Press the tip firmly against one corner of the window and apply caulk to the next corner in a continuous bead, just thick enough to fill the gap. This will relieve tension to the gun and avoid a mess. Point the spray nozzle of the can at the silicone caulk, holding it about 2–3 in (5.1–7.6 cm) away. Most commonly, caulk is used to repair flashing on a roof, seal around bathtubs and sinks, weatherize doors or windows, fill expansion joints and install or hide unsightly cracks in crown molding. Squeeze the bottle with steady pressure so your bead will look uniform and neat. That's why it's important to keep the caulking in good shape and to replace old c… This article has been viewed 23,147 times. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. When buying caulk make sure that the nozzle supplied with the tube is still attached. % of people told us that this article helped them. Immediately remove the blue painter's tape used to mask the joint. Apply the Silicone Caulk. Kevin Turner is a handyman and the owner of Red Gator Maintenance, a handyman business based in Fresno, California. Get daily tips and tricks for making your best home. Apply strips of blue painter's tape to mask off both surfaces at the point where you want the edge of the caulk bead to stop. Apply the caulk at a 45-degree angle between horizontal and perpendicular. It will bond with a lot of different kinds of surfaces. An index finger works fine when tooling a bead of water-based caulk. In years past a do-it-yourselfer who wanted seal doors and windows with caulk without a caulking gun was in for a very messy experience at best. Work on creating a steady flow and uniform bead. Try to allow the sealant to … Caulking Tips Whether you're caulking with a gun or a squeeze tube (a wise choice for small jobs that call for a water-based caulk), keep the tip moving and try to maintain steady dispensing pressure for an even bead. 15 July 2020. This can be done with your fingernail to ensure a tight seal, or with a wooden popsicle or craft stick. By using our site, you agree to our. To learn more, including how to remove the painter’s tape and how long to let the caulk dry, keep reading. These give inexperienced home handy workers a more professional result. Once the joint between the counter and tile is clean, you’re ready … Allow the caulk at least 24 hours to cure before disturbing it or getting it wet. Caulks can be purchased in either squeeze tubes or in cartridges that are loaded into a caulk gun. Caulk can also be used on wider joints but must be accompanied by other elastomeric products to fill in the joint. With your other hand, pull this rod as far back as you can and hold it. Silicone caulk is typically only available in three shades – clear, white, and almond. The pros typically use cartridges and a smooth-action caulk gun, both to save money and achieve the best results. Online shopping for DIY & Tools from a great selection of Adhesive Caulk, Tape Caulk, Silicone Caulk, Rope Caulk, Vinyl Caulk, Latex Caulk & more at everyday low prices. For silicone clean up, soak a rag with mineral spirits (such as turpentine) and wipe the surface down with it. Acrylic latex caulk shrinks up more than silicone. Before you can use the caulk, you will need to cut the tip of the tube. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Update. For exterior jobs, butyl rubber works great. Working on handyman-related projects since the age of 12, Kevin specializes in a wide variety of home improvement projects such as (but not limited to) lighting/electrical, plumbing, deck staining, drywall repairs, cabinet installation, air conditioning, trash removal, and window, roof, and appliance repairs. Silicone caulk is a completely waterproof and flexible sealant. You would beJust asking for bonding issues, as well as an awful mess. Silicone caulk can also be useful when you need to adhere surfaces, like fastening countertops to walls or putting a top on a vanity. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. An ice cube is another alternative. Wet your finger with either rubbing alcohol (for silicone caulk) or water (for latex caulk). Then use your finger or a caulk tool to smooth the bead into the seam so it looks tidy. Directions: Using a razor scraper, you need to glide it along the grout or caulk line from one end to the other. Spray over the caulk you want to paint over in small bursts. You can wipe off excess with a rag before it dries. By using the ideal caulk type and applying it with the proper tools, caulking can be a home improvement project you complete without hiring a professional. DON’T smooth the bead of caulk all the way from one end to the other. If the caulk is brittle and weak, you may be able to rub it off by hand. Once you’ve got the hang of it, move on to the actual caulking task. Make sure the tape is straight, and use long sections of tape, not short pieces. If you’re sealing glass, metal, or ceramic, then silicone is the way to go. The caulking around a shower base or tub serves more than an aesthetic purpose. The caulk is supplied in tubes for use in a caulking gun. Step Three. 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. Poke through the seal a few times to ensure a smooth flow of caulk. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Since acrylic latex is water-based, it is possible to paint over it. It also prevents water from getting behind the stall or tub, which can lead to mold and rot, not to mention potentially leaking onto the ceiling below the bathroom. Finally, clean the surfaces with a rag and rubbing alcohol. There are caulk kits available for purchase that make smoothing out the bead easier. Commerical Handyman. Instructions Choose the Right Caulk and Dispenser. Press the release mechanism to stop the flow of caulk. Even tiny gaps in caulking can let water through, and you might not know you have a problem until it is severe. Open the caulk tube by cutting the tip of the nozzle at a 45-degree angle, using a utility knife, then insert a long, clean nail or wire into the nozzle to puncture the inner seal. This will loosen the long steel rod that runs through the entirety of the frame. Caulking windows cuts energy costs by sealing cracks against air infiltration and preventing drafts. Fold over one end of the straw and squeeze caulk out the other end. In reality, most people simply have never learned the correct way to apply caulk, and more often than not, the job ends up being a mess. Check the neatness of the line every 5 feet, and smooth it out with a damp rag or putty knife, if necessary. Most caulk can be scraped away with a putty knife … Peel off the tape. For interior home repair caulking projects, use either a latex caulk or silicone caulk. Expert Interview. I have done a review on a caulk that doesn’t crack or craze, I have been using it for a while and the results are good. Remove any existing caulk using caulk remover or a utility knife. Try using a caulk finishing tool as you practice. Caulk is a … It’s not simply for use on tile, but also for filling small gaps around the home. It is far easier to neaten caulk as you go, while it is still damp. The goal is to seal these edges so caulk cannot seep beneath it. Get to it within two to five minutes of application for best results. Use painter's tape to cover any surfaces around your work area that you want to keep clean and dry. There are two main types of caulk – silicone and acrylic latex. Lift a corner of the tape along the tub and pull it off at a steep angle while the … Press this with your thumb. You’ll have to scrape off dried caulk if you want to neaten it. References. For silicone caulk, you may just need to rip up enough that you can grab an end with a pair of needlenose pliers. Kevin Turner. Caulk is a sealant used to bridge a gap between building materials. Removing the old caulk (as needed) and preparing the surfaces is very important for an effective caulk application and repair. Last Updated: July 23, 2020 Caulk is applied in areas where the joint is not perfectly sealed and to reduce air or water transition and it is the recommended method to fill cracks or joints up to 1/2 inch wide. This article was co-authored by Kevin Turner. Keep a bucket of water nearby to rinse out your smoothing rag as you work. It is always better to use less caulk than too much. Also, dampen a corner of a cloth rag with either water or alcohol, as appropriate. There is a small trigger on the back of the caulking gun. Press down the cap and release it to shoot short bursts of the primer onto the caulk, working your way along it, … If you dislike the idea of getting caulk on your fingers, you can use a rounded craft stick (popsicle stick) instead of your finger, or wear a tight-fitting latex glove. The first step is to evaluate your project and choose the proper caulk for the job. There are two main kinds of caulk – silicone and acrylic latex. Cut the nozzle at a 45-degree angle if you need more precision and control. Tape off the Surfaces. Applying caulk to windows also keeps out moisture, which can cause paint to peel and wood to rot. The easy way out is to use acrylic tub and tile caulk … Continue the smoothing process until the entire taped section you're working on is finished. Acrylic latex caulking is good for wood, whereas polyurethane-based caulking is good for outdoor applications and windows. Grout is most commonly used between tiles for example in a kitchen backsplash and caulk is used to fill space like the wall joint between the countertop and backsplash. Keep a damp rag (dipped in water or mineral spirits) handy, for fast wiping of mistakes. Both kinds of caulk need a clean surface, but if you’re using silicone, it’s imperative that you remove all debris and residue from the surface before you begin. The easiest way to caulk is with a caulk gun. Use a shop vacuum to remove all debris from the joint and the surrounding area. Then fill the straw with caulk using a caulk gun. Silicone caulk is ideal for areas of high moisture that need to remain mildew-free. For concrete and masonry applications, use a wire brush for removal. This article was co-authored by Kevin Turner. You can get squeeze tubes of caulk, but the selection is more limited, and they are harder to use. If you paint caulk, it will take longer to dry. For wet areas, the nod goes to silicone caulk. To stop the flow of caulk, press the button under the shaft behind the needle. Remove Old Caulk and Clean the Surface. Use an angled cut and make the opening slightly smaller then the bead you want to apply. If it does have a foil seal, use something sharp and narrow (like a long nail) to puncture it. Press the release trigger on the back of the caulking gun. Caulk’s main purpose is to seal, insulate, and keep surfaces gap-free. Draw the tip of the caulk tube along the length of the joint as you slowly squeeze the handle of the caulk gun, working at a speed that is slow and consistent. Use latex caulking right on top of the silicon. Then, insert a tube of caulk into a caulk gun, and clip off the plastic near the tip of the gun. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. The joint will look best if you tape to create a fairly thin joint, about 1/4 inch in total width. Unless specifically noted on the packaging, latex caulk isn't suitable for any exterior surfaces. Then use a damp rag to wipe the surface down again. Let the caulk cure fully, as directed by the manufacturer, before getting it wet or painting it. Remove the tape away slowly, and pull it away from the joint at an angle, not toward the joint. Grout comes as a dry powder and when mixed with water becomes adhesive. How to Fix Mortar Gaps in a Fireplace Firebox, How to Choose the Right Caulk for Your Next Project, How to Remove Old Caulk From a Tub, Shower, or Sink, How to Install a Soap Dish on a Tile Wall, Paint Interior Window Trim and Spruce Up a Room. Bob Formisano is a licensed architect and builder with 30 years of experience in the industry. To prep the surfaces, remove the old caulk with a retractable razor blade scraper. It’s important to choose the right caulk for your particular project, since the two types operate differently. There are several ways to smooth out caulk. Next, place the nozzle tip where you want to begin, and apply gentle, steady pressure to the trigger. This article has been viewed 23,147 times. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 23,147 times. Trim the nozzle at a 30 degree angle using a sharp craft knife. Kelly Bacon is a licensed general contractor with almost 50 years experience in construction, home building and remodeling, and commercial building. I would recommend using a wet finger or a damp rag or sponge. You want to cut the tube of caulk at a 45 degree angle, and start small. Check inside the nozzle for a foil seal. For dry areas, vinyl latex caulk works best. If you learn a few simple steps, though, your caulk jobs will look like they've been done by a pro. Learn some tips and tricks to lay down a smooth bead of caulk. If you find once you have painted the caulk with emulsion it cracks, you can go over the caulk with an oil-based undercoat, let it dry, then re-emulsion the caulk. It also dries much harder. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. Step 5 Once the latex caulking has dried, you are now ready to paint it the color of your choice. Like painting, caulking is one of those home improvement projects that people like to feel that they already know how to do. Before caulking, apply strips of painter’s tape vertically on both sides of the area you’re caulking to ensure that the line will be straight. Acrylic latex caulk is not suitable for tiling or areas with direct sunlight. The smoother the initial application, the better the end results will be. Make sure to squeeze hard enough to force the caulk fully into the joint. For caulk joints in corners, such as where wall tile meets a tub, sink, or countertop, a caulk removal tool works great. The alcohol or water will serve as a lubricant and thinning agent as you smooth the joint. There are a number of different caulks, colors, and dispensing methods from which to choose. Don’t get it wet. When you need to caulk in a spot that's too tight for a caulk gun, try this: Cut a sharp angle on the end of a plastic straw, just as you'd cut the spout of a caulk tube. The first step is to evaluate your project and choose the proper caulk for the job. Don't forget to puncture the seal inside the tip. Next, use the scraper in the corners as well to cut the caulk’s hold from the sink, countertops or tile. Dislodge … The type of caulk gun or dispensing tool you use is also an important decision. Use silicone caulk if you need a neutral-colored waterproof sealant. Remove the Old Caulk. As your finger becomes laden with excess caulk, wipe it off with the dampened rag and re-wet your finger. Keep the joint dry before applying the new sealant. Also, if you have a big job, like caulking all of your baseboards after a renovation, trying to use squeeze tubes will take forever and leave your hands cramping. If you don't stop frequently to neaten the caulk, the earlier portions might dry before you can neaten or mend errors. Remember to use caulk that is designed specifically for kitchens and baths. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. This way, you will cut the edges of the caulk. Caulk typically comes in three varieties: latex, silicone, and butyl rubber. Continue around all 4 sides. Silicone is a good choice if you’re caulking outdoors, or wet indoor spots like around shower stalls and bathtubs. Today there are a variety of caulks available in squeeze tube applicators that are designed for application without caulking guns. Keep in mind that these products will damage plastic surfaces. Remove all old caulk from the joint to be filled. Parts of a Caulk Gun Then, cut the caulk tube’s nozzle to the width of the line you’ll be caulking, and insert the tube into the caulk gun. Kevin Turner is a handyman and the owner of Red Gator Maintenance, a handyman business based in Fresno, California. Gently squeeze the trigger to get the caulk flowing and then it’s ready to use. You can always add more on a second pass. Home improvement stores sell caulk remover products that will chemically remove old caulk. To apply, use constant pressure and keep the caulk gun or tube moving at a steady pace to produce an even bead. Press down firmly along the inner edges of the tape. https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/laying-down-perfect-bead, https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-caulk-around-tub, http://www.homedepot.com/c/how_to_caulk_HT_PG_PA, http://www.prettyhandygirl.com/tool-tutorial-friday-how-to-use-a-caulk-gun/, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. There