Show us your caulk!


We want to see your caulk (or sealant depending on whether or not the joint is susceptible to movement). Good caulk jobs ... bad caulk jobs ... doesn't matter. Share your photos and stories.

First up is a simple case. Two toilet fixtures side-by-side in a men's room. One has a joint that is perfectly fine (a little sloppy at the grout line, but acceptable). The other, simply looks like they forgot to tool it. Also looks like the caulking had been replaced, and the old caulk wasn't sufficiently removed. 

Jan 4, 17 12:02 pm

2 Featured Comments

All 60 Comments

Non Sequitur
Brilliant idea. I'm in an uber, heading back to the office after a smoke seal inspection. Terrible caulk!

As a side note, I keep my caulk in a tube sock RHCP style!
Jan 4, 17 12:05 pm

NS, pics or it didn't happen...

Jan 4, 17 12:08 pm

Oh jeez. I suck at making things but even *I* could do better than that second picture, EI!

Let me see what I can find today at work....

Jan 4, 17 12:16 pm
Non Sequitur

Pics will come forth... just give me time for Sir Sean Connery's sake.

I've literally been a sealant nazi on this project. 

Jan 4, 17 12:21 pm

Are we allowed to include various types of sealant? 

Jan 4, 17 12:27 pm
Non Sequitur

Here ya go:


You're looking at a curtainwall insulated backpan and concrete slab smoke-sealant application.  Important note... I have yet to approve the product and system.

Jan 4, 17 12:56 pm
Non Sequitur


Non Sequitur

Found them


wtf is that?  Did you review shop drawings?

Jan 4, 17 1:00 pm
Non Sequitur

^for me?

Shop drawings were returned twice for revision and need the city's blessing (long story... worthy of a thread on it's own)... the trades still went ahead and started applying anyways.

Jan 4, 17 1:03 pm

I hate it when I get caulk blocked.

Jan 4, 17 1:21 pm

senjohnblutarsky, please tell me that those are existing conditions and that you're going to fix them. Anyone think that coping installation could pass ANSI/SPRI ES-1?

Non Sequitur, ouch. Was it somebody's first day? Will it be somebody's last?

Jan 4, 17 1:29 pm

Not existing.  Never fixed.  Contractor and Client were very closely related.  Very Closely.  

The "roof hatch" they installed was a piece of roofing metal they cut and laid on top of the other metal.  It's secured with a string tied to the ladder below.  Guess where the rain goes?!?!


I can't believe there were no comments on the pipe penetration. 

Jan 4, 17 1:53 pm

I don't understand, isn't more, better? I mean the contractor had to pay more, and more = expensive.

Jan 4, 17 1:56 pm
Non Sequitur

Sen, I'm fine with the pipe penetration... but please, look at the colour of that plastic putty knife on the dark orange. Terrible colour coordination. btw, what does that pipe connect to?

EI, by the look on my general's face when I pointed things out... I am sure a few guys got an early weekend.  I've got more examples of big bad caulks lined up.  Will post more later.

Jan 4, 17 2:04 pm

I'm actually ok with the pipe penetration. It's ugly, and I'd never allow someone to do it that way on my dime, but at least it's in an overhanging bit and there is a roof below.

I really like the way you can see the contractor just cut and folded the part of the roof up and out of the way so it could fit the offset in the parapet in the second pick. That and the lack of cricket where the parapet ends so any water that flows down to that point can get directed right to the spot where the roof was cut and folded to fit the end of the parapet. I don't think I could detail a roof to leak any better.

And that's just the roof. What were they thinking on the parapet? Did they leave the sheet material just hanging there like that?

The roof hatch sounds amazing. You'd think you'd give someone related that closely a little better quality of service, but maybe not. I guess it depends on the family. 

Jan 4, 17 4:17 pm

Well, client was a municipality.  But a connection to a high level individual with the municipality existed.  The whole thing is a giant mess.  They should have torn every bit of it off and started over.  

I never actually worked on the project.  The pictures just came in to the office from the Architect who was working on it.  I've enjoyed showing them to people since.  If you really want to see a mess, I can share the whole album with you.  

It would actually be fun to have a thread dedicated to screw ups.  I'd hate to sully a caulk/sealant thread with other things.  And if you haven't seen it before, check out a company called Mechanical Hub on facebook.  They post some beautiful screw ups.  They also post some really nice installs as well.  

Jan 4, 17 4:51 pm

Good stuff on that facebook link. I love that kind of stuff. I always try to see the screw ups from the perspective of the person trying to solve the problem. Kind of a forensics mentality of what were they thinking that they thought this would be an acceptable solution. Sometimes the solutions, while not standard, are actually quite beautiful in their own right if they are elegantly executed. Nothing is beautiful about that roof though. 

