Bathroom Caulk Not Drying – What To Do?

It can be frustrating when you’ve used caulk in the bathroom, but you’re worried about how long it will take to dry. It can be inconvenient when you need to shower but can’t until after the caulk dries because it could further slow down the drying process. Luckily, we’ve researched this problem to help you speed up caulk’s drying time.

The best way to speed up caulk’s drying time is to address any issues before you caulk. Here are some things to can do:

If you’ve already caulked and it’s taking a while to dry, you can try:

  • Changing the temperature.
  • Controlling moisture.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors that could cause caulk not to dry as quickly. We’ll also explain some things you can do to speed up drying time both before and after you caulk. Continue reading to learn more.

Caulking the bathroom tile, Bathroom Caulk Not Drying - What To Do?

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What Causes Caulk Not To Dry Quickly?

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plumber apply silicone sealant to the joint bathtubs and ceramic tile.

Amount of Moisture

The amount of moisture in the air is the most likely reason for caulk taking a long time to dry. There are different types of caulk that are made from different base ingredients. Some types of caulk require there to be a lot of moisture in the air, while others require there to be very little moisture.

It’s also important to note that there is a difference between drying and curing when it comes to caulk. Caulk may look and feel dry on the surface due to having more exposure to air, but it may not be cured. That means that it may not be dry all the way through. 

The amount of moisture in the air can affect the curing process as well. While the amount of moisture in the air may not affect the drying time, it’s possible that there was moisture on or in the caulked surface. This could affect the drying and curing time as well.

Age Of Caulk

The second most likely reason that caulk is taking a long time to dry is that the caulk you are using is old. We get it; it’s more convenient to use caulk that you already have at home instead of having to buy more. But the problem is that we sometimes underestimate how long we’ve had the caulk just lying around the house.

As is the case with most things, caulk has chemicals in it that give it the required properties. Some of those chemicals affect how long the caulk should take to dry. If caulk has been sitting somewhere for several months or even years, the chemicals lose their effectiveness. That means that it could take longer to dry or cure.

Type of Caulk

There are different types of caulk, and some are better suited for certain purposes than others. For example, some types of caulk can handle moisture better than others can. Others are better for use on certain materials. In addition, there are some types that are more quick-drying. 

If you feel like the caulk you used in the bathroom isn’t drying as fast as it should or as fast as you need it to, it’s possible that the type of caulk you were using wasn’t best suited for the bathroom. Don’t worry, though. It will still dry; it just might take a little longer than you expect.


The final reason that caulk might take a long time to dry is due to temperature. Caulk can dry as long as it’s used in a room with a temperature between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, although specific temperatures vary based on the type of caulk you are using. 

If you’re using caulk that you’ve had for a little while, it’s possible that the area where it was stored was too cold. For example, if caulk was stored outside in a storage shed and you’re using it during the winter, it could have frozen at some point before you used it. The temperature of the caulk itself being too cold could affect how long it takes to dry.

How To Speed Up Drying Time

hands of man putting a silicon with a silicon tube in bathroom. - Bathroom Caulk Not Drying - What To Do

Now that we’ve learned the factors that could affect how long caulk takes to dry, it’s time to learn how we can speed up drying time. Keep in mind that it’s best to be proactive and make the necessary adjustments before you caulk. But if you’ve already caulked in the bathroom and need it to dry faster, we’ll share some things you can do to try to make that happen as well.

Use The Right Caulk

Before you caulk in the bathroom, it’s important to know what kind you should be using so that it dries quickly and effectively. There are generally three kinds of caulk: silicone, acrylic latex, and polyurethane. Silicone caulk is the best type to use in the bathroom because it sticks to ceramic, glass, and metal and will dry fairly quickly.

Click here to see this silicone caulk on Amazon.

Acrylic latex caulk is not ideal for use in the bathroom because it can crack over time, although it dries quickly. This could cause water to get behind the area where caulk was used and cause damage. Polyurethane caulk can also be used in the bathroom because it creates a watertight seal, but it will take longer to dry than other types of caulk.

Read more: Should You Caulk Around Your Toilet?

Use New Caulk

If possible, it is better to use new caulk in the bathroom if you want it to dry quickly. If you have old caulk lying around, of course, you can use it. But you should check the expiration first to make sure that it is still good. Otherwise, it won’t dry quickly, and there isn’t much you can do to speed it up.

Adjust the Temperature

If you’re about to caulk in the bathroom or have already caulked and want to speed up drying time, you can try adjusting the temperature in the room. Caulk will dry faster in warmer temperatures, so if you can bear it, turn your thermostat to 75 to 80 degrees. 

Otherwise, you can turn on an electric heater in the bathroom and close the door to warm up the room. Be careful if you do this, though, and don’t leave the house unless you’ve unplugged the heater. You should also avoid applying heat directly to the caulk (think hairdryer) because it could cause the caulk to melt instead.

Adjust the Moisture

Before you caulk in the bathroom, make sure the surface you are caulking is dry, or it could slow down drying time. You should also avoid taking a shower right before you caulk or right after because it can affect the amount of moisture in the air.

If you’ve already caulked and it’s taking a while to dry, you can try to adjust the level of moisture in the air to speed it up. If the air is too moist, try plugging in a fan to help evaporate some of the moisture. This will help acrylic latex caulk dry faster.

However, if you used the preferred silicone caulk, there needs to be moisture in the air in order for it to dry properly. If the air is too dry and requires more moisture, you can add a humidifier to the room to speed up drying time.

How Long Does Bathroom Caulk Take To Dry?

The man applying silicone sealant. The man fixing home.

Silicone caulk may feel dry when you touch it in about 30 minutes, but remember that drying time and curing time are different. It’s best to give it a few hours or overnight to completely dry and cure.

Why Is My Bathroom Caulk Not Drying?

Worker puts silicone sealant to caulk the joint between tub and wall.

If bathroom caulk isn’t drying in the time that it should, it is likely that the amount of moisture in the air is either too much or too little for the type of caulk you’re using. But if it’s been several days and the caulk still isn’t dry, you should remove it and buy new caulk. The other caulk was probably expired or a bad batch. 

What Happens If Caulk Gets Wet Before It Dries?

If caulk gets wet before it dries, it will slow down the drying time. In the worst-case scenario, the caulk may not adhere in certain places where it got wet. If it doesn’t adhere, water could get behind it and cause mildew growth.

Can I Paint Over Wet Caulk?

paint old tiles with glue

You can paint over wet caulk, but it may not look as good once it gets dry. It’s best to wait at least three to four hours before you paint over caulk. But, you should know that paint won’t stick to silicone caulk. The best type of caulk to paint over is polyurethane-based caulk.

Read more: How Long Does It Take Caulk To Dry Before Painting?

In closing

We hope this article was helpful for understanding why caulk may take longer to dry and how to speed it up. Remember that it’s better to make adjustments before you caulk rather than after. Thanks for reading!

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