Skip to Content

Sanded Vs Unsanded Caulk For Showers – Which Is Best?

Constructing shower rooms is one of the most challenging projects. You have a lot to consider, more so functionally, especially when there are too many contradicting opinions regarding its parts. You must be wondering whether you should go with sanded or unsanded caulk, so we have researched opinions from experts to help you. 

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

It is highly recommended to go with unsanded caulk for showers since it will mostly be in contact with water. Unsanded caulk is better suited in "wet" environments such as kitchens and shower rooms because of the following factors:

  • Waterproof
  • Mold-resistant
  • Crack-resistant
  • Fixing small installation errors
  • Best for smaller joints
  • Better appearance

You may use sanded caulk if you have large tile joints since they tend to have a bulky appearance. However, note that they also tend to not be as flexible as unsanded caulk, so they may be prone to cracking. 

Caulk has a lot of benefits for little effort, so they're worth looking into if you want to improve your shower room's functionality or if you need to fix something. Keep reading below to learn more about how to determine the right caulk for your showers.

Woman using silicone cartridge for fixing aluminum batten of shower cabin, Sanded Vs Unsanded Caulk For Showers - Which Is Best?

Why Should You Use Unsanded Caulk?

Determining whether you should use sanded or unsanded caulk can be confusing, especially when you're not familiar with the components of each one--let alone if they are compatible with your shower room.

However, using unsanded caulk has more benefits, and it takes less work. Caulking generally has a lot of benefits, but you can only maximize them if you know which type of caulk to use. 

Here are the following reasons why you should go for unsanded caulk for your shower rooms. 

Read: How To Fill Gaps Between Tiles [Using Grout, Caulk, Gap Filling Powder, Or White Cement]

Waterproof

Having waterproof components in your shower room--or anywhere that is often exposed to water--is essential to keep the space functional.

You wouldn't want any material in the shower to break down when it comes in contact with excessive amounts of water, so it's best to use unsanded caulk even solely for this reason. 

Having waterproof caulk is also essential to maintain the structure of your tiles and joints. If the joints are strong, you wouldn't be plagued with too many repairs. 

Having waterproof caulk will have a domino effect of benefits that you won't have to worry about.

Check out this unsanded caulk on Amazon.

Mold-resistant

Unsanded caulk will protect your surfaces from mold and mildew, which is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle. Mold and mildew can be dangerous if left unchecked, so it's best to avoid that issue as much as possible by using unsanded caulk. 

Since unsanded caulk is generally waterproof, it cannot absorb water and thus cannot accommodate the growth of bacteria.

Some nooks and corners often go unnoticed, so if the caulk isn't waterproof, you might unknowingly grow mold in your shower. 

Having mold-resistant caulk will also prevent it from rotting, which can compromise the structure of your shower room and lead to more repairs. 

Crack-resistant

Slight movements on the ground are inevitable because of gravitational movements, especially if you live in a building or an old home. So, you will need something that is flexible enough to easily accommodate these shifts. 

Unlike Sanded caulk, Unsanded caulk doesn't have impurities that make it prone to breaking apart when faced with slight shifts. 

The purpose of caulk is to cover gaps, so it's useless if you use caulk that will form gaps in a few years because of its inflexibility. 

Going for unsanded caulk is also essential if the home is starting to age since shifting is more frequent in these structures. 

Read: Should You Caulk The Bottom Of Baseboards?

Fixing Small Installation Errors

Craftsmen are using silicone adhesives for general and industrial applications

Unsanded caulk is ideal if you want to fix small gaps and installation errors instantly. Since unsanded caulk is flexible, it can fix small errors both in form and function.

Not only can it fix small gaps, as well as how the joints meet--it can also fix how the surface looks. You just need to do the job as smoothly as possible, then paint the caulk with the same color as its surrounding surfaces. 

However, if there is a more serious error, it's best to have the whole thing re-done. Otherwise, you're good with using unsanded caulk. 

Best For Smaller Joints

Unsanded caulk works best with smaller joints, specifically those smaller than 1/8-inch. This is because unsanded caulk doesn't have an unpredictable consistency, unlike sanded caulk which has added thickness (which makes it bulkier) and texture.

This makes unsanded joints better at fixing nooks and corners that need extreme precision. This is especially important if you want to avoid growing mold in the smallest areas of your shower room. 

Better Appearance

Caulk generally improves the aesthetic appeal of any space since it gives off a more polished look, making your structures and surfaces look good as new. 

With unsanded caulk, you can easily achieve this, especially for shower rooms since you can easily make them blend into the shower room's interior. 

Benefits of Caulking

Technician man hand holding and using glue gun, silicone tube or manual caulking gun to seal the expansion joint between cement wall and the metal

Now that you've been made aware of the reasons why you should use unsanded caulk, you should be familiar of the general advantages of different kinds of caulk.

Of course, you should still use specific caulking for different areas of your home. When you use the right type of caulk for a specific type of issue, you can experience all the benefits with no problems.

Here are the general benefits of all caulking types:

Improved Insulation

If you have a watertight seal, it automatically improves the airflow in the space making it better insulated. This is why it's essential to caulk even the smallest gaps since they can make a domino effect resulting in higher energy consumption. 

Less Risk of Water Damage

Whether in the shower area or anywhere else in the house, you wouldn't want to suddenly find surfaces getting water-damaged. This is where applying caulk becomes essential. 

As much as possible, you should immediately fix any gap that may be a potential entrance for water or excessive moisture. Moisture can make surfaces rot or get weaker, so make sure to use waterproof caulk as much as possible. 

Keeps Pests Out

One of the most annoying and potentially dangerous things we encounter around the house are bugs and pests. They can easily bite through your walls or joints, so make sure to caulk potential entrances to prevent pests from gaining access to your home. 

What Are Different Kinds of Caulk?

Unsanded caulk generally comes in different types, and each one has its own share of pros and cons. As always, you should weigh which one is right for your home so you can avoid expensive repairs in the future.

Here are the different types of caulk you can look into:

Acrylic Latex

The saw cut with acrylic sealant

Acrylic Latex caulk is one of the most widely-used caulk because of its reliability and flexibility. You can easily apply one in the smallest gaps in your home, and you just have to wait a few minutes for it to dry. 

Check out this acrylic latex sealant on Amazon.

Silicone

New silicone is applied with a silicone syringe in the bathroom

Silicone caulk is what you should use for areas that come into contact with water. They tend to be pricier, but the extra cost is better than dealing with future repairs. 

However, pure silicone caulks cannot be painted, so you may think twice if the aesthetic appeal is one of your priorities. 

Check out this silicone sealant on Amazon.

Butyl Rubber Caulk

Butyl Rubber Caulk is generally weather-resistant and can accommodate random expansion and contractions. They are highly durable, so they are better suited for outdoor projects.

You can use this caulk to seal pipes, siding, gutters, roofs, and joints. You can use this for your shower room if you want something paintable and heavy-duty. 

Polyurethane Sealant

Technician man hand using glue gun with silicone adhesive or manual caulking gun with polyurethane to fix the metal steel

Polyurethane sealants are highly durable and high quality, but they only last up to 5 years, so reapplication is required. This sealant is ideal for sealing the wood, so you can apply them in living rooms and bedroom spaces.

Polyurethane sealant also cures fast, so it's ideal if you want a quick fix. You can also paint over it, so the visual appeal isn't a problem. 

Final Thoughts

Applying caulk around the house is highly crucial to maintaining structural integrity, especially in areas that deal with a lot of water and moisture. 

As always, maintenance is key to maintaining the functionality of different spaces in your home.