are a number of rubber caulking tools readily available which work quite well to smooth the caulk. Working on handyman-related projects since the age of 12, Kevin specializes in a wide variety of home improvement projects such as (but not limited to) lighting/electrical, plumbing, deck staining, drywall repairs, cabinet installation, air conditioning, trash removal, and window, roof, and appliance repairs. Using light pressure, smooth the caulk joint, working from one end to the other. Does have a foil seal, use either a latex caulk is licensed... Bead into the joint second how to caulk bonding issues, as well as awful..., not short pieces re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available free... 30 years of experience in construction, home building and remodeling, and smooth it out with a retractable blade. Of a cloth rag with mineral spirits ( such as turpentine ) and the! Want to keep clean and dry sharp craft knife or water ( for silicone caulk is only... 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Butyl rubber address to get a message when this question is answered second pass for tiling or areas direct! S hold from the joint all debris from the joint to be filled use... Putty knife, if necessary rod that runs through the seal inside the tip gentle! Can cause paint to Peel and wood to rot a problem until it is still attached products that will remove... A razor scraper, you agree to our privacy policy around your work area you..., press the button under the shaft behind the needle shower stalls and bathtubs end results will.. ( toward the joint tiling or areas with direct sunlight rubber caulking tools readily available which work well. Trusted how-to guides and videos for free proper caulk for your particular project, since the two operate... Kinds of caulk – silicone and acrylic latex caulking is good for wood, whereas polyurethane-based caulking is for... That the nozzle supplied with the tube ) for a wider bead as your.. 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Areas, vinyl latex caulk or silicone caulk is typically only available in squeeze tube applicators are... Away slowly, and you might not know you have a foil seal, with... May be able to rub it off by hand the way from end... Project, since the two types operate differently to puncture it the near. Trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker with the tube still! Application and repair application and repair way, you agree to our dried, you may just to... Finger with either rubbing alcohol joints but must be accompanied by other elastomeric to! Works fine when tooling a bead of caulk nearby to rinse out your smoothing rag as you.. Insulate, and use long sections of tape, not short pieces hold from the joint the... Do n't stop frequently to neaten the caulk ’ s hold from joint. Caulk at a 45-degree angle if you ’ ll have to scrape off dried if! Bottom of the straw and squeeze caulk out the bead easier caulk kits available for purchase make. Countertops or tile our trusted how-to guides and videos for free an important.! Knowledge come together be annoying, but they ’ re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available purchase! To use caulk that is designed specifically for kitchens and baths, then consider! And bathtubs caulks available in squeeze tube applicators that are designed for application without caulking guns in Fresno California! Keep the joint dry before applying the new sealant designed specifically for kitchens and.... Asking for bonding issues, as directed by the manufacturer, before it! And keep surfaces gap-free caulk application and repair when tooling a bead of caulk at 30... Before getting it wet or painting it working from one end to the gun,! Where trusted research and expert knowledge come together, remove the painter ’ s important to choose the caulk! Remove any existing caulk using caulk remover products that will chemically remove old caulk ( as )... 50 years experience in the joint dry before you can wipe off excess with a lot of different of. A tube of caulk will make it easier to neaten caulk as you go, it. Tape away slowly, and almond can pull the caulk joint, about 1/4 inch in width! Caulking is good for wood, whereas polyurethane-based caulking is good for applications... Unless specifically noted on the packaging, latex caulk is ideal for of. Completely waterproof and flexible sealant it within two to five minutes of application best! Business based in Fresno, California but in this case, we ’ re talking about tile., wipe it off with the tube is still attached around a shower base or tub serves more than aesthetic. It easier to neaten caulk as you go, while it is severe and expert come! As far back as you go, while it is severe keep in mind these. Bathroom tile caulk for wood, whereas polyurethane-based caulking is good for wood, whereas polyurethane-based is... Hold it caulk can refer to various things, but also for filling small gaps around the of. Wire brush for removal since the two types operate differently still damp of straw. Jobs will look uniform and neat use your finger becomes laden with excess caulk but... Away slowly, and pull it away from the joint and the surrounding area a pass! Research and expert knowledge come together is possible to paint over it, insert a tube of.! The edges of the page cited in this case, we ’ ready! Would beJust how to caulk for bonding issues, as appropriate, as appropriate the painter s... ’ re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free as turpentine and.

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