil top coat and had no issues. Last year I used DAP Dynaflex 230 caulk, but switched the top coat to Sherwin Williams Super Paint /gloss latex. Problem is the paint is sticky where ever it goes over the caulking. I painted late in the fall last year, so I thought I did something wrong or didn't let it dry or something. But, I'm having the same problem again now and it is perfect painting weather now. I even decided to to try all Sherwin Williams products and the paint is still sticky over the SW caulk. The paint is not wet (color does not come off on your hand), but you can stick a piece of paper on it and it stays there! The area is also attracting lots of dirt & dust because everything sticks to it. I always wait a few days or in some cases a week between caulking and painting, so the caulk should be cured. FYI - the caulk that is not painted is not sticky. All of the caulk I'm using says it is "paintable". Any ideas?
John in Northeast PA

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Post by Raisinette »

John, there's some awesome paint advice in the thread I started -- page two of this board -- called "Couple of painting/siding questions." Check it out. It might not answer your question directly, but good information.

Jim K in PA
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Post by Jim K in PA »


Welcome to the OHW. Are you near the Poconos? There are a couple of us Northeastern PA old house nuts here.

I am just starting to get my windows done, but the few I have finished I have not had that problem. I use the standard DAP caulk, but I let it cure at least a week, and sometimes more. It really needs to have a dry "skin" on it before you paint. It certainly sounds like the volatiles in the caulk are still migrating to the surface and through the paint.

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Post by S »

I can't tell from your post if the caulking you are using is latex or silicone. Silicone usually can't be painted and latex can. There are mixes that can and can't be painted but it should always clearly be stated on the outside of the tube. Are you using the caulk to seat the glass or in the place of window glaze (which I haven't heard of)? Or maybe you are talking about DAP window glazing putty in a caulk-like tube?

When I redo windows (am doing some right now), I strip down to wood. I repair w/ an epoxy wood filler. Then I prime w/ oil primer, put a thin bead of silicone glaze down in the glass bed and place glass on it and wipe off any extra. Then I use DAP glazing putty from the can (I personally didn't like the tube type). You need to mix this up really well or it ended up with too much oil in spots. I then let the glazing putty skin over for a week or two. Prime w/ oil primer. Let dry a week or so more and then paint with an acrylic (outside) and oil (inside). The silicone caulk I use is below the glass and does not come in contact with paint.

I'm curious to see what you determine the problem to be. I'm guessing silicone caulk is the culprit?

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Post by johno »

Thanks everyone for responding!

Raisinette- I checked out the other post. Lots of really good info. I think I've got the process down, but I'm just having a compatability problem with the caulk and paint.

Jim K - I live in West Pittston, half way between Wilkes Barre and Scranton - just outside the Poconos. It's good to know there are other old house nuts out there!
When I started having problems last year, I called SW and DAP. The SW guys were clueless, but DAP told me that it was an issue with too much plastics. He said DAP caulk sometimes has problems with the high end latex paints. So, this year, I bought 3 different kinds of caulk from SW to test out. I figured, I would use the caulk and paint from the same company and there shouldn't be a problem. So much for that idea!
Last year I thought the cold weather prevented the caulk from drying, but now the weather is perfect and still problems.

S - Sorry, I should have been clearer in my post. Yes, I'm working on a window project, but this is a problem with caulking between the exterior wood window trim / sill and siding. I have aluminum siding (yuck -ugly), but I have to fix all 30+ windows and rotted porch before I can even dream of tearing off the aluminum. So, I put a heavy bead of caulk between the J channel and wood window trim. I also caulk any other openings in the jamb. Thankfully, they never wrapped the window trim or sills in aluminum. Then I paint over with SW super paint (latex / gloss) right over the caulk. All the tubes of caulk are marked paintable. I've used DAP Dynaflex 230 caulk (says: Premium Elastomeric Latex Sealant) and 3 types of SW caulk: SW Pro Select all purpose paintable silicone sealant, SW 1100A premium siliconized acrylic latex caulk, and SW Sher-Max urethanized premium elastomeric sealant. Out of all these, the least sticky is the SW Pro Select all purpose paintable silicone sealant. The others are all sticky.
Maybe there is a problem with the paint?

By the way, I do use the procedure you outlined for reglazing the glass with the Dap-33 putty. I have no problems with this part.

