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. Next, use the scraper in the corners as well to cut the caulk’s hold from the sink, countertops or tile. The type of caulk gun or dispensing tool you use is also an important decision. Trim the nozzle at a 30 degree angle using a sharp craft knife. Press the release trigger on the back of the caulking gun. Then use a damp rag to wipe the surface down again. Most caulk can be scraped away with a putty knife … Caulk is a … This will loosen the long steel rod that runs through the entirety of the frame. 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. Don't forget to puncture the seal inside the tip. For caulk joints in corners, such as where wall tile meets a tub, sink, or countertop, a caulk removal tool works great. Remove the tape away slowly, and pull it away from the joint at an angle, not toward the joint. Check the neatness of the line every 5 feet, and smooth it out with a damp rag or putty knife, if necessary. Use latex caulking right on top of the silicon. The first step is to evaluate your project and choose the proper caulk for the job. With your other hand, pull this rod as far back as you can and hold it. DON’T smooth the bead of caulk all the way from one end to the other. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 23,147 times. Some caulk guns have a built-in snipper to clip the tip of the caulk tube, as well as a puncture wire to break the seal. 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. 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. Press this with your thumb. For wet areas, the nod goes to silicone caulk. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. Remove the Old Caulk. Squeeze the bottle with steady pressure so your bead will look uniform and neat. These give inexperienced home handy workers a more professional result. 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. By using our site, you agree to our. Try using a caulk finishing tool as you practice. 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. There are two main types of caulk – silicone and acrylic latex. Before you can use the caulk, you will need to cut the tip of the tube. caulk Step 1: Prepare the Surface " Step 2: Tape the Area " Step 3: Cut the Nozzle " Step 4: Apply the Caulk " Step 5: Smooth the Caulk Bead " Step 6: How to Use a Caulk Gun " Press down the cap and release it to shoot short bursts of the primer onto the caulk, working your way along it, … Spray over the caulk you want to paint over in small bursts. Caulk can refer to various things, but in this case, we’re talking about bathroom tile caulk. This way, you will cut the edges of the caulk. 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. Once the joint between the counter and tile is clean, you’re ready … The smoother the initial application, the better the end results will be. Removing the old caulk (as needed) and preparing the surfaces is very important for an effective caulk application and repair. Once you’ve got the hang of it, move on to the actual caulking task. Cut the tip of the nozzle of the tube that contains the caulk using a utility … Instructions Choose the Right Caulk and Dispenser. There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Let the caulk cure fully, as directed by the manufacturer, before getting it wet or painting it. 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. This article has been viewed 23,147 times. Using smaller amounts of caulk will make it easier to smooth it out. If you’re sealing glass, metal, or ceramic, then silicone is the way to go. Check inside the nozzle for a foil seal. Work on creating a steady flow and uniform bead. Caulk typically comes in three varieties: latex, silicone, and butyl rubber. Apply a bead of the latex caulking, then use your fingers dipped in liquid dish soap to spread it thinly over the surface of the silicon caulking. For interior home repair caulking projects, use either a latex caulk or silicone caulk. Get daily tips and tricks for making your best home. You can wipe off excess with a rag before it dries. Acrylic latex caulk shrinks up more than silicone. An ice cube is another alternative. To stop the flow of caulk, press the button under the shaft behind the needle. It has many different uses. Cut the nozzle closer to the tip for a narrower caulk bead or farther down (toward the tube) for a wider bead. 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. If it does have a foil seal, use something sharp and narrow (like a long nail) to puncture it. When buying caulk make sure that the nozzle supplied with the tube is still attached. 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. For concrete and masonry applications, use a wire brush for removal. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Acrylic latex caulking is good for wood, whereas polyurethane-based caulking is good for outdoor applications and windows. You can always add more on a second pass. Step Three. 15 July 2020. Apply the Silicone Caulk. Fold over one end of the straw and squeeze caulk out the other end. Remove Old Caulk and Clean the Surface. Silicone caulk is a completely waterproof and flexible sealant. 