Non Paintable Caulk Photo

How do I paint over not-paintable caulk?


I’ve recently had some repairs done to the exterior of my house.  The carpenter caulked the repairs with silicone caulk and now I can’t paint it.  Whenever I apply paint to the area it just slides off.  What can I do?


This is a common problem as carpenters are not always knowledgeable about finishing techniques.

If you need to paint over silicone caulk, you have two options.  First, you can carelfully cut or scrape out all of the offending caulk and then recaulk with a paintable caulk.  If the the silicone caulk is freshly cured this can be a major problem as this stuff is very strong and hard to remove.

The second, and better option, is to simply cover the silicone caulk with a paintable caulk.  The paintable caulk will adhere to the silicone and then you can paint freely over the top.

10 replies
    • Jeanie Deaton
      Jeanie Deaton says:

      Your wife is a genius. I was skeptical but it worked like a charm. That was a life saver. Thanks for posting.

  1. Kelly Head
    Kelly Head says:

    Richard, I’ve never met your wife but I think I love her. I’ve got no – paintable silicone throughout my main bathroom and was dreading peeling it out when I tried your wife’s trick. Worked like a charm.

  2. Roger
    Roger says:

    Sorry for the questions, but want to make it work on my project. Doesn’t the “breeze” from the hairdryer blow the paint off the already slippery surface (my paint was bubbling and sliding off the silicone – on a flat surface…? Does the heat help bind the silicone or paint?

    • Joe
      Joe says:

      Roger – My theory is the heat from the hair dryer partially melts (or at least softens) the silicone so that both elements (paint + silicone) bond as they dry together. Just a theory.

  3. Joe
    Joe says:

    Excited to give this tip a try – as the alternative works well but is much more time consuming and detail oriented:

    – sand the non-paintable caulk
    – cover sanded cauling with joint compound (allow to fully dry)
    – paint as per usual

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