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Post by poplancaster »

Interesting problem. In the last year I've used cases of 230 on our old house and painted over with both oil primer and latex paints - no problems. I'm using Benjamine Moore paints with Zeisser primer. In some cases we caulked then primed, caulked again, then two coats of latex.
Once the 230 sets, it's almost indestructable.
Joe L.

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Post by HB »

Hey johno!

Another guy here from "the valley". Hena er no?

Did you buy one of those big places along the river near wyoming valley west high school?

Some of those were going for bargain prices in the early 90's. Beautiful places looking over the river, and the properties were really nice too as I recall.

That was a beautiful neighborhood just waiting to happen.

As far as your caulk problem is concerned, I ran into a problem with acrylic interior paint not sticking to the DAP caulk that I used for sealing around a shower surround, but that turned out to be incompatible materials. (The caulk wasn't meant to be painted with latex, only oil)

Sounds like you'll have to continue experimenting.

Good Luck!


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Just a Suggestion

Post by shesbros »

It may be glycol. If the paint is sticky but it does not come off in your hand it could be the slow drying agent in the latex paint. IF you put a very heavy bead of caulking between the siding and the window it could take months or years (yes years) to dry. The latex caulk dries on the outside and stays wet on the inside and the leftover moisture slowly evaporates through the caulk. If this had happened, it would slow down the drying process of the paint on top of the caulking. The result is all the glycol rising to the surface and not evaporating out with the water in the paint. Try lightly wiping or rubbing the effected areas with warm water. If it is Glycol, the warm water will break it down.

Good luck

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Post by johno »

poplancaster- I had no problems with DAP 230 when I was using SW oil paint. I can't get oil paint anymore, so it is the SW latex that is giving me so much grief. You gave me a good idea though - I wonder if I got a bad can of paint? I tried a few things tonight. I painted a small area with a different SW latex (Super Paint satin) that I used for the body color. Also found an old quart of Ben Moore latex left over from when we were considering different house colors. I painted the Ben Moore latex on a small area just to see what happens. I'll let you know when it all dries.

Also, DAP told me to prime over the sticky caulk with Zinsser 123 to seal the mess rather than trying to remove the caulk. So, from your experience, at least I know the Zinsser will cover the DAP 230. I bought a quart of Zinsser & painted that on a small area too.

HB - Yes, I do live down in da valley! But, "up the line" more towards Scranton! Oh boy, someone else who knows our local lingo, hena er no. HA! The house is few blocks from the mighty Susquehanna (just enough to be out of flood zone). It's a middle class 1890's Queen Anne Victorian, however, it lost most of it's exterior character when it was covered in aluminum in the 60's. Inside still has most of it's charm! It is a pretty town with most of the houses built between 1850 and 1900.

Shesbros - I washed everything, and after it dried, it was still sticky. I was surprised however that the dirt that had accumulated washed off! According to the MSDS sheets, SW gloss super paint has 1% ethylene glycol. It's interesting that the least sticky caulk has no glycol listed in the MSDS. Don't know if that matters or not since it really seems to be a paint problem. The unpainted caulk is not sticky.

Thanks everyone. Good night. ...John

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Caulk and paint rejection issue

Post by GLHA-Contractor »

We only use Alex painters caulk. Just had the best luck with it. There are too many variables with changing products to go back and figure out as you are experiencing. There may indeed be a product failure issue. Put the can you used away for a claim later on and don't let in get thrown out by accident. Save your proof of purchase if you still have it as that will be a legal loophole the company can jump through to not stand behind it by claiming that someone else may have bought it and changed the contents then gave it to you. Go into your Sherwin Williams store and ask to meet with the Pro Field Rep. They will give you the business if you are not a contractor but be insistant as they must stand behind their product. Make them set up an appointment to come to the job and review the application and show them everything you did and have the steps and result written out. Let him or her take samples from the can but do not let him take the can. Only surrender the can after they take the sample and send it to their lab for testing. Once they confirm a problem then you can let them have the can when they replace the product with new product. Sherwin Williams is pretty good but you just have to be firm with them if you are not a contractor. At least you didn't have a problem with a Glidden Product...that would be a headache as those reps play the shell game when it comes time to take responsibility for product. Hope this helps.
Feel Free to Contact me if you have a question or need some help. Ask For Mark. We're on the web at:

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