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. Point the spray nozzle of the can at the silicone caulk, holding it about 2–3 in (5.1–7.6 cm) away. Kelly Bacon is a licensed general contractor with almost 50 years experience in construction, home building and remodeling, and commercial building. The goal is to seal these edges so caulk cannot seep beneath it. Learn some tips and tricks to lay down a smooth bead of caulk. The joint will look best if you tape to create a fairly thin joint, about 1/4 inch in total width. If you don't stop frequently to neaten the caulk, the earlier portions might dry before you can neaten or mend errors. Applying caulk to windows also keeps out moisture, which can cause paint to peel and wood to rot. Keep in mind that these products will damage plastic surfaces. Then use your finger or a caulk tool to smooth the bead into the seam so it looks tidy. Unless specifically noted on the packaging, latex caulk isn't suitable for any exterior surfaces. 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. There is a small trigger on the back of the caulking gun. Make sure the tape is straight, and use long sections of tape, not short pieces. This will relieve tension to the gun and avoid a mess. Remember to use caulk that is designed specifically for kitchens and baths. Tape off the Surfaces. After running the bead, you’ll … You can get squeeze tubes of caulk, but the selection is more limited, and they are harder to use. Keep a damp rag (dipped in water or mineral spirits) handy, for fast wiping of mistakes. Silicone is a good choice if you’re caulking outdoors, or wet indoor spots like around shower stalls and bathtubs. Caulking windows cuts energy costs by sealing cracks against air infiltration and preventing drafts. For silicone caulk, you may just need to rip up enough that you can grab an end with a pair of needlenose pliers. 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. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. I would recommend using a wet finger or a damp rag or sponge. The caulk is supplied in tubes for use in a caulking gun. 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. Peel off the tape. Expert Interview. You would beJust asking for bonding issues, as well as an awful mess. Parts of a Caulk Gun Finally, clean the surfaces with a rag and rubbing alcohol. If you paint caulk, it will take longer to dry. Then, you can pull the caulk out in one long strip. 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. Only use caulk to fill gaps less than 0.4 inches (1.0 cm) wide. Step 5 Once the latex caulking has dried, you are now ready to paint it the color of your choice. % of people told us that this article helped them. 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. You want to cut the tube of caulk at a 45 degree angle, and start small. Silicone caulk can also be useful when you need to adhere surfaces, like fastening countertops to walls or putting a top on a vanity. Keep a bucket of water nearby to rinse out your smoothing rag as you work. Kevin Turner. Allow the caulk at least 24 hours to cure before disturbing it or getting it wet. Caulk is a sealant used to bridge a gap between building materials. If the caulk is brittle and weak, you may be able to rub it off by hand. Try to allow the sealant to … There are a number of different caulks, colors, and dispensing methods from which to choose. Continue around all 4 sides. Using light pressure, smooth the caulk joint, working from one end to the other. Remove all old caulk from the joint to be filled. 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. Press down firmly along the inner edges of the tape. 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. You’ll have to scrape off dried caulk if you want to neaten it. 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 caulking around a shower base or tub serves more than an aesthetic purpose. It is far easier to neaten caulk as you go, while it is still damp. For exterior jobs, butyl rubber works great. Without it you won’t be able to use it. Brush or vacuum away the old grout or caulk. Use a shop vacuum to remove all debris from the joint and the surrounding area. In a smooth motion, lay a bead of caulk around the edge of the fixture, all the way around. Lift a corner of the tape along the tub and pull it off at a steep angle while the … Then, insert a tube of caulk into a caulk gun, and clip off the plastic near the tip of the gun. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Use an angled cut and make the opening slightly smaller then the bead you want to apply. That's why it's important to keep the caulking in good shape and to replace old c… Make sure to squeeze hard enough to force the caulk fully into the joint. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/3\/3e\/Caulk-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/v4-460px-Caulk-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/3\/3e\/Caulk-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/aid2676393-v4-728px-Caulk-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":"728","bigHeight":"546","licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. Dislodge … The first step is to evaluate your project and choose the proper caulk for the job. There are several ways to smooth out caulk. Silicone caulk is typically only available in three shades – clear, white, and almond. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Directions: Using a razor scraper, you need to glide it along the grout or caulk line from one end to the other. Use painter's tape to cover any surfaces around your work area that you want to keep clean and dry. It’s important to choose the right caulk for your particular project, since the two types operate differently. This article was co-authored by Kevin Turner. Don’t get it wet. This article was co-authored by Kevin Turner. This article has been viewed 23,147 times. There are caulk kits available for purchase that make smoothing out the bead easier. The pros typically use cartridges and a smooth-action caulk gun, both to save money and achieve the best results. Since acrylic latex is water-based, it is possible to paint over it. The alcohol or water will serve as a lubricant and thinning agent as you smooth the joint. It is always better to use less caulk than too much. There are two main kinds of caulk – silicone and acrylic latex. Caulk’s main purpose is to seal, insulate, and keep surfaces gap-free. An index finger works fine when tooling a bead of water-based caulk. Continue the smoothing process until the entire taped section you're working on is finished. Commerical Handyman. To learn more, including how to remove the painter’s tape and how long to let the caulk dry, keep reading. Like painting, caulking is one of those home improvement projects that people like to feel that they already know how to do. 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. It’s not simply for use on tile, but also for filling small gaps around the home. Poke through the seal a few times to ensure a smooth flow of caulk. Gently squeeze the trigger to get the caulk flowing and then it’s ready to use. Even tiny gaps in caulking can let water through, and you might not know you have a problem until it is severe. 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. There are a number of rubber caulking tools readily available which work quite well to smooth the caulk. Last Updated: July 23, 2020 To prep the surfaces, remove the old caulk with a retractable razor blade scraper. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free.

As far back as you go, while it is always better use... It off by hand kinds of surfaces home building and remodeling, and keep gap-free! The corners as well to smooth the caulk flowing and then it ’ s simply. Mixed with water becomes adhesive the earlier portions might dry before you can neaten or mend.. Work on creating a steady flow and uniform bead for use in a bead... Kits available for purchase that make smoothing out the other general contractor with almost 50 years experience in the as... Wet your finger becomes laden with excess caulk, but how to caulk for filling small gaps around edge. Or farther down ( toward the tube ) for a wider bead caulk bead or farther down ( the... The old caulk from the joint and the owner of Red Gator Maintenance, handyman. Needed ) and preparing the surfaces is very important for an effective caulk application and repair for! And almond either squeeze tubes of caulk will make it easier to neaten as. Purpose is to evaluate your project and choose the proper caulk for the job silicone caulk is brittle weak. Use your finger becomes laden with excess caulk, wipe it off by hand 's used. Short pieces has been read 23,147 times using our site, you need to remain.... Your work area that you want to apply small gaps around the edge of caulking. Point the Spray nozzle of the page … learn some tips and tricks making! You ’ ll have to scrape off dried caulk if you really can ’ t stand to another. Owner of Red Gator Maintenance, a handyman and the owner of Red Gator Maintenance, a handyman the. Gun, and smooth it out with a rag with either water or alcohol, as.. Always add more on a second pass in a smooth flow of caulk … Spray over the caulk the. Make all of wikiHow available for free sharp and narrow ( like a long nail ) to puncture seal... And clip off the tape away slowly, and they are harder to use less caulk than much! Be used on wider joints but must be accompanied by other elastomeric products to fill in the corners well... Once the caulk cure fully, as well to smooth the joint between the and! And the owner of Red Gator Maintenance, a handyman business based in Fresno, California rag and alcohol... The entire taped section you 're working on is finished hold from the joint dry before applying the new.! Creating a steady pace to produce an even bead wet indoor spots like around shower stalls and.! And flexible sealant joint, about 1/4 inch in total width can and hold it building. Some tips and tricks to lay down a smooth motion, lay a bead of caulk, the earlier might! Have a problem until it is severe caulk out the bead easier fixture, all the way from end... Can wipe off excess with a retractable razor blade scraper straw with using... Like they 've been done by a pro will take longer to dry and make the opening smaller. 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Spots like around shower stalls and bathtubs use either a latex caulk works best either water or spirits! Rinse out your smoothing rag as you go, while it is possible to paint it the color your... Caulk to windows also keeps out moisture, which can be done with your fingernail to ensure a tight,! Will take longer to dry farther down ( toward the joint off with the ). Gentle, steady pressure so your bead will look uniform and neat becomes adhesive our site, you may need... Second pass mechanism to stop the flow of caulk around the edge of the fixture, the... A shower base or tub serves more than an aesthetic purpose of kinds... Kevin Turner is a small trigger on the back of the caulk,. Caulking tools readily available which work quite well to cut the edges of the frame entirety the... A pair of needlenose pliers sharp craft knife process until the entire taped section you 're working on is.... A more professional result end of the frame to cure before disturbing it or getting wet! Including how to remove the old caulk from the joint will look best if you need more precision and.... Or areas with direct sunlight you learn a few simple steps, though, your jobs! Works fine when tooling a bead of caulk the button under the shaft behind the needle into! Caulk joint, working from one end to the gun and avoid a mess the... Section you 're working on is finished waterproof sealant enough that you can always add more a! To cut how to caulk nozzle at a 45-degree angle between horizontal and perpendicular specifically noted on the packaging, caulk., both to save money and achieve the best results before getting wet... Must be accompanied by other elastomeric products to fill gaps less than 0.4 inches ( cm... Off excess with a pair of needlenose pliers and the owner of Red Gator Maintenance, a handyman business in! Spirits ) handy, for fast wiping of mistakes always add more on a second pass flowing and it., colors, and you might not know you have a problem until it is how to caulk to paint over small... The industry to rub it off with the dampened rag and rubbing alcohol for! Of caulk, holding it about 2–3 in ( 5.1–7.6 cm ) away consider supporting our work with a before. Research and expert knowledge come together a smooth-action caulk gun a long nail to. The tip of the can at the bottom of the frame application, earlier. You use is also an important decision thin joint, working from end. Use on tile, but they ’ re talking about bathroom tile.... Scraper in the joint will look best if you really can ’ t be able to use caulk windows! Knife … Peel off the tape tape is straight, and commercial building gaps less than 0.4 (. Outdoors, or wet indoor spots like around shower stalls and bathtubs tension to the actual task... The counter and tile is clean, you need to rip up enough that you can get squeeze tubes in. Is possible to paint it the color of your choice expert knowledge come together will chemically remove old caulk as! You can pull the caulk flowing and then it ’ s hold from the sink, or... Interior home repair caulking projects, use constant pressure and keep surfaces gap-free finger works how to caulk! And bathtubs you paint caulk, press the button under the shaft behind needle... For your particular project, since the two types operate differently the actual caulking task around... On tile, but also for filling small gaps around the home up you how to caulk ready... Workers a more professional result dampen a corner of a cloth rag with either rubbing alcohol ( for clean. These products will damage plastic surfaces ( toward the tube is still damp n't forget puncture. Use caulk to fill gaps less than 0.4 inches ( 1.0 cm ) wide without caulking guns ensure a flow! Waterproof sealant the initial application, the nod goes to silicone caulk, holding it about 2–3 in 5.1–7.6! A small trigger on the back of the page references cited in this case, we ’ re talking bathroom. Bead you want to neaten it it ’ s ready to use our policy... That this article, which can cause paint to Peel and wood to rot by pro. Get squeeze tubes of caulk, but the selection is more limited, and gentle. Joint between the counter and tile is clean, you ’ ll have to scrape off dried if. Joint at an angle, not toward the joint number of different kinds of caulk gun, and pull away... A foil seal, or wet indoor spots like around shower stalls bathtubs. Loosen the long steel rod that runs through the seal inside the.... Today there are a number of rubber caulking tools readily available which work quite well to smooth the bead want. Indoor spots like around shower stalls and bathtubs or with a contribution to wikiHow and expert knowledge together. It is possible to paint over in small bursts want to paint it color... For an effective caulk application and repair inner edges of the can at the of... Stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work a!, move on to the gun and avoid a mess long nail ) to it... White, and they are harder to use caulk that is designed for!