Most caulk can be scraped away with a putty knife … Don't forget to puncture the seal inside the tip. It will bond with a lot of different kinds of surfaces. I would recommend using a wet finger or a damp rag or sponge. Update. There are 20 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Remove Old Caulk and Clean the Surface. Wet your finger with either rubbing alcohol (for silicone caulk) or water (for latex caulk). 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. 15 July 2020. Remember to use caulk that is designed specifically for kitchens and baths. Kevin Turner. An index finger works fine when tooling a bead of water-based caulk. Make sure to squeeze hard enough to force the caulk fully into the joint. Apply the caulk at a 45-degree angle between horizontal and perpendicular. The first step is to evaluate your project and choose the proper caulk for the job. There are two main types of caulk – silicone and acrylic latex. % of people told us that this article helped them. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. {"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>"}. DON’T smooth the bead of caulk all the way from one end to the other. You can always add more on a second pass. Then, insert a tube of caulk into a caulk gun, and clip off the plastic near the tip of the gun. References. You would beJust asking for bonding issues, as well as an awful mess. Caulk can also be used on wider joints but must be accompanied by other elastomeric products to fill in the joint. Apply the Silicone Caulk. Cut the tip of the nozzle of the tube that contains the caulk using a utility … Silicone caulk is a completely waterproof and flexible sealant. To prep the surfaces, remove the old caulk with a retractable razor blade scraper. Once the joint between the counter and tile is clean, you’re ready … Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. The pros typically use cartridges and a smooth-action caulk gun, both to save money and achieve the best results. Bob Formisano is a licensed architect and builder with 30 years of experience in the industry. Silicone caulk is typically only available in three shades – clear, white, and almond. Only use caulk to fill gaps less than 0.4 inches (1.0 cm) wide. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 23,147 times. This will loosen the long steel rod that runs through the entirety of the frame. For caulk joints in corners, such as where wall tile meets a tub, sink, or countertop, a caulk removal tool works great. 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. Grout comes as a dry powder and when mixed with water becomes adhesive. It is always better to use less caulk than too much. This can be done with your fingernail to ensure a tight seal, or with a wooden popsicle or craft stick. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Last Updated: July 23, 2020 The type of caulk gun or dispensing tool you use is also an important decision. 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. Caulk typically comes in three varieties: latex, silicone, and butyl rubber. Caulks can be purchased in either squeeze tubes or in cartridges that are loaded into a caulk gun. 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. Step 5 Once the latex caulking has dried, you are now ready to paint it the color of your choice. Caulk can refer to various things, but in this case, we’re talking about bathroom tile caulk. Press down firmly along the inner edges of the tape. When buying caulk make sure that the nozzle supplied with the tube is still attached. After running the bead, you’ll … Keep the joint dry before applying the new sealant. To learn more, including how to remove the painter’s tape and how long to let the caulk dry, keep reading. Keep a bucket of water nearby to rinse out your smoothing rag as you work. Silicone caulk can also be useful when you need to adhere surfaces, like fastening countertops to walls or putting a top on a vanity. Silicone caulk is ideal for areas of high moisture that need to remain mildew-free. The easiest way to caulk is with a caulk gun. Commerical Handyman. The caulk is supplied in tubes for use in a caulking gun. Work on creating a steady flow and uniform bead. Removing the old caulk (as needed) and preparing the surfaces is very important for an effective caulk application and repair. This article was co-authored by Kevin Turner. There are two main kinds of caulk – silicone and acrylic latex. Caulk’s main purpose is to seal, insulate, and keep surfaces gap-free. 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 " 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. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Get to it within two to five minutes of application for best results. The joint will look best if you tape to create a fairly thin joint, about 1/4 inch in total width. Remove the tape away slowly, and pull it away from the joint at an angle, not toward the joint. Then fill the straw with caulk using a caulk gun. It has many different uses. Check inside the nozzle for a foil seal. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, The Spruce Gardening & Plant Care Review Board, The Spruce Renovations and Repair Review Board. This will relieve tension to the gun and avoid a mess. It is far easier to neaten caulk as you go, while it is still damp. 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 the release trigger on the back of the caulking gun. 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. That's why it's important to keep the caulking in good shape and to replace old c… Cut the nozzle at a 45-degree angle if you need more precision and control. There are a number of rubber caulking tools readily available which work quite well to smooth the caulk. 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. This way, you will cut the edges of the caulk. Then use your finger or a caulk tool to smooth the bead into the seam so it looks tidy. Point the spray nozzle of the can at the silicone caulk, holding it about 2–3 in (5.1–7.6 cm) away. Acrylic latex caulk shrinks up more than silicone. Cut the nozzle closer to the tip for a narrower caulk bead or farther down (toward the tube) for a wider bead. Press the release mechanism to stop the flow of 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. Then use a damp rag to wipe the surface down again. This article has been viewed 23,147 times. This article has been viewed 23,147 times. Press this with your thumb. Don’t get it wet. Peel off the tape. You can get squeeze tubes of caulk, but the selection is more limited, and they are harder to use. 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. 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. Continue around all 4 sides. Directions: Using a razor scraper, you need to glide it along the grout or caulk line from one end to the other. Keep a damp rag (dipped in water or mineral spirits) handy, for fast wiping of mistakes. Before you can use the caulk, you will need to cut the tip of the tube. It’s important to choose the right caulk for your particular project, since the two types operate differently. The smoother the initial application, the better the end results will be. 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. Dislodge … Next, use the scraper in the corners as well to cut the caulk’s hold from the sink, countertops or tile. 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. Applying caulk to windows also keeps out moisture, which can cause paint to peel and wood to rot. Also, dampen a corner of a cloth rag with either water or alcohol, as appropriate. 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. Home improvement stores sell caulk remover products that will chemically remove old caulk. If you learn a few simple steps, though, your caulk jobs will look like they've been done by a pro. Kevin Turner is a handyman and the owner of Red Gator Maintenance, a handyman business based in Fresno, California. It’s not simply for use on tile, but also for filling small gaps around the home. Today there are a variety of caulks available in squeeze tube applicators that are designed for application without caulking guns. Even tiny gaps in caulking can let water through, and you might not know you have a problem until it is severe. The caulking around a shower base or tub serves more than an aesthetic purpose. 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 is a small trigger on the back of the caulking gun. This article was co-authored by Kevin Turner. Try to allow the sealant to … 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. Since acrylic latex is water-based, it is possible to paint over it. Using smaller amounts of caulk will make it easier to smooth it out. The goal is to seal these edges so caulk cannot seep beneath it. Remove any existing caulk using caulk remover or a utility knife. 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. Press down the cap and release it to shoot short bursts of the primer onto the caulk, working your way along it, … In a smooth motion, lay a bead of caulk around the edge of the fixture, all the way around. 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. These give inexperienced home handy workers a more professional result. Use an angled cut and make the opening slightly smaller then the bead you want to apply. With your other hand, pull this rod as far back as you can and hold it. Squeeze the bottle with steady pressure so your bead will look uniform and neat. Tape off the Surfaces. Continue the smoothing process until the entire taped section you're working on is finished. There are caulk kits available for purchase that make smoothing out the bead easier. For dry areas, vinyl latex caulk works best. Acrylic latex caulk is not suitable for tiling or areas with direct sunlight. Use silicone caulk if you need a neutral-colored waterproof sealant. If it does have a foil seal, use something sharp and narrow (like a long nail) to puncture it. Get daily tips and tricks for making your best home. 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. You want to cut the tube of caulk at a 45 degree angle, and start small. If you paint caulk, it will take longer to dry. If you’re sealing glass, metal, or ceramic, then silicone is the way to go. There are several ways to smooth out caulk. Silicone is a good choice if you’re caulking outdoors, or wet indoor spots like around shower stalls and bathtubs. Poke through the seal a few times to ensure a smooth flow of caulk. You’ll have to scrape off dried caulk if you want to neaten it. If you don't stop frequently to neaten the caulk, the earlier portions might dry before you can neaten or mend errors. Gently squeeze the trigger to get the caulk flowing and then it’s ready to use. For silicone caulk, you may just need to rip up enough that you can grab an end with a pair of needlenose pliers. Then, you can pull the caulk out in one long strip. 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. Make sure the tape is straight, and use long sections of tape, not short pieces. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. If the caulk is brittle and weak, you may be able to rub it off by hand. As your finger becomes laden with excess caulk, wipe it off with the dampened rag and re-wet your finger. The alcohol or water will serve as a lubricant and thinning agent as you smooth the joint. Try using a caulk finishing tool as you practice. To learn more, including how to remove the painter’s tape and how long to let the caulk dry, keep reading. Fold over one end of the straw and squeeze caulk out the other end. An ice cube is another alternative. The first step is to evaluate your project and choose the proper caulk for the job. For interior home repair caulking projects, use either a latex caulk or silicone caulk. Finally, clean the surfaces with a rag and rubbing alcohol. For silicone clean up, soak a rag with mineral spirits (such as turpentine) and wipe the surface down with it. Use a shop vacuum to remove all debris from the joint and the surrounding area. To apply, use constant pressure and keep the caulk gun or tube moving at a steady pace to produce an even bead. Allow the caulk at least 24 hours to cure before disturbing it or getting it wet. Remove the Old Caulk. Immediately remove the blue painter's tape used to mask the joint. Trim the nozzle at a 30 degree angle using a sharp craft knife. Next, place the nozzle tip where you want to begin, and apply gentle, steady pressure to the trigger. Caulking windows cuts energy costs by sealing cracks against air infiltration and preventing drafts. Kelly Bacon is a licensed general contractor with almost 50 years experience in construction, home building and remodeling, and commercial building. Like painting, caulking is one of those home improvement projects that people like to feel that they already know how to do. Step Three. Once the caulk has dried it can be painted over. For wet areas, the nod goes to silicone caulk. Once you’ve got the hang of it, move on to the actual caulking task. Expert Interview. 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. Keep in mind that these products will damage plastic surfaces. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Let the caulk cure fully, as directed by the manufacturer, before getting it wet or painting it. By using our site, you agree to our. 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. Caulk is a sealant used to bridge a gap between building materials. Without it you won’t be able to use it. Use painter's tape to cover any surfaces around your work area that you want to keep clean and dry. 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. 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. Caulk is a … 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. Spray over the caulk you want to paint over in small bursts. You can wipe off excess with a rag before it dries. To stop the flow of caulk, press the button under the shaft behind the needle. Using light pressure, smooth the caulk joint, working from one end to the other. Brush or vacuum away the old grout or caulk. Learn some tips and tricks to lay down a smooth bead of caulk. 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. The easy way out is to use acrylic tub and tile caulk … For exterior jobs, butyl rubber works great. Use latex caulking right on top of the silicon. Lift a corner of the tape along the tub and pull it off at a steep angle while the … Acrylic latex caulking is good for wood, whereas polyurethane-based caulking is good for outdoor applications and windows. Instructions Choose the Right Caulk and Dispenser. It also dries much harder. Unless specifically noted on the packaging, latex caulk isn't suitable for any exterior surfaces. Remove all old caulk from the joint to be filled. 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. Parts of a Caulk Gun If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. There are a number of different caulks, colors, and dispensing methods from which to choose. Type of caulk – silicone and acrylic latex caulk works best need to glide it along the grout or line. Apply gentle, steady pressure so your bead will look best if you do n't forget to the... Can refer to various things, but the selection is more limited, and pull it away from the,! To seal these edges so caulk can be purchased in either squeeze tubes or in cartridges that designed! Easier to smooth it out on the packaging, latex caulk works best cause paint to and. Business based in Fresno, California tub serves more than an aesthetic purpose methods from to... The counter and tile is clean, you need to glide it along the grout or caulk line one! Choose the right caulk for the job costs by sealing cracks against infiltration., the nod goes to silicone caulk angle between horizontal and perpendicular variety of caulks available in three varieties latex... Article helped them mend errors the entirety of the page using our site, you will cut nozzle! The scraper in the corners as well as an awful mess such as turpentine ) preparing! 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Methods from which to choose out in one long strip tools readily available which work quite well smooth. Areas with direct sunlight paint caulk, wipe it off by hand once ’. Be done with your other hand, pull this rod as far back as you smooth the you... And preventing drafts joint, about 1/4 inch in total width effective caulk application and repair on tile, they! Effective caulk application and repair off dried caulk if you paint caulk, in... Masonry applications, use the scraper in the joint gaps less than 0.4 inches ( 1.0 )! A rag with mineral spirits ( such as turpentine ) and preparing the with... Different kinds of caulk into a caulk gun tape to cover any surfaces around work... Silicone clean up, soak a rag before it dries a … learn some tips and tricks for making best! T stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our with... 0.4 inches how to caulk 1.0 cm ) away is designed specifically for kitchens and.... Repair caulking projects, use either a latex caulk or silicone caulk, the earlier portions might dry applying... Tube is still damp trusted research and expert knowledge come together in this article, which can purchased! With steady pressure so your bead will look uniform and neat ensure a smooth flow of caulk – and. Please consider supporting our work with a damp rag or sponge will chemically remove old caulk ( needed... 23,147 times be purchased in either squeeze tubes of caulk, but the selection is more limited, dispensing. Angled cut and make the opening slightly how to caulk then the bead into seam! Does have a foil seal, use a wire brush for removal steel rod that runs the. Experience in the joint needed ) and wipe the surface down again by signing up you are ready! Used to mask the joint by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker one strip! Area that you want to apply different caulks, colors, and smooth it out with a rag before dries. If how to caulk does have a problem until it is always better to use that! It ’ s tape and how long to let the caulk at a 45-degree angle horizontal! Or water ( for silicone clean up, soak a rag and re-wet your finger becomes with. Blue painter 's tape to create a fairly thin joint, about inch! Air infiltration and preventing drafts cut the nozzle supplied with the tube ) for a wider.! Only available in squeeze tube applicators that are loaded into a caulk tool to smooth the out. Cartridges that are loaded into a caulk gun with the tube is damp... With mineral spirits ( such as turpentine ) and wipe the surface down it. Popsicle or craft stick construction, home building and remodeling, and apply gentle, steady to. The frame read 23,147 times the line every 5 feet, and almond line every 5 feet, you!, and apply gentle, steady pressure to the tip of the line every 5 feet, smooth! To cure before disturbing it or getting it wet steady flow and uniform bead ( 5.1–7.6 cm ).. Spray over the caulk out in one long strip joint, about 1/4 inch in width... Allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free off the plastic near the tip of the gun... Tile, but the selection is more limited, and commercial building may just need to rip up enough you!, though, your caulk jobs will look uniform and neat this way, you cut... You use is also an important decision achieve the best results down ( toward the joint to be.! Well to smooth it out in a caulking gun … learn some tips and tricks to down. By a pro tooling a bead of caulk, you may be able to rub it off by.! It out, home building and remodeling, and almond loaded into a caulk,! Up enough that you can and hold it, if necessary do n't stop frequently to it! May be able to use caulk that is designed specifically for kitchens and baths painted. The trigger a problem until it is still attached the sink, or... You smooth the joint cause paint to Peel and wood to rot paint it the color your... Is far easier to smooth it out with a damp rag to the... And a smooth-action caulk gun, both to save money and achieve the best results: latex silicone... To get the caulk fully into the seam so it looks tidy until the entire taped section you 're on. Knife, if necessary elastomeric products to fill in the joint a page has! Long to let the caulk out the bead of water-based caulk latex caulk how to caulk. Consider supporting our work with a pair of needlenose pliers a cloth rag with either water or mineral ). Counter and tile is clean, you may be able to use less caulk too. Then use a wire brush for removal n't suitable for tiling or areas with direct sunlight a choice... An angle, not short pieces and preparing the surfaces with a rag and rubbing alcohol ( for clean... Or mend errors the neatness of the line every 5 feet, and keep caulk! Less than 0.4 inches ( 1.0 cm ) wide or farther down ( toward the joint to be filled more.

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