I don't have a problem if the thread morphs to include other screw ups, weird fixes, etc. A lot can be said about caulk, but sometimes you have to pay attention to other things as well so the caulk doesn't get tired. 

Jan 4, 17 6:14 pm

This thread is going to haunt my nightmares tonight.

Jan 4, 17 6:30 pm
Non Sequitur
Just wait until tomorrow. I have another one planned.
Jan 4, 17 7:11 pm


Jan 4, 17 11:42 pm

Canada eh?

Is that a frisbee?
Jan 5, 17 12:17 am

No, it looks like your average caulked puck.

Jan 5, 17 12:33 am

What the puck!?

Jan 5, 17 8:51 am

That picture makes me think of Clerks.

Jan 5, 17 8:52 am
x intern
Had a subcontractor use fire caulk at all their penetrations on a project that had no fire rating. Fire marshal wouldn't tag due to unprotected penetrations. It took forever to sort out.
Jan 5, 17 8:59 am
Non Sequitur

No pics, but I've just spent the last hour sorting out a potential messy caulk problem.  Contractor just submitted an alternative smoke sealant caulk expecting it to be suitable... turns out that product is only acceptable for one proprietary movable partition system from Australia. But don't worry, they told me will use a white coloured sealant and tool it flush to the gypsum board! That's a relief, even though it's a non-compliant caulk, at least it'll look good for the architect.

My response was terse.

Jan 5, 17 9:14 am

So does that puck qualify as continuing a fire rated assembly (if the exterior load bearing wall needed an hour)? Looks like some kid hit the puck and the homeowner just decided what the hell, keep it.

Jan 5, 17 10:42 am

I've done some basic caulking in my house (tub, windows, doors, trim) and for the life of me, I can't understand how a laborer who does this all day, every day can do such shit work.  Getting a clean caulk line is really not that difficult and doesn't take a lot of time.  And wtf is up with that red metal roof up there?  I can't believe that is new construction.

Jan 5, 17 11:24 am

Many manufacturers' smoke sealant also doubles as their acoustical sealant. Sometimes it gets packaged differently ... sometimes they don't bother to call it a different product. For example ... or in spray variety.

However, if they were using an intumescent caulk like this for all penetrations ... that's just stupid.

Jan 5, 17 11:36 am
Wood Guy

The hockey puck looks like it was there to keep rodents from entering the soffit and spray-foamed into place. The spray foam pushed the puck out of alignment. The contractor was probably planning to use Bondo or Abatron to smooth over the mess once the foam hardened. Not that it's a good way to fix the problem, but not that uncommon either on low-budget jobs. Well, the hockey puck is unusual. 

Jan 5, 17 11:56 am

I observed some abysmal sealant applications this morning.  But, sadly, I don't think I want to post pictures of an active project.  

Caulk on top of caulk on top of dirt that was never cleaned prior to first application.  And then more caulk. 

Jan 5, 17 12:02 pm

Wood Guy, that's too logical of a scenario. More likely it was some neighbor kids up in MN playing in the street. A slap shot from little Billy went stray as his mullet distracted him when he made contact with the puck. Fortunately, the puck missed Old Lady McGregor's front window ... unfortunately, the puck got lodged in the soffit and they couldn't get it unstuck.

So, down a puck, little Billy went looking through the garage to find if his dad had anything that could make a suitable replacement puck. He couldn't find anything but did find some spray foam. Being raised that far up north (Minnesota) Billy understood the importance of sealing leaks in a building to prevent air infiltration/exfiltration and decided to seal the leaks around the puck in Mrs. McGregor's soffit. He's a mulletted street child, not a savage. Mrs. McGregor needs to stay warm at night.

Jan 5, 17 12:08 pm
Wood Guy

Yeah, that was probably it. ;-)

Jan 5, 17 1:52 pm

And yes, it leaks. 

Jan 5, 17 2:53 pm

This is an example of what is happening all over the city with new construction ... sanded sealant joints in sidewalks. I don't understand it. For control joints in masonry they can make a lot of sense because you can make them look like the surrounding mortar, but for a sidewalk?

You're not really disguising the joint with the sand. It obviously appears different than the surrounding concrete. Even if the sand matched the concrete perfectly, the joint is a completely different size than all the saw cut joints surrounding it, so you still aren't fooling anyone. 

The sand will get worn off. It's a trafficked joint for one, and sanded joints are difficult to get right anyway. They require that you tool the joint, broadcast the sand onto the surface, and "pat" it into the sealant before it skins over. Usually you'll find that a portion of the joint is fine, but then it starts to show that the sealant had skinned over (installer too slow with the sand), or it wasn't sufficiently "patted" into the sealant (installer potentially trying to work too quickly). 

