Sanded vs Unsanded Caulk – What is the Difference Between Them?

When it comes to making the right choice between unsanded and sanded caulk, there are many things to consider. If you need a caulk over limestone grouted tiles, then choose a flexible caulk. Hard caulk can leave a scratch over your tile!

However, this isn’t about only one concern. You might want to read our complete discussion on sanded vs unsanded caulk to discover more.

The main purpose of this research is to help you to have a better understanding of the differences. In the end, you will have enough information on both.

Let’s get straight to our discussion!

What Is Sanded Caulk?

sanded caulk

Sanded caulks like unsanded ones are specifically designed to use for high moisture areas specifically in bathrooms and kitchens. The main difference is that sanded caulks are used for larger gaps. Why larger gaps?

The reason is that they will not shrink due to sand! Added sand gives more immensity to it. If you have installed sanded grout tiles like a mosaic, tumbled marble, or handmade ceramic tiles, prefer sanded caulk over unsanded.

It creates a strong bonding within the grout and saves your tiles from joints cracking. This bonding also prevents adjacent joints from any kind of water penetration. So, your tiles will not contract. However, avoid using sanded caulks when gaps or grout joints are not wider than 1/8”. Instead use a standard caulk.

Don’t hesitate to use these caulks when coloring is required. These caulks are easily pintable. Mostly sanded caulks are acrylic or latex caulks. They are usually inexpensive and dries fast. They are available in more colors and varieties as compared to non-sanded caulks.

Uses of Sanded Caulk

We will suggest you use sanded caulk over joints where your granite countertop meets the backsplash. Another best application is where a tile meets a wood threshold. If your tile joints are sealed with grout cement than the caulk layer will make it stronger. This means it will prevent tiles from moving or sliding.

You can easily apply sanded caulk with a normal caulking gun.It can be easily maintained due to trouble-free cleaning. Keep in mind that sanded caulk is not intended to use on polished stones or tiles. As it can damage the tile’s refined surface.


Protection from Outside Elements

When used around the window frame gaps, it is common to get dirt spots in those gaps. This sealant gets hard due to sanding and provides strong protection against dust or small particles that can get into joints. This is a bulky sealant. It provides more volume to cover gaps properly.

Dust is one concern but you already know how difficult it is to avoid that moisture penetration over the grouted surface. This penetration can cause serious problems while damaging the structure of your tiles. As a result, your tiles or slates will look rotted or yellowish.

You can apply sanded caulk over grouted joints to protect it from cracking and moisture attack.

Watertight Seal

It is very important to cover those joints around the shower. Water flows from faucets or showers can just run right into gaps and then into tiles. This water seeping creates big damage and is costly to repair. Applying sanded caulking over these joints or among grouted tiles will save you from all troubles.

Instead of seeping, water will flow over the surface smoothly. It is always suggested to use sanded caulk over grouted tiles instead of standard unsanded caulk.


The first thing we would like to mention is that it has very good durability just like a standard quality caulk.The second thing is choosing sanded caulk will give you the advantage of choosing your favorite color. You can even paint over it.

Whether you have installed grouted tiles or are looking at a budget-friendly sealant for bigger gaps. A sanded sealant is the right choice. Don’t worry about resistance capacity. This low price doesn’t affect the resistance capacity.


Less Flexibility

Adding sand to caulk reduces its flexibility. So, it is harder as compared to any other sealant. This hardened form makes it more susceptible to crack. Another main thing to keep in mind is that as it doesn’t show the flexibility of standard caulk. This caulk is more difficult to remove or replace.

What Is Unsanded Caulk?

unsanded caulk

Unsanded caulk is just a standard caulk that is used for sealing joints to prevent leakage. They are flexible products. Unsanded caulk has a very smooth texture when compared to sanded caulk. As the name indicates that it doesn’t contain any sand grains in it.

It is a thin sealant that is recommended to use over narrow joints. If you have joints or gaps that are smaller than ⅛” width, use unsanded sealant. It can be easily applied and doesn’t create a mess.

Let us share the more common type of standard sealants that are used for sealing cracks.

Acrylic Caulk

This type of caulk is a multipurpose sealant and is mostly available in the form of a tile sealant.

Vinyl Latex caulk

Vinyl latex has a longer life span than an acrylic latex-based caulk.

Silicone caulk

Silicone caulking provides extra efficiency for mildew resistance.

You Also Read: Silicone Caulk vs  Plumbers Putty Difference Them

Polyurethane caulk

It is a professional grading caulk. It contains high VOC content and cannot be shaped or twisted easily.

Above mentioned caulks can also be used as sanded caulks by adding sand grains into them!


It is true that sanded caulks add more appearance and provides greater stability under specific conditions. But unsanded caulk is also required due to greater elasticity in material.

Let us clear this point by explaining that if you have sanded grouted tiles, use sanded grout. Sanded grout is thicker and provides a strong seal over sanded grout. However, on unsounded grout, always choose unsanded grout. As, a more flexible sealant is more compatible over unsanded tiles.

More elasticity also providesit more stickiness. So, if you want to seal vertically installed tiles or over walls, unsanded caulk will benefit you the most. Walls don’t have that much foot traffic and don’t require an increased permanence of sanded seal.


Conserving Energy

We cannot argue that we all want to save energy. Saving energy is directly proportional to less money. To keep it simple, you have to pay fewer utility bills by saving more power. But how it can happen with the help of standard caulk?

A standard caulk will allow a great guard against cold or hot air blasts. So, if you have airflow and cannot invest in it. Then don’t worry because you don’t have to. You don’t need a contractor to tight seal airflow. Instead seal it yourself with the help of caulk.

