Can You Caulk in Cold Weather? – Caulking Temperature.

You may wonder when discovering a crack or gap around a window or door in the dead of winter whether you can use caulk. Most caulking products are recommended for use in warmer temperatures. However, there is no reason why you must wait for spring to apply caulk.
Man Applying Caulk in Winter
Of course, you may want to use a temporary fix that seals the gap until the spring arrives. This is because caulk works best in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. But you can purchase caulk designed for lower temperatures. Plus, you can caulk with rubber or silicone, which is still applicable in low-temperature environments.

Will Caulking Cure in the Cold?

Yes, caulking can dry in cold temperature conditions. But you can minimize the curing time by keeping the caulk inside a warm room until just before it is needed. This will ensure that the caulk flows from the tube and into the gap properly.

Obviously, if the caulk will not be exposed to the outside conditions, then you can apply it inside at room temperature. For exterior applications, you should always apply the caulk during the warmest part of the day.

Close-up of a caulking tube in cold weather
There will be some contraction that may take place as the caulk hardens and cures. So, you will need to use a low-temperature caulk in such cases.

Caulking Temperature Range

The ideal application temperature range for most caulking products is 40 degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 5 to 38°C). Temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit tend to cause the caulking to solidify too soon. While temperatures above 100 degrees F tend to cause, the caulk to run or not properly adhere. This is especially true in high-humidity situations.

Some specialized products like the DAP Sidewinder siding and window sealant offer a wider range of application temperature from 20°F to 120°F

What happens if you apply the caulk in cold weather?

The biggest concern is not so much the temperature unless it is truly frigid. The most important concern is the application of the caulk on a solid, dry surface. Any moisture that is present will cause the caulk not to adhere properly.

Clean the surface thoroughly to remove any dirt and moisture on the adhering surface. The moisture content in the air is not an issue once you complete the sealing.

Although it may take up to 24 hours for the caulking to cure completely, most high-quality silicone-based sealants can be exposed to water after 30 minutes.

Type of Caulk to Use in Cold Weather

The best type of caulk to use in cold weather is silicone or hybrid sealant. Silicone is less likely to expand or contract under changing temperature conditions. Plus, its waterproof nature means that it is more resistant to icing and thawing compared to acrylic latex.

Another type of caulk is one that contains rubber. Rubber is similar to silicone in the sense that it is highly resistant to water. Plus, it tends to work better in colder conditions while being resistant to the elements.

You should not use acrylic latex caulk unless the temperature is in the 40-to-100-degree F range.

Some specific caulking products to consider for colder weather conditions include the following.

  • DAP 801 Caulk
  • GE Sealants & Adhesives: GE 5000 Advanced Silicone 2 Window & Door Sealant
  • Gorilla Clear 100 Percent Silicone Sealant Caulk
  • OSI Quad Window, Door & Siding Sealant
  • Titebond Weathermaster Sealant

All the sealants listed here are proof against the cold weather. This means that you can apply them under most conditions.

Datasheet of GE Advanced Silicone 2
GE Advanced Silicone 2® Datasheet
Silicone sealing such as the one from GE can withstand a temperature up to -60°F, which will protect your windows and doors in extreme winter conditions.

Be sure to keep the sealant warm so that it flows smoothly from the tube.