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Siliconized Acrylic Caulk FAQ

Q. What is Spectrum siliconized acrylic caulk?

A. Spectrum caulk is a professional grade, single component caulk designed to match virtually every manufacturers color and texture of sanded and non-sanded grouts for the Stone and Ceramic tile industry. Although Spectrum caulk is 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.

Q. Where do I use Spectrum caulk?

A. 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 backslash, window and wall, cabinetry and tile, door thresholds and interior expansion joints.

Q. How do I remove the grout from the joint to apply the caulk?

A. Two different tools are generally used;
The grout saw is the least expensive and can be purchased at any DIY store.
The four 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.)

Q. For a grout repair, do I need to cut out "all the grout" in the joint before applying the caulk?

A. If used over an expansion or cold joint, yes. Spectrum caulk is a sealant and should be used in conjunction with a backer rod or compressible back-up as seen in EJ171-05 in the TCNA handbook. (www.tileusa.com, movement joints section) If used against walls, thresholds, back splashes, etc. it is recommended that most of the grout is removed for a proper installation.

Q. Can I just fill in the crack or worn areas with Spectrum caulk and not cut anything out?

A. Yes, but the worn or cracked out joints must be properly prepared before the use of Spectrum caulk. If these same joints are not prepared properly and Spectrum caulk is used as a quick fix to repair the surface only, then the repair will not last long.

Q. On a new installation, how do I keep grout out of the joint if I'm going to caulk that particular joint?

A. 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, it is a good idea to scrape the grout out before it becomes to firm / hard.

Q. How do I make Spectrum Caulk blend in and look the same as the existing grout?

A. Use of a Hydra grout sponge (purchased from any DIY store) and water will get the desired look. With a 2/3 full 5 gallon bucket of water, wring the sponge out and gently rub in circular motion the Spectrum caulk before it cures (note: you will need to 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 now focus on cleaning the area around the area you have caulked.

Q. How do I finish the Spectrum caulk in corners or against windows, etc.

A. The Spectrum caulking tool is perfect for this, as it has two sides to wipe away excess caulk.

Q. Do I need to worry about staining the tiles or existing walls / baseboards with Spectrum caulk?

A. When installing stone or ceramic tiles, caution should always be taken to make sure these types of tiles are not prone to staining. Always do a test area in an inconspicuous area to determine any issues. Spectrum recommends the use of a low adhesive tape on all existing wall / baseboards before applying Spectrum caulk.

Q. How do I clean cured Spectrum caulk off a surface if a mistake is made?

A. Any paint stripper for latex based paints will break down Spectrum caulk. A gel type is recommended for accurate application, but use caution as paint strippers can cause harm to some surfaces. "Fully read and understand the instructions of any paint stripper".

Q. How long before I can walk on the installation?

A. 48 hours before foot traffic is acceptable.

Q. Can I paint over the Spectrum caulk?

A. Yes, Spectrum caulk is paintable after an initial cure with latex or oil based paints.

Q. Can I stain over the Spectrum caulk if I want to change my color?

A. Yes. Spectrum caulk is not porous; caution though, the stain may look like it was painted on!

Q. How long can I expect Spectrum caulk to last?

A. For an interior application, your life expectancy is usually between 2 to 5 years provided the proper cleaning and installation instructions are followed.

Q. Can I use Spectrum caulk in exterior applications?

A. Spectrum recommends the use of our Fusion 10 sealant. It is designed for the harsh ultraviolet rays that are encountered in exterior applications.

Q. Can I use Spectrum caulk around pools or spas?

A. No, pure urethane's or 100% silicone caulks are better suited for these areas. The UV rays and the severe environment from chemicals created in the water of pools and spas are generally too harsh for the "siliconized acrylic" Spectrum caulk. However, from an aesthetic stand point urethane's and silicones tend to be less appealing in color and texture.

Q. Can I use Spectrum caulk in showers and tub surrounds?

A. Yes, Spectrum caulk is designed to be used in intermittent 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.

Q. If the joint is wider than 1/4", can I use Spectrum caulk?

A. Yes, in sanded applications, we have had success up to 3/4". This will 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 is 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.

Q. Is Spectrum caulk mildew resistant?

A. 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.

Q. Is Spectrum caulk a water clean-up product?

A. Yes, water or water combined with a neutral based soap works well.

Q. What is the recommended application temperature for Spectrum caulk?

A. For best results, apply Spectrum caulk when temperatures are above 40°F and rising, but not above 95°F.

Q. Does Spectrum caulk remain flexible after it cures?

A. Yes, Spectrum caulk will feel hard to the touch, but its elastomeric qualities keep it flexible.

Q. Can I use Spectrum caulk on Stucco cracks in exterior applications?

A. Spectrum recommends the use of our Fusion 10 sealant in this application. It is a perfect fit for the stucco texture and the many colors that are needed.

Q. Where can I find additional information regarding this product?

A. Product information and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are available @ www.specmfgcorp.com.