In the end, you're left with a visible sealant joint with sand only on portions of it that at a glance make it look dirty and dusty. All this equals an ugly sidewalk ... the opposite of the design intent which was to get something with a little bit of visual appeal (otherwise, why sand the joint in the first place). 

The joint pictured was only installed about 1-2 years ago. 

Jan 6, 17 1:50 pm

adding back the lost photo for posterity...


@Non Sequitur

You're looking at a curtainwall insulated backpan and concrete slab smoke-sealant application

Looks to me like an office building curtain wall. The sealant job looks bad, but  usually these things don't take place in a vacuum. Who was involved in nominating, selecting, or approving the subs who worked on this?

Important note... I have yet to approve the product and system.

Can you describe a bit more the process of approving a system which has already been installed?.

Jan 6, 17 8:51 pm
Non Sequitur
Adrian, I have a large construction company actions as general. They picked all the sub contracts.

You are correct that this is a commercial curtain wall installation. I've already told them to remove the bad caulk and redo the job with the sealant tooled flush to top of slab. They are fighting me on this but it's not my fault they went ahead with installation before submitting the correct shop drawings. I've already got the same subs to redo all the sealants in both parking levels.
Jan 6, 17 10:49 pm

I'm doing some caulking around the house today. This thread is inspiring!

Jan 7, 17 2:30 pm
WillDon's comment has been hidden

Recently, I read that caulks are often used compared to true sealants. Caulking doesn't take much effort or skill, anyone can do it. Caulks are based on less expensive polymers such as linseed oil, polybutene, asphalt, butyl rubber, SBR rubber, vinyl acetate and acrylic latex. A caulk has  a limited movement capability. If you cannot DIY take expert help from some contractors. Be careful to keep these simple tips in this article in mind while hiring them . Tarry, take your own time. From this pic, it  seems, it needs a fast repair.

Feb 10, 17 1:09 am
Featured Comment

coming up with all these caulk puns is an EASY D!

Feb 10, 17 3:30 pm

Had to resurrect this thread after spotting this brilliant instagram account:


Jun 8, 17 4:12 pm



Fantastic. Those images make me want to laugh, then cry, then laugh, then cry...

True story.

Back in the day I was working in a shop making doors and windows for a beach house. A stupid Hamptons PoS with > 100 windows and about 80 doors. Windows were 3 over 1 over 3 and all the exterior doors were glazed. The day we set the glass it was pouring rain. By pouring I mean tropical deluge, 12" in a day. The kind of rain where a few seconds of exposure carries the risk of drowning. 

On that particular day I was detailed to pick up supplies, which is how I came to find myself standing at the counter in the lumberyard, soaked to the skin, a steady stream of water issuing from my feet, buying 4 cases of silicone caulk. Nobody said a word. 

Jun 8, 17 5:41 pm
threadkilla, that instagram account is fantastic! Thanks for resurrecting the thread.
Jun 8, 17 9:44 pm

Performance joint sealed to masonry :/

Jun 15, 17 2:04 pm
Non Sequitur

Bringing back a classic discussion.  Too bad my original images are now broken links.

Feast your eyes on this fresh caulk:

and close-up.

May 15, 18 8:20 am

Couldnt tell what I was looking at in the first photo because I thought it was crumbling brick. That second photo, jesus christ

Non Sequitur

Funny thing is that it's not even the caulk I specified.


Honest question - why would you need to spec one caulk over another ?

May 15, 18 11:48 am

Appearance (sanded, unsanded, paintable, etc). Width of joint? Requires different sealants. Does the joint experience movement? Requires different sealants. Does the joint experience foot traffic? Horizontal or vertical? Is it an institutional location? That would require a pick-proof sealant.

Non Sequitur

ULC is prescriptive with often no alternatives. We don't just say "provide firestop and smoke sealant", we note the specific system which dictates product and gap tolerances and get shop drawings to match. Different manufacture's product may require thicker beads or may not be suitable to fill the gaps for example. I'm obviously simplifying this, but this is a big item in our area for the inspectors so I make sure to be ahead of them.


There's a story here about an architect who lost his career over spec'ing the wrong sealant. Don't know if true or just a legend.

Non Sequitur

Tintt, there could be a story there as smoke sealant is a life-safety item. Too many contractors and clients (and about 95% of junior to intermediate staff) don't know the differences. Not too difficult to imagine it if an architect picked the wrong product for an incorrect application and a fire separation fails. I normally give the GC and project managers fair warning early on that I won't budge of fire stopping. Either you do as your told or you're redoing the work.


