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How to Paint Over Silicone Caulk [2 Methods Explained]

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You’ve caulked around your tiles with silicone and now you want to paint over it. But the paint won’t stick. And you’re stuck having to look at the clear white material that interrupts your beautiful paint.   

How to paint over silicone caulk?

You’ll need to increase the roughness of the silicone surface. And prime it. To increase the roughness you’ll need to sand the caulk. And you can either prime it using an oil-based primer. Alternatively, you can use a shellac spray. Once the surface has been primed, the paint will easily stick. 

That’s the short version. There’s a lot more to the painting process. So I suggest you keep reading for the details.

Painting the Silicone Caulk 

I’ll make the methods easy to follow by breaking them down into a few steps. Either method will take a while to carry out. But with this guide, they’ll definitely be easy to execute.

Method 1: Priming with Oil

This method is a bit lengthier. But will provide a longer-lasting and better-looking output. Here’s how you do it-

Step 1: Sanding The Silicone

Silicone surfaces are usually waterproof. A positive feature in general. But detrimental when it comes to painting. Since it’s waterproof, the surface is extremely smooth. 

This prevents anything from adhering to silicone. The paint will simply form beads that will roll-off. So, you’ll need to start by sanding the surface. Sanding silicone is quite easy and you won’t even need any abrasive material.

Just dip a rag in denatured alcohol and rub the surface with it. A few wipes will strip the smooth surface and make it rough. 

There’s more to it! We use a lot of different kinds of abrasives and tools with them. So in this process, alternatively, you can use a mild abrasive tool like plastic mesh pads. This tool will help you to achieve the same effect. 

Step 2: Adding to the Roughness

Once you’ve roughed up the silicone, it’s time to apply a coat of acrylic latex caulk. Keep in mind that this second coat needs to be thin. This layer only serves to increase the roughness of the silicone.

You can use one of these acrylic latex caulks if you’ve not used one before:

Product 1 
Product 2

In my experience, both of these are great choices. Let the new layer dry up before moving to the next step.

Step 3: Priming the Caulk

When the new layer dries, you can move on to the priming. You’ll need to use an oil-based primer. Using white paint to prime might sound tempting but don’t use it. Use a proper primer. 

You can either paint over the surface with a brush. Or you can get a primer spray. Either way, as long as you use an oil-based primer, you’ll have a good base. The primer should be allowed to dry for as long as instructed. 

Step 4: Painting the Caulk 

Now that you’ve completed the preparations, it’s time to paint. Get an oil-based paint and brush it onto the primed silicone. This time the paint will properly stick to the surface. 

But beware to let the paint dry before letting any moisture touch it.

If the paint is still wet, water will ruin it. And it might even cause the paint to come off. On a side note, don’t get any of the paint in your hair. Removing oil-based paint from hair is a hassle. 

Method 2: Priming with Shellac

You’ll be able to execute this method far quicker. And you won’t have to worry about the moisture as much. 

Step 1: Roughing Up the Surface

The first step is the same. Use a rag dipped in alcohol to sand the silicone. This will make the surface rougher. And that will enable primer and paint to adhere to the surface better. 

Step 2: Spraying with Shellac

Once you’ve sanded the surface, you can use the shellac primer. Get a good shellac spray primer. Next, shake it up and down 12-14 times to mix well. And then, spray the surface holding the can 2-3 inches away from the silicone surface.

Spray till the entire silicone is covered with shellac. Once it’s done, let the shellac sit for 45 minutes. 

Step 3: Painting over the Caulk

After 45 minutes, you can finally paint the silicone. Pick a paint of your choice. Any kind of paint will stick to shellac. Just get the paint and use a brush to coat the silicone in it.

Wait for the first coat to dry. If you can still see the shellac underneath afterward, apply another coat. And that’s how you paint over silicone caulk. 

Replacing the Silicone Caulk

You can get around the problem in another way. That is removing the non-paintable silicone caulk. Which will then be replaced with a paintable caulk. 

Tools 

If you choose to replace the caulk you’ll need the following tools:

  • Heat gun
  • Putty knife
  • Straight razor 
  • Paintable Caulk 
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol

Process

I’ll break down the replacement process into 3 steps. 

Step1: Removing the Silicone

Use the heat gun to heat up the silicone. And slowly scrape the silicone with the putty knife. Don’t apply force on the knife. Let the heat work the silicone. Once you’ve taken the silicone off, come back and scrape any residue with the straight razor. 

Step 2: Cleaning the Surface

After you’ve removed the caulk, clean the surface. Take the microfiber cloth and put rubbing alcohol on it. Then wipe down the entire exposed surface. Let the alcohol evaporate. 

Step 3: Re-Caulking the Surface

With the surface clean, it’s time to put the paintable caulk in. Take the paintable caulk tube and slowly squeeze it onto the surface. Let it completely cure before you move to paint it. 

When you’re done replacing the caulk you can just paint over it. The peeling issues will not arise if you’re using a paintable caulk. 

That’s all for painting a silicone caulk. 

FAQs

Question: Can I caulk over grout in the shower?
Answer: Yes. You can apply caulk over the grout. But you’ll need to make sure the surface is dry and clean. A sealed damp environment will cause mold to grow. 

Question: Does caulking need to be changed?
Answer: Yes. All materials deteriorate over time. The caulk will also deteriorate and need to be replaced. 

Question: When should I replace the caulk?
Answer: If there are signs of mold or mildew, you’ll need to replace the caulk. Or, if the caulk is cracked and dried, you’ll have to replace it. 

Conclusion

Were you wondering how to paint silicone caulk? I have cleared everything about the topic in this article. 

Just keep in mind that without a primer the silicone will not hold any paint.

That wraps up my thoughts. Hope you’ve followed along and can paint your caulk to a color of your choosing.

Goodbye!