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From what I've found online, caulking takes 24-48 hours to dry. For my purposes, I need to apply caulking to my kitchen sink.

However, I am in a time crunch, so I would like to know how caulking dries. Specifically, can the dry time be sped up to less than 24 hours if I direct some fans at the caulking? Can apply a heat fan help too?

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if it is a silicone caulk, which is what would be recommended in a kitchen, then increasing the humidity will speed the cure. I will often lightly spray some water mist on the bead to help it cure. Latex-based caulk will cure faster with heat. – Paul Mar 19 at 3:04

6 Answers 6

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The tube of caulk should include drying and curing times. It will vary based on the product so you definitely want to go by the manufacturer's recommendation and not some general guideline on the web somewhere.

You are not the only person who does not want to have to wait a day or two before using their sink and bathtub and the caulk manufacturers know this. It should be easy to find caulks that dry much faster than this. Bathroom caulks are frequently advertising their "shower ready" time which is how long before it can get wet. It may take a day or two to fully cure but many caulks will be able to get wet after a few hours.

Like many "fast drying" products the downside is that you have less time to work with the product before it starts setting up. The last time I caulked my bathtub I used a very fast drying product that claimed it was "shower ready in 1 hour". I am not a perfect caulker so I kept adding more and smoothing it out; unfortunately it started "clumping up" after maybe 20 minutes so I ended up with lumps. If I had used a product that took longer to dry I would have had more time to smooth it without it starting to dry and get a skin over the top.

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The general answer to this is "read the instructions". Each product has different drying times. I did a Google search for "Quick drying caulking" and the first product that came up was a DAP product claiming "ready to paint in 30 minutes".

I would not recommend trying to speed up the process with heat.

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Heat gun can make it dry way faster

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For all types of caulk, in all situations? I highly doubt it. If you can back up your answer with a source and add some qualifiers, I'll remove my downvote. – Doresoom Aug 11 '14 at 18:23

Applying heat directly to silicone caulking will soften it up and could cause it to lose its adherence to the surface. Heating silicone aids in removal.

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If it is 100% silicone mix dish soap and water about 20% dish soap . This will make it cure faster . Found this out using silicone to make a mold disk soap acts as a catalyst to silicone

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Better solution! Heat up your your sink water if you're doing your tub, use the same routine if you were to work on your sink. You will feel the humidity in the bathroom!

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