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Product Review: GE Groov Caulk

GE Groov Exterior CaulkAt the end of 2011, I tweeted and wrote about GE’s then new Groov caulk and how a rep at Momentive sent us a handful of tubes for T&E. By that time, all the caulking was done for the summer and I said we’d wait until it warmed up. Well, Summer 2012 has come and gone, and so has 2013. Looking back, I see that we have totally forgot to write a review for this product. So, better late than never – here goes.

General Electric’s Groov interior/exterior caulk touts the long lasting benefits of silicone and the paintability of acrylic caulk in an all-in-one product. For most of my readers who might not have had the experience with both kinds of products; simply put, silicone caulk is the shiny caulk you use around places that get wet (kitchen/bath) and acrylic caulk is the matte caulk you use around baseboards and wood moulding you intend to paint later. So if you had a seam you needed to caulk but want to paint later in the kitchen around a wet area… you need a hybrid caulk like Groov.

Now there’s plenty of more senior products out there that tout this “cleans like silicone/acts like acrylic” feature, but the balance of the two characteristics are quite different with each product. With Groov, I’d say it was 75% silicone-like and 25% acrylic-like. I was able to try two full tubes of the red interior/exterior version and the blue exterior only version. I’m not sure yet about their long term performance difference, but as I applied the caulk, the exterior only version was slightly more silicone like in that it went on smooth and viscous. The blue tube didn’t “cottage cheese” on my finger or caulking spatula as I smoothed it out over vinyl window casings, steel ejector pump lids, and crevices around PVC plumbing protruding from a wall. The red tube did “cottage cheese” a slightly in paper towel when I used it around kitchen/bathroom sinks, interiors of window casings, and filling seams between drywall and baseboards & crowns. But compared to my painter’s all time favorite, ALEX, Groov was much more controllable when applying and smoothing. Because of the easier application, there was less smoothing, shaving, and sanding (almost none) we had to do compared to an all acrylic caulk.

Both the red and blue Groov solidified with a slightly shinier satin sheen than regular acrylic. It didn’t look like solid white vinyl but rather a solid white rubber, like a white eraser. For exterior work around the windows with white vinyl casings, this was totally acceptable. For the interior work, it was time to test the paintability.

If you’ve tried painting silicone caulk, you know it repels regular latex and acrylic paints like a brand new Teflon coated Gore-tex rain coat. Don’t be embarrassed, I’ve made that mistake in my early days too. Fortunately, Groov’s satin sheen sucked up latex paint very well. And because the surface of the cured caulk was so smooth and silicone like, after painting around some moulding, it looked like there was absolutely no preexisting seam at all! It looked very very professional.

So that was the summer of 2012, and a year and a half later, the caulk is now being tested at <10°F.  Meteorologists say that it  hasn’t been this cold in the Chicagoland area in 30 years. So in a few months we’ll be able to see if the caulk cracked or peeled from the exterior work we have done. We’ll update this article then.

Now, if I had an endless supply of Groov, I would totally recommend GE’s Groov to everybody. Unfortunately, I can’t – because of it’s $8 per tube price tag. That’s compared to $6 for GE’s own Silicone II and $4 for their Max-Stretch at the same store. It costs twice as much as the conventional stuff that my crew uses – BUT THE FINISHED JOB TURNS OUT AWESOME. So what we decided to do was go half way. Use the conventional stuff where application is easy and appearance is non-critical, but use Groov where appearance is important and you never ever want to caulk again – like around a window casing 12 ft up in the foyer. So yes, Groov is definitely worth the money, but sometimes the project isn’t worth the Groov. If you’re client can pay for it, I’d say go for it, save time, be proud of your work, and get paid more at the same time.

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