Sealed with a (Healthy) Kiss

A new crop of nontoxic caulks, sealants and adhesives means better indoor air quality for you.

| September/October 2009

  • Today’s nontoxic caulks, adhesives and sealants are safer for DIYers.

Not long ago, our choice of caulks, sealants and adhesives was pretty limited—and pretty toxic. Today, increased interest in tighter structures, better indoor air quality and energy conservation has led to the development of less-hazardous versions of these products. Manufacturers are finding ways to reduce and eliminate the harmful chemicals that caulks, sealants and adhesives once contained—without reducing performance.
Typically, these newer, greener products cost roughly the same as the premium versions of their traditional counterparts. The products are relatively free from harmful chemicals and easy for anyone to use—and they can help make your home quieter, more efficient and less toxic.

When do I use it?

Caulk bridges gaps and seals building materials on your home’s interior and exterior. You can also use it for aesthetic purposes—for example, running a bead of caulk down a piece of molding where it joins a wall makes the materials appear more homogenous. Sealant prevents moisture migration and remains perpetually flexible, making it best for keeping out liquids or gases. Adhesive goes beyond fastening to actually bond materials together, strengthening walls, floors and ceilings and making them appear monolithic.

■ Caulk all exterior trim (such as around windows and doors) where it joins the building’s exterior finish (such as siding or stucco) to prevent water and air intrusion.

■ Use adhesives on drywall and subfloors to reduce the need for fasteners and make a building stronger and quieter.

■ When new windows and doors are installed, fill the space between the millwork’s outside frame and the building’s framing with minimal-expanding foam sealant  made for that purpose.

■ Seal gaps where walls meet floors. In new construction, seal these interfaces with a product such as OSI GreenSeries’ Draft and Acoustical Sound Sealant. You should reseal during any remodeling project that requires removal and reinstallation of baseboards. It is an easy DIY project.

■ Seal masonry products where necessary and prevent formaldehyde offgassing from sheet materials (drywall) with AFM Safecoat’s liquid sealants—or, better yet, seek out formaldehyde-free materials.

• DON’T neglect your home’s indoor air quality. Using greener caulks and sealants instead of conventional options can lower the VOCs released into your home’s air.

• DO use more caulk and sealant than you think you need for best performance and durability.


AFM Safecoat
(619) 239-0321

Greenguard Environmental Institute
(800) 427-9681

OSI GreenSeries
(800) 321-3578

Titebond GREENchoice
(888) 533-9043

MICHAEL FALLARINO  is a building contractor and journalist based near New York’s capital region. 



February 15-16, 2020
Belton, Texas

Join us in the Lone Star state to explore ways to save money and live efficiently. This two-day event includes hands-on workshops and a marketplace featuring the latest homesteading products.


Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me