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Non-sag vs. Self-leveling Caulk: Which is better for repairing concrete cracks and joints?

By Sarah Etler - 11/28/22, 8:37 AM

Self-leveling, non-sag, or both? Find out which of these two concrete caulks is better suited for your repair.

Concrete caulking is a crucial step in maintaining your concrete, as wide-open cracks and joints make it easy for water to flow underneath the slab and wash away its base, causing it to settle

Water can also worsen open cracks in the concrete as it makes its way inside, freezes, and expands during freeze-thaw cycles.

Caulking can help prevent these things from happening, but how exactly should you go about it? 

This article will discuss everything you need to know about concrete caulk so you can get started on your concrete caulking project, or decide whether or not you want to leave it to the professionals.

What makes concrete caulk unique?

Concrete caulk is quite similar to what you imagine when you picture normal caulk used for interior applications or windows, but it is specifically designed to adhere to the roughness of concrete rather than smooth surfaces. 

Concrete caulk is a type of polymer caulk, which gives it a lot of elasticity. This is important because concrete expands and contracts as the temperature changes, and you want a caulk that will move with the concrete rather than pull away from it.

Tube of concrete caulk filling a joint between two concrete slabs

What are the different types of concrete caulk?

Self-leveling

Self-leveling concrete caulk is thin and runny, allowing it to easily fill the gap in the joint and flow evenly. It doesn’t require any finishing, as its self-leveling properties leave it with a smooth and level surface.

However, because self-leveling caulk is so thin and runny, it can flow through any cracks or holes. For this type of caulk to work, you have to make sure that the area is completely sealed up and free of any places where the caulk could leak through.

Non-sag or Non-self-leveling

Non-sag concrete caulk is thicker than self-leveling caulk, making it easier to control. It will not run through cracks or holes in the concrete. In fact, you can use non-sag caulk to dam up any places where you don’t want the thinner self-leveling caulk to run if you prefer to go that route.

Because non-sag caulk stays put and doesn’t flow, it has to be manually smoothed out for a nice finish. You can do this with a spray bottle full of soapy water and gloves, using your finger to smooth out the line of caulk. Depending on your desired look, you can also trowel non-sag caulk as a finishing technique.

Which type of concrete caulk is best?

Depending on what your goals are with concrete caulking, one type of concrete caulk may be better than the other.

Both self-leveling and non-sag caulk can be used to seal up breaks and joints in concrete, but because self-leveling will flow through holes or cracks, it requires more prep work to seal off the caulking area and prevent leaking. 

However, because it finishes with a level surface without manual smoothing, it is a good option for big jobs and areas that need a large amount of caulking done.

Here at A-1 Concrete Leveling we typically use non-sag caulk for smaller areas, like expansion joints and concrete cracks, as it’s much easier to control, and there’s no need to worry about the caulk leaking. 

Overall, the best type of concrete caulk depends on the quantity of caulking you have to do, and your desired amount of preparation vs. finishing.

Summary

Caulking your concrete’s cracks and breaks is an important step in maintaining and preserving it. Now you know which type of concrete caulk can help you do just that.

No matter which type of concrete caulk you choose, though, the important thing is making sure the application of the caulk is done correctly in order to keep out moisture. 

We have a DIY concrete caulking guide to teach you the step-by-step process available in our Concrete Academy, but if you would rather leave it up to the professionals to assess and treat your concrete cracks, breaks, and other problems, we’re here to help.

If you’re interested in having an A-1 Concrete repair specialist come take a look at your property, click the link below to request an onsite consultation and pricing estimate!

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Ron Nichols - Owner
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Very Good Mudjacking Experience: we needed mudjacking of garage and porch, and got 4 quotes. Alan (owner) was the only one of the quotes who actually spent time sounding the concrete with a ball, and truly trying to figure out the voids and their cause. He came up with a more detailed plan-- thinner mud, etc, and his quote was more transparent-- he charges by the truck of mud pumped in, flat rate. Others estimated that our job would need only 1 truck, but Alan at A-1 was more accurate in the estimate and thought it would be up to 3 trucks. The result was that A1's quote was both more accurate and a better deal. His team is awesome, they even put a tarp under their entire truck so absolutlely nothing falls on your drive, and they drilled extra holes to be sure they got all the voids, and were friendly. Afterwards it appeared that they had mopped the site-- even the dust from the drill was gone. It was nice to have a contractor who did the job they way they would do it for a family member or friend-- clean, thorough, professional. I really appreciated them taking the time to drill extra holes to ensure complete fill-- that will save me from having surprises in the future.

- Car Durant from St. Louis

A-1 Concrete Leveling, Inc.
(888) 675-3835
388 S. Main St. Suite 402b,
Akron, OH 44311