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How to Paint Over Silicone Caulk

Silicone caulk is more durable and expandable than acrylic caulk. For this reason it is often preferable to use silicone caulk when possible. The drawback is that it cannot simply be painted over. Most primer or final coat paints will not adhere to it, leaving behind bare spots when the painting is done. Even several coats will not deal with the problem.

It is fine to say that you should have used paintable silicone caulk first or that acrylic should the choice. However, there is often pre-existing caulk that needs to be painted. There are several possible ways to paint over silicone caulk:

  • Probably the easiest way to deal with this problem is to put a thin film of paintable silicone caulk over the caulk that is already there. The problem with this is that the new caulk can end up adding another messy layer to the caulk already there.
  • Denatured alcohol can rough up the silicone caulk especially with the additional use of sand paper so that it can hold a layer of primer and then a layer of weather-coat. However, the paint will not hold as well as it will on wood or other surfaces. It may have a two or three year life. Oil based paint will stick better than acrylic.
  • You might try scraping the old caulk out and simply replacing it with painter's caulk. However, this can be a messy and time consuming process.
  • Ultimately, the most effective means, with the best results, might be to use mineral spirits to break down the silicone to make removal easier, then replace it with paintable caulk.

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Learn how to paint over silicone caulk.

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