Water Protection

Now, whether it is sanded caulk or unsanded caulk, the main purpose is to provide strong resistance against water penetration. You can easily apply caulk over tiles in kitchens or on joints between bathtub and tiles to make them water-resistant,

You must know that even a small amount of water sweeping can damage a surface. This damage can spread over the whole structure. So, it is important to seal those gaps that are present between tiles.


Another major benefit of caulking is to block insects attack. You don’t want any insects in your home or working space! But to prevent that from happening it is important to seal those insects entrance spots.

Talking about their entrance areas, you must know that these little creatures can enter into your home from even a little crack over the window. They are small but you will know how trouble creating and frightening looks they have!

A simple solution is buying a standard durable caulk and seal those crack as soon as possible. It will also provide a more healthy and safe home environment.


Unsanded caulks are without any sand and thus are more flexible. So, don’t expect it to get dry! It will never get into a hard form. This will only get hard enough after completing its life span. Meaning if you are ready to wait for 10 to 15 years for the drying process. And that is ridiculous.

Comparison: Sanded vs Unsanded Caulk

Have you been wondering what difference does it going to make if you will choose sanded caulk over standard caulk? Been consulting and searching for the right choice for your tiling project?

If yes then you have found just the right article. For all do it yourself, we are going to give a quick review for choosing either sanded or un-sanded caulk in your renovation projects.

Let’s have a look!

Right Selection

To fill any larger joints, remember to choose sanded caulk over the standard one. we will give you the reason for this as well to clear any doubts. When the caulk is mixed with sand it works as a binder and becomes more resistant to gaps. It creates a heavier bulk and as a result, it provides more support to fill gaps usually larger than 1/8 inch in thickness.

For smaller and narrow gap fillings, use standard acrylic sealants as unsanded caulk. To fill gaps that are neighbored with sanded grouted tiles in a mosaic or tumbled fashion, sanded caulk is your project saver. It can also be used in expansion joints in the corner of walls.

Complimentary Usage

Another question that you will face while working on sealants is how to seal grout and whether it is necessary. We know you some of you might have been under the impression that caulk and grout are just the same and are often used interchangeably.

But we are going to break it. Yes, you in the back. No! it’s not. They are entirely different and used for different purposes.  When sealing the grout make sure you use the caulk with the same texture and appearance. Not understanding what we are saying?! Let us explain more.

It is always better to seal the sanded grout with sanded caulk as it will not only compliment the accent of your project but will add more stability for a longer period. Sand highlights a more desirable texture and compliments the accent of your tiling project.

For most skilled workers, it stands the cosmetic trick to their project. Also sanded caulks are easily available in more variety of colors so it can easily match your grout.


As opposed to greater support, when comes the question of flexibility, sanded caulk will not help you much. Due to its hard nature, when it comes under pressure regularly like countertops, bathtubs, etc. the area becomes subjected to cracks and seal might fall out.

However, this lack of flexibility comes at the cost of strong protection from water and dirt getting penetrated. To prevent these cracks, the easiest way is to maintain and redo minor repairs when needed periodically.

Mold Resistant

Sanded caulk is not resistant to mold. Overtime when you come in contact with moisture and high temperatures, you will see mold growing over your perfect work. Giving you an unpleasant odors. It can be prevented by using 100% pure silicone caulk over sanded caulk which requires extra care and perfect skill when applied.


Sanded caulking helps you to prevent water from reaching under the tile due to its water-resistant properties but if not maintained properly water will eventually get under it.

The elements of sand in the caulk due to their binding nature are very helpful in creating a protective sheet against water. It prevents moisture penetration. This helps you to stop worrying about your place being damaged by water exposure.


If you are thinking that one job done will be enough then you are lucky to be here! Because we are going to tell you before you experience it that it won’t last forever. One caulking job if done perfectly and with extreme care can last maximum for 3 years. Well! This is not a relief. Is it?!

To prevent this hectic practice, prefer sanded caulk vs unsanded caulk because it is easy to apply and when faced with minor damages, a tube sitting in the bottom shelf of your bathroom always comes in handy for these quick repairs and again it’s good as new.


Depending on how well you maintain the place after has a huge impact on the durability of your work and materials being used. If you are conscious of drying out the place after use every time like your bathroom, countertops etc., it will turn out much better and long-lasting for you but if you are not willing to put that conscious effort, well, no complaints will do any good.

Application and Installation

Considering the easy option for application and Installation? The answer is Sanded, Caulk! One of the main reasons for its easier application is that it is not 100% silicone which demands a great deal of care and protection that only experts can do with proper consideration for the timing of the application.

Using sanded caulk, you can relax and apply it easily with a sealant gun. You can wipe off the additional caulk with the use of clean water and sponge tile and your work will be as good as any.Sanded caulk is easily used for minor repairs and come in handy if you have an extra tube at home

Bonus Tip:

In addition to all the information, we will give you one more tip as a bonus. No matter the texture of sanded caulk, when applying with a tube it should come out smoothly. If not, this very well indicates that your product is out of date and should not be used.


We have tried our best to clear all the difference between sanded and unsanded caulk. Now it is completely up to you to choose a stable one for you.

We will recommend you to choose sanded caulk if you want to paint over it. However, if that is not your main concern go with a standard caulk as it has greater flexibility and can be easily maintained.

We are quite confident you will make the right selection about what to choose among sanded and unsanded caulk!

Thank’s for stay continue with siliconbeachla.

You Also Read: Choosing the Best Type of Drywall Mud for Your Project.

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