Home and Living has been told that allergens can create cold-like symptoms and mold may be the culprit. Homeowners often turn to bleach or moisture control to inhibit mold or mildew especially in the bath and kitchen, but few realize that by choosing the right caulk one can significantly impede the growth of fungus in the home. Today we discuss this with a representative, Rodney Hawkins, for GE Silicone II* Kitchen and Bath and GE Silicone II* Kitchen and Bath Supreme.
Q.: Rodney, thanks for visiting. What is your “day job”?
R.: I am the General Manager for the Sealants division at Momentive Performance Materials, the exclusive licensee and manufacturer of GE caulk.
Q.: There are things living in our bathroom showers, tubs and sinks—what are they? And are they bad for our health?
R.: Well, mold could be lurking in those areas. Mold can form and grow in moisture-rich areas inside or outside of the home. There are many different strains of mold but they all need one thing–water or moisture–to grow. Of course our kitchens and bathrooms are hot spots for water, so they are areas to which homeowners should pay special attention.
With regards to health, mold and mildew can cause issues, including allergic reactions. That’s according to the EPA. And, the CDC says that people with asthma, allergies or other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to mold.
Q.: Two-part question here: What is a biocide and can you talk to us about the product GE Caulk?
R.: As I mentioned before, mold can grow anywhere there is water. So, that includes on caulk you would find around bathtubs or sinks, which means it’s important to choose the right caulk. The key differentiator among kitchen & bath caulks is the type and level of biocide.
Biocide is a mold-inhibiting agent–it’s safe, long-term protection that inhibits the growth of mold on caulk. GE silicone caulks include some of the most effective biocides. In fact, they offer protection against mold and mildew between five and 10 years–depending on the product–which is among the longest protection available.
“Biocide is a mold-inhibiting agent–it’s safe, long-term protection that inhibits the growth of mold on caulk.”
Q.: How does GE Caulk beat other products?
R.: GE silicone caulk–specifically GE Silicone II Kitchen & Bath and K/B Supreme–pack a dual punch. They stop fungus AND bacteria while many other caulks on the market protect only against fungus.
You may ask why that matters. It matters because both bacteria and fungus grow in these areas. Why would you protect yourself against only one? In layman’s terms, mold is fungus. You certainly don’t want that lurking around your sinks or tubs.
Bacteria usually appears as a pink stain that every homeowner has most likely seen. Pink stain is technically a bi-product of the bacteria. It can be pink, orange, yellow and other colors and it lurks on showers, bathtubs, toilets and sinks. Once caulk is stained, it is very difficult to remove the stain. So, not only do GE kitchen and bath silicone caulks protect against mold, they also won’t stain from bacteria.
Q.: How long do the caulks last?
R.: GE silicone caulks really last a lifetime. That’s because they are inorganic, so they won’t ever break down. They offer long-term performance against fungus and bacteria and they are permanently waterproof.
Q.: Would homeowners be able to apply this themselves or do they need professional help?
R.: Caulking is absolutely a DIY activity. We’ve really boiled it down to five easy steps. One trick I offer DIYers is to put down painter’s tape on either side of the seam/joint before caulking to get an even bead (line of caulk). Also, be sure to have mineral spirits for cleanup because soap and water won’t work with silicone. For a step-by-step guide to DIY caulking, readers can visit http://www.caulkyourhome.com/how-to-seal.php
Q.: What are some of the reasons that contractors should think about doing business with you?
R.: We offer some of the most high-performing caulks on the market and focus on designing caulks to perform and last. So, contractors can have the assurance that they get the job right the first time and ensure lasting results for their customers. We also offer added convenience with many of our products by providing fast back-in-service times–like 1-3 hour shower-and rain-ready times so that contractors can complete the job quickly and move on to the next job.
Q.: Where are customers going to find the products and do you have a website for more information? Is there also a blog?
R.: GE silicone caulk is sold nationwide at home improvement centers and hardware stores. For more information, readers can visit www.gesealants.com.
Q.: Is there anything else you would like to tell Home and Living Readers?
R.: I’d just like to encourage readers to take the time to choose the right caulk. It may seem that all caulks are the same and caulk choice doesn’t matter, but there are truly big differences in their performance that can ultimately have effects on readers’ homes. Small problems can quickly balloon into larger ones–like mold growth and water damage. Instead, all they have to do is pick up a tube of caulk and seal up gaps and cracks.