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Caulk Installation Tips

Caulk Installation Tips

Once you have a clean and dry surface to apply your caulk to it is time to determine the proper caulk for the job. See the Caulk Removal page for more information on how to remove caulk. There are a number of different caulks to choose from. For more information on which type of caulk to use see the Different Types of Caulk page. Generally for dry areas indoors, Painters Caulk or Acrylic LatexCaulk works best, for wet areas the nod goes to Silicone and for exterior jobs the Siliconized Acrylic Latex Caulk works great. Thenext decision you will need to make is the type of caulk dispensing tool you will be using. Caulks can be purchased in either squeeze tubes or cartridges. Our preference due to both economy and professional results is to use a caulk cartridge and a caulking gun. It is much easier to control and is a much better value. Do yourself a favor and spend a few extra dollars on a good caulking gun. You can get a pretty good caulking gun for about $14.00. Get a gun that has a pressure release type handle and a puncturing rod.

Now you are ready to start caulking. Some caulking techniques use painters tape on either side of a caulk line. We will not be discussing that technique. It is a messy and sometimes produces an unprofessional look when too much caulk is applied.

Open the caulk tube by cutting the tip at a 45 degree angle and puncturing the inner seal with the puncturing rod on the gun. If you did not purchase a gun with a puncturing rod you will need to used a long nail or wire to break the inner seal. Apply the caulk at a 45 degree angle between horizontal and perpendicular. Make sure to squeeze hard enough to get the caulk fully into the joint, but do not use too much caulk. Do a small practice area to start with, about 18 inches long. Work at a speed that is slow and consistent. The smoother you make the joint to start with, the easier the job will be.

Now you are ready to smooth the 18 inch practice area that you have already applied. Fill a container about two inches deep with either alcohol (for Silicone Caulk) or water (with Acrylic Latex Caulk). Keep the container handy because you will be using it often to wet your index finger. Wet your index finger with either the alcohol (for Silicone Caulk) or water (with Acrylic Latex Caulk). Also dampen part of a rag with water or alcohol as appropriate. The alcohol or water will serve as a lubricant and cutting agent as you smooth the joint. Using firm pressure with your index finger, smooth the caulk joint working from one end to the other. If you apply too much caulk simply use your index finger to pull off the excess and re-smooth the area. As your finger becomes laden with excess caulk, wipe it off with the dampened rag and re-wet your finger. As the rag becomes full of caulk you will need to rinse it out often with warm water for the (Acrylic Latex Caulk) or discard it and get a new damp rag for the alcohol damp rag for the (Silicone Caulk). We did an 18 inch test area so you can determine how much caulk to use without creating a mess and using too much. If you used too much the first time around just use a little less on the next segment. If you use too little just put a little bit more in the area that needs it and re-smooth the area again. Now that you have determined the correct amount of caulk to use you can finish your caulking project. Some caulks dry very quickly so we recommend completing the project doing no more than three foot sections at a time.

Note: once you have smoothed the Silicone Caulk do not go over it again. The Silicone caulk will begin to form a skin as it dries over the top very quickly. With the Acrylic Latex Caulk you have a little more time but as a general rule once you have smoothed it you should leave it alone. So….smooth it right the first time and you won’t have any issues with the finished look of your caulking job.

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