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Polyurethane Versus Silicone Caulking: Which to Choose?

When it comes to commercial caulking products, there’s typically two products used: polyurethane and silicone caulk. Both sealants are necessary for maintaining your commercial property and stopping any cracks, gaps, and holes from forming—along with moisture, air leaks, and pests. 

The best type of caulking to use on your commercial property depends on a few things: the structural makeup of your property, building materials used, climate, sun exposure, age of the building, and more. Both sealants serve the same purpose, however the main difference is that polyurethane caulk is an organic material, meaning it is more reactive to UV light and breaks down more quickly than silicone. Silicone caulk is inorganic, giving it a longer life span and therefore performs generally better and lasts longer than polyurethane.

Silicone caulk is typically used as the standard sealant on commercial properties, given its performance over its lifetime versus its cost. If you’re unsure of how to best maintain and preserve your property, it’s best to contact commercial caulking contractors near you.

Polyurethane Caulking Uses

Although it doesn’t last as long as silicone, polyurethane is still a popular choice for sealant, and rightfully so. It’s superior when it comes to natural surfaces and is considered a true sealant. Polyurethane caulk is

  • Best used on natural materials, think: wood or stone (silicone caulk does not work on wood)
  • Common choice for structural seals (i.e: roofing, foundations, and joints)
  • Useful in providing the tightest seal against extreme weather

Benefits of Polyurethane Caulk

Polyurethane caulk will always be popular for any building project needing an extra tight, extra strong seal. Poly caulk is great for structural repairs and maintenance, making it great for maintaining a commercial building’s structural integrity. 

  • True sealant
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years
  • Strongest type of sealant

Silicone Caulking Uses

Silicone is a great commercial window caulking product. It adheres best to other inorganic surfaces, like glass and tile. It’s considered a joint compound, which means it’s designed to be more flexible than true sealant types. This type of sealant is a great choice if you’re planning to use it on inorganic surfaces (like buildings made of glass, or tile/metal roofs).

  • Best used for glass, tile, and metal materials
  • Popular choice for high-rise buildings
  • Useful for mold and dirt-prone areas

Benefits of Silicone Caulk

The lifespan and flexible bond of silicone caulk makes it a popular choice amongst commercial caulking contractors. Silicone caulk is extremely versatile and suits most commercial building projects.

  • Lifespan: 15-20 years
  • Quick drying
  • Protects against ultraviolet radiation


The right caulking for your commercial property boils down to the amount of time you need the product to perform for, and the materials of the building you plan to use the caulk on. If you’re ever unsure of what caulking product to use, it’s always a good idea to consult the Michigan commercial contractors at U&S Companies for your commercial project.

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