It was an exterior sealant on a highrise.


Im a "Hilti Caulk Master"



WARNING: I am NOT an expert on Canadian university system and their grading system so I am doing my best with trying to understand how the system works and compare with U.S. 

N.S. went to university in Canada. It's not the same as GPA. There is a concordance table of equivalency in regards to GPA. There is also a difference in the difference in the structure of course credits duration so there is a bit more work involved in converting credits from Canada school and U.S. for equivalency so it isn't a simple 1:1 ratio. A Canadian credit does not equal the same as a U.S. credit in a semester. The academic architecture of the degree curriculum and application of credits differ so there is more work involved so there is no point in trying to compare. All we can really do here is compare the completed degree's cumulative average percentage to your cumulative GPA at completion of your degree which is 2.5x. You are between a C+ and B- or 72%-77% in the Canadian system if I were to roughly estimate your GPA to percent basis. This is quick and dirty. Using the Scale I system and that compares well (sort of) with the University of Oregon GPA system which does have a A+ grade with a 4.333333 GPA score per credit. PSU doesn't have that A+ grade or A+ and A-, B+ and B-, etc. for grades. They are simple A,B,C,D, or F. That's a little difference that I noticed at Univ. of Oregon. 

In Canada, you get licensed, I believe you have to get a Masters of Architecture degree. He would typically have to meet first cycle of 3.0 to 4.3333. In laymen terms, average GPA for the bachelors degree in Architecture of 3.0 to 4.3. Basically, a B to A+ or 78% to 100%. In short, he is at a higher level than you in GPA terms. 

Aug 22, 19 11:21 pm

If there are any inaccuracy, I apologize due to my incomplete understanding of how Canadian University grading system works but from my reasoning, I understand it is different and there maybe inaccuracy but I hope I got the general principle down okay enough.

Non Sequitur

Ricky, also important to note is that not all universities here use the same grading system... at least that's how is was 10+ years ago when I was a student. Some used GPA style grades but out of 6 instead of 4... or something like that.  But we did not need the mini dissertation to establish that I'm better than Alina.


thanks for the info.


I saw a reference to the 0 to 9.0 scale as well.


I may have even computed the GPA wrong for him. However, this site might have some clue: Most likely, he'll fall within 63% and 72%. It could be lower if any of his grades were D or F.


N.S., "But we did not need the mini dissertation to establish that I'm better than Alina.".... I agree in regards to GPA and other areas. You are a licensed architect (or registered or whatever it is called there). She's not. I'm not, either but who cares anyway.

What did I miss here? Did AlinaF get some more posts nuked?

Non Sequitur

Alina started resurrecting every possible tread... She was at it for over an hour or so. I guess the green head had enough of the shenanigans.

Sounds like it was interesting if Balkins was rushing to defend you and compare GPAs between Canadian and US universities.

Chad Miller

The 'green head' ? Pardon my ignorance but I assume that's like the grand po-ba, or the man behind the curtain (aka admin)

Non Sequitur

That is correct Chad but I typically prefer to think of it like the giant floating head from Zardov.

Chad Miller

Oh god, the red singlet! My eyes, my eyes!

Chad Miller

On a related note what is up with this Alina person? I'm late to the party and want to catch up on all the gossip.

Here's some reading to help get you caught up: 

Last post on the page here (and replies): followed up with the first post (and replies) on the next page...

...and then the aftermath here:

Non Sequitur

EI's got it nailed. It went downhill very quickly after that.


Balkins mistakenly posted in this caulk thread because it bounced to the top of the list while he was in the midst of a string of defenses of his academic career, in another thread, after she trolled him into believing that she graduated from Portland State.

Chad Miller

All of Alina's posts are expunged in the links.


kjdt, I don't know if AlinaF graduated from Portland State or not. I don't have the evidence to say whether or not. One can be doubtful based on post comments but that is not enough proof alone. I did not try to read every post she ever posted. Maybe I wasn't interested enough.


E_A, I did defend N.S. in part that he would have had to have a percentile equivalent to a 3.0+ GPA just to get into the degree program and considering N.S. is a licensed Architect in Quebec province of Canada, he would have had to get the degree and have such a percentile level equivalent of a 3.0+ GPA. Technically, it is in the percentile system that they do the grading but there is a cross reference of percentile to GPA/Grade letter level. In short, he couldn't be a sloppy, lazy student coming into the program and can't be that way throughout if he is going to make it.

