Most of us have had at least one caulking project in our lifetime, and maybe you have had many. Depending on the size of the job, they can be a huge pain and cost a little bit of finger skin:) Here are a few tips and tricks to make these projects just a little bit easier.
Pro-Grade Caulking Gun
First of all, do yourself a favor and buy a pro-grade caulking gun rather than a super cheap one. (The pro-grade one should still be only about $10). This will help you apply a much smoother bead of caulk.
Cleaning and Drying
Make sure to prepare the area being caulked by cleaning and drying it thoroughly. Use a bleach mixture and brush to clean the area. After that use a rag or cloth to dry it.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how wide a gap that particular caulk is meant to fill. If you try to fill to large a gap, the caulk may sag. (FYI: caulk works best for gaps up to 1/2” wide).
You can also prevent sag by using backer rod. Backer rod is made of foam and comes in different sizes. Buy some that is slightly larger in diameter than the space you are trying to fill. Cut it to length and insert into the gap, pushing it down in a little. You