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Any material used to seal joints and openings. Natural waterproofing materials, such as waxes and tars have been used since ancient times. Oil-based caulking, or Putty, was composed primarily of Calcium carbonate or Lead white mixed with drying oils. The first elastomeric sealant, developed in the 1950s, was composed of Polysulfide (Thiokol®). Butyl rubber sealants, also manufactured in the 50s, contained Talc, calcium carbonate, Polybutylene, Mineral spirits, and adhesion promoters. The first acrylic sealant, developed in 1958, was a solvent curing product that included calcium carbonate, Silica, Solvent, and Plasticizer. Silicone sealants, introduced in the 1960s, contained Fumed silica, calcium carbonate, ground Quartz, Carbon black, talc, and plasticizers. Polyurethane elastomers provide good abrasion resistance. Latex caulking, available in the late 1960s, eliminated the use of organic solvents. They typically contain a polymer emulsion (such as Polyvinyl acetate) in water with calcium carbonate, plasticizers, and other additives.

Synonyms and Related Terms

caulking (noun); caulk (verb); calking; cauking; sealant; putty; Kitt (Deut.); Glaserkitt (Deut.); Fensterkitt (Deut.); kalfatring (Dan.)

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • ASTM, "Standard Terminology Relating to Paint, Varnish, Lacquer and Related Products", Annual Book of ASTM Standards, Section 6, Paints, Related Coatings and Aromatics, ASTM, D16, 7-Jan, Jul-96
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Ivan Myjer, contributed information, 1998
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998