How Long Does Caulk Take to Dry – (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 24 hours

Understanding how caulk dries will help you purchase the right kind and correctly use it. There are three types of caulk available in the market; silicone, acrylic latex, and polyurethane.

Since they are all made from a different compound, the amount of time taken to dry each caulk differs. In this article, we are going to provide you with comprehensive information on how long does caulk takes to dry.

How long does it take caulk to dry?

Acrylic latex24 hours
Silicone caulk48 hours
Polyurethane caulk10 days

As previously stated, the amount of time taken to dry caulk largely depends on the type of caulk you are using. We shall go through all the three types of caulk and the time they take to dry.

Acrylic latex

This caulk is perfect for filling small joints and gaps in woods, particularly on areas being painted and not exposed to water. Acrylic latex shrinks and cracks when exposed to water over a long time hence exposing the surface to water damage.

However, nowadays, acrylic latex is mixed with silicone to improve their durability, flexibility and water resistance. Mixing silicone and acrylic latex makes an excellent component for sink and tub usage.

Acrylic latex takes approximately 24 hours to dry; however, this depends highly on the temperature and amount of humidity.

Silicone caulk

This caulk is perfect for use with glass, ceramic and metal; this is because it sticks well to smooth and nonporous surfaces. Silicone caulk creates a flexible and long-lasting bond.

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Nowadays, there are silicone caulks with antimicrobial additives which are great for preventing the growth of microbes in the kitchen and bathroom. Silicone caulk takes approximately 12 to 48 hours to dry depending highly on the temperature and humidity of an environment.

Polyurethane caulk

This caulk is becoming popular every single day, particularly in window seals and outdoor uses. Polyurethane caulk is paintable and is known for providing excellent elasticity, creating a watertight seal and repelling dirt.

However, polyurethane takes long to cure when compared to Acrylic latex caulk and silicone caulk. Usually, polyurethane caulk takes approximately three to ten days completely cure. Time taken to cure this caulk depends highly on temperature and humidity.

Understand how caulk reacts to moisture

Understanding how caulk reacts to humidity will help you choose the best one for your project. Usually, acrylic latex dries faster when water evaporates from the material used. Therefore, using a fan will help speed up the drying process. In contrast, silicone-based caulk requires moisture in order to cure and dry.

Using a humidifier in the room will help speed up the drying process of silicone caulk. When it comes to polyurethane caulk, exposure to direct water or additional moisture will reduce its drying process.

You should consider protecting it from moisture and water for a minimum of three days.


Apart from water, moisture or humidity, the temperature is another aspect you will need to consider when it comes to drying caulk. The recommended temperature for curing and applying caulk ranges from 40o F to 80o F.