Well you don't need to be! Read on to understand the method to our madness.
Wouldn't it be great if there was one caulk or one adhesive that did it all? But for nearly every job there is a specific caulk, adhesive or glue. And while they often are thought of together, they can't always be found together. You'll find them distributed throughout a store and grouped together by application.
For example, look near the paint aisle and you'll find the caulk section. Head over to tile and flooring, roofing and masonry, and there will be a nice selection there as well. The location of glue and other adhesives also range widely, but often occupy a smaller section near the paint, with some construction adhesives found next to the caulk in a completely different aisle.
But there is a method to the madness, and it just takes a little savvy to make sense of it all.
Seal the Deal With Caulk
We all want a “tight” house with no drafts or leaks so we save money on energy bills and keep out moisture to avoid water damage and mold. We also want our water-laden areas — the kitchen and bathroom — to keep water where it belongs.
For bathrooms you'll need caulk labeled for tub and tile. These are formulated for high-moisture areas and resist mold and mildew. Within this type of caulk are several variations, included sanded ceramic-tile caulk, which is available in colors to match the color of your grout so you're not limited to bright white or clear caulk.
Caulk for use around doors, windows and molding will be clearly marked. Generally, the same caulk can be used for all of these applications. Make sure that the product you get is labeled as paintable because paint will not adhere properly to certain types of caulk — it will bead up like oil trying to mix with water. For outdoor applications, select caulk rated for exterior use. Most often these will be either silicone-based or an acrylic blend with silicone added.
Not all wood glues are the same. Titebond has three main varieties and they are pretty easy to identify by their label. Plain Titebond is the typical wood glue you'd want to use for most woodworking and carpentry jobs. Titebond II can be as well, but it also offers waterproof/exterior uses. Titebond III, which some woodworkers simply use as a default glue, has good exterior capabilities and has a longer “open” time than the other Titebond glues. Open time refers to how long before a glue starts setting. This is important if you're working on project that requires a lot of setup or assembly prior to being clamped.
Construction adhesives, such as Loctite and Liquid Nails brands are best for large projects like laminating beams. They’re also good for smaller jobs like attaching trim, molding and paneling, especially if you don't want to use fasteners. They're not all quick-setting, so you'll need to check the label.
Epoxies generally come in two parts that need to be mixed to activate. These are best for heavy-duty and permanent uses including large outdoor projects and connections that have a weak joint.
Spray adhesives are good for attaching fabrics and vinyl sheets to large surface areas. For example, they can be used to attach felt to the bottom a wood box or checkerboard.