Non Sequitur

^Ricky, side note, I'm licensed in Ontario... not Quebec.


kjdt, I might have initially mistakenly posted here but some of her posts that were here right before my response seemed to have been nuked but I was replying to those. It's ok if we clean up the posts that were in response to her and clean up the non-relevant mess which is permission to remove the off-topic responses I made to AlinaF. It maybe better for the sake of the thread topic to clear out that irrelevant mess.


My apologies. Either way, still a common provincial requirement in all the provinces in Canada. For some reason, I was thinking you were licensed in Quebec. Ok, it's Ontario. Either way, you still need what would be effectively a 3.0 or higher GPA standard. Thanks for the clarification.


I did try to convey to AlinaF that she has a huge road ahead of her to improve her GPA level to get into an M.Arch like Portland State, UO, or I think any of the universities she was seeking. Not impossible but not something that she can likely do in just a year's time. I know because I have been down this road, essentially. UO's architecture program's admission requirement for getting into the B.Arch is 3.0 GPA or higher so essentially the same issue.


Ricky the PSU thread was a lie. Alina isn't doing any of those things & certainly doesn't need your misguided advice on the shit she's making up to troll entirely different people. Just... stop.


Yes Rick, it was a troll thread - a spoof of all the "I have an abysmal GPA, can I get into Princeton" threads. Just don't engage.


Lets stop with the spoof threads and accounts bullshit. Unless people literally hack this sites database, it is kind of fucking impossible to know if the person is real, fake, or otherwise.


Rick at least three of us told you in the 2.5 GPA thread that it was fake/trolling. Since you know you don't pick up as well on these things as many people do, why not just trust the regulars when they specifically tell you it's fake, instead of plowing right along?  Why would we tell you it's fake if it's not?


To bullshit me or something like that. There can be a plethora of reasons for people to bullshit me around. Okay, maybe I'll have to try to learn to trust you guys more than I have. The only reason you would know these are "fake/trolling" is you know who or those who is/are doing it. It is time to stop the bullshit fake trolling for awhile. I have seen some rather stupid people literally ask questions that you would might think can't be real but there are people that stupid. It is really difficult to discern fake stupid from real stupid. How many of you are seeing the IP address of those who posts comments or replies on this forum? I don't know AlinaF or if AlinaF is real. However, it did seem like AlinaF can't be real after a little dialogue back and forth. I was still giving the benefit of doubt that she may just be dense. I wasn't sure if AlinaF was fake or an annoying and strangely dense person. The word "troll" is so overly used that it doesn't mean anything. There are regulars who are trolls as well.

I can't just simply assume someone saying someone or something is simply a fake/trolling. I have to have supporting evidence like a police evidence level standard. If you tell me someone commited a crime, I need more facts and evidence to support it. That's the standard I hold. 

However, I did notice some pattern of behavior that do support a possible fake account and trolling but after some dialogue.

Non Sequitur

New rule for the caulk thread: If you're going to spam my inbox with replies, at least have the courtesy to include some caulk pics.

Chad Miller



I'm disappointed.  I clicked this thread for an eyeful of caulk.  And all I have is some disjointed ramblings as an update. 

Aug 27, 19 2:01 pm
Non Sequitur

You missed a great deal of the fun... I should dig up my original caulk pics from the broken links and repost

Do it NS. I dug up one of my lost photos and reposted it as a reply to the original above.

Non Sequitur

I just did.

Back to our originally scheduled programming ... this is an older photo I came across today. I forget exactly why I took it, but you have to admire the installer that decided the hanger rod belonged in the middle of a partition. I'm also noticing that it doesn't look like pillow packs or other firestopping devices installed for the data cables. I'm sure it was corrected before substantial completion.

Aug 27, 19 5:35 pm
Non Sequitur

Hot damn that's sexy. I know what the first few hours of my workday will be spent doing tomorrow... hint: it's searching for recent caulk pics.

Chad Miller

Are those pillow packs?  Never actually seen them installed in person . . .

That photo is from the manufacturer’s website. I wanted to show what it should have looked like.

Chad Miller

Isn't showing what it should have looked like pretty much the description of our careers? ;)

Chad Miller

More bad caulk

Image result for bad caulking job

Aug 28, 19 10:05 am
Non Sequitur

I don't know which is worse: the colour of the tiles and counter or the caulk job

Non Sequitur

When in doubt CAULK everything.

Aug 28, 19 12:34 pm

Holy shit.

Non Sequitur

Yep. Funny thing is, this wall is not rated... never needed it and was never designed as one. I was doing CA on a fit-up project and the city inspector demanded the GC install a full height (30' at least) 60min shaftwall to this existing not in scope partition. The copious amounts of red CAULK was the compromise we made with the inspector.

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: