McClurg's Home Remodeling Blog

How to Caulk Like a Pro

Posted by Brian Ciota on Tue, Apr 13, 2010

Caulk like a proCaulk is used to fill gaps and seal areas. Caulk applied around windows and doors reduces drafts and prevents water leaks. Around bathroom and kitchen fixtures, it provides a water proof seal. Caulk is applied around counters for aesthetics, and is also used by painters to eliminate gaps between walls and trim. 

To caulk an area of your home you'll need:

  • A caulk tube or cartridge (It's very important to read the product information to find the right caulk for your job)
  • A retractable razor blade scraper
  • A long nail
  • Several cotton rags

Here's how to do a professional caulking job:

  • Remove the old caulk with the razor blade scraper and vacuum the debris.
  • Wipe the area with a dry cloth.
  • Open the caulk tube or cartridge by making a clean cut at a 45-degree angle. Puncture the inner seal with a long nail. Place the cartridge in the caulk gun.
  • Squeeze the tube or cartridge handle hard enough to get the caulk into the joint. Work the area at a slow and consistent speed.
  • After applying the caulk, the less you touch it, the better. If needed, smooth the joint by lightly using your finger. If you're using latex caulk, you can moisten your finger with water to prevent the caulk from sticking. Be careful to avoid getting water on the surface that the caulk is adhered to. If you are using silicone caulk, wet your finger with saliva to smooth the joint. Silicone caulk can be very difficult to smooth out after it has been applied. 
  • Let the caulk dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Topics: Kitchens, Bathrooms, How-To Tips, Repair and Maintenance, HomeRepair by McClurg

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