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This is a general inquiry into silicone sealants that you buy at home improvement stores in 10oz tubes.

Many of us have fallen a victim to “Good/Better/Best” marketing strategy of manufacturer offerings. But when it comes to silicone, does more expensive really make a difference?

I mean the “All purpose” silicone is. 100% silicone, and no matter what additives it has that makes it set a little quicker, doesn’t it in the end end up being the same silicone as that “mold free” “10 year” silicone?

Is it a waste of money to pay as much as sometimes 25-30% more for the premium silicone?

Thanks!

EDIT: Just providing some more detail. Let's say it is for windows and door use, as it's probably most common next to bathroom use.

Features (skipping some fluff, such as lifetime limited warranty):

GE All Purpose Silicone $5.38

  • 100% Waterproof and same-day water-ready
  • 7-year mold-free protection
  • Permanently flexible
  • Meets ASTM C-920, class 25
  • Strong adhesion and durability
  • Same-day rain-ready
  • Shrink and crack-proof
  • Freeze and sun-proof

GE Advanced Silicone $6.78

  • 100% waterproof seal and 30-minute water-ready
  • 10-year mold-free protection
  • Excellent adhesion; will not blemish most high-end metal finishes
  • Meets ASTM C-920, Class 35
  • 40% more flexibility than Class 25 sealants
  • 5X stronger adhesion
  • 30-minute water-ready
  • Shrink and crack-proof

GE Supreme Silicone $8.98

  • 100% waterproof and weatherproof; 30-minute water-ready
  • lifetime mold-free product protection
  • Excellent adhesion and flexibility with 50% joint movement
  • Meets ASTM C-920, Class 50
  • 100% silicone is permanently weatherproof
  • Caulk is permanently sun-proof, freeze proof and flexible
  • Typical uses include windows, doors, siding, trim, moulding, baseboards, vents, around wires/pipes and other attic/basement applications
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    That’s opinion based but the compounds are different cheap stuff grows mold in a few months in my bathroom but we bathe the dogs in the tub. The mold free makes a difference I don’t know if it ever lasts as long in a shower / bathtub area but it is worth it in my opinion.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 0:26
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    I’d first ask what you are using it for. Many people default to silicone when they could use an acrylic or hybrid product. If it’s interior and not likely to see a lot of water, I like Big Stretch because it’s less likely to crack in areas prone to movement. If it’ll see a lot of water, for sure go with silicone. Like Ed said, if you’re looking for a shower/bath application, the anti mold/mildew stuff is worth it. They put some kind of additive in it that prevents mold/mildew growth.
    – daneb
    Commented Jan 14, 2021 at 4:54

1 Answer 1

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I looked up ASTM-920 to see what Class-25, Class-35 and Class-50 meant.

Turns out the higher the class the more flexible and more adhesive your final joint will become. If you need the flexibility, you may want to go to a higher class.

There may also be a difference between the amount of biocide these caulks contain, allowing some to be more resistant than others to mold.

So in short, there does seem to be a difference.

If you have a shower installed on a flexible (wooden) floor, and this shower is used often, perhaps you may want to buy the most expensive one. For a basement shower that barely ever gets used and is installed on a stiff concrete floor (unlikely to experience flexing), perhaps you can use the least expensive.

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