Monday, November 29, 2010

How to caulk tubs, showers, sinks and more.

Knowing how to caulk well is one of the most important home maintenance tasks every homeowner should learn.  When it comes to keeping water away from areas where it can do a lot of damage a well caulked joint is essential.
Caulking is not difficult but it does take some practice.  One of the most important things to remember when applying caulk is, MORE is NOT better.
You will need:  Caulk gun, tube of appropriate caulk (see below), scraper, small container of water (latex caulk) or mineral spirits (silicone caulk), rag for clean up
  1. Buy a decent caulk gun, you will be glad you spent a few extra dollars.  Here is one that I like. It is relatively inexpensive and readily available at your local Ace Hardware. (Caulk Gun) Integral to the tool is a cutter for snipping the tip of the caulk tube and a metal rod to pierce through the seal on the caulk tube through the tip.
  2. Buy the correct type of caulk.  Look for bathroom and kitchen caulk which contains some silicone.  You want caulk that can stand up to water.  Most caulk containing silicon is un-paintable so be aware of this if you are caulking in areas you would like to paint.  There are some bathroom/kitchen caulks that can be painted, just look at the label.
  3. Remove all old caulk and be sure the area is clean and dry.  You can use a putty knife, a utility knife or scraper to remove ALL of the old caulk.  Caulk will not stick to caulk so be sure you do a thorough job.
  4. Cut the tip off of the caulk tube at a 45 degree angle.  Be sure to cut off  just a little bit of the tip, you want to start with the hole as small as possible and if you want a bigger bead of caulk you can make it bigger later.   With caulking more is NOT better, you want to just fill the joint not over-fill it.
  5. Put the metal rod into the tip of the tube to pierce the internal seal and install the caulk tube into the gun.
  6. Have a small container of water or mineral spirits nearby. If you are using 100% silicone you will need mineral spirits.  You can use water if you are using latex caulk or kitchen/bath caulk that says it can be cleaned up with water.
  7. Start at one end and slowly and steadily apply a bead of caulk along the joint/gap, don't worry if you have any breaks in the bead, when you spread it out later you can fill those in.
  8. Using the tip of your finger (you can wear latex gloves if you'd like), smooth and spread the caulk, if necessary apply some more caulk to your fingertip to fill in any gaps that are still left.  Remember the goal is to simply seal the joint or gap, don't over do it.
  9. Clean up with water (latex caulk) or mineral spirits (silicone caulk) on a rag.










If you live in the Denver Metro area and are interested in learning these skills in a workshop environment with hands-on practice please visit www.workshopforwomen.com  for a complete list of available classes along with a calendar of current days and times.  Calendar

1 comment:

  1. Judy, My handyman techs use a wet rag (thin t-shirts work best), wrapped around a finger to smooth the caulk. Caulking is so important and when done quickly & too much ... it cracks and then you've got to remove & redo. I'm facing that on some windows in my new condo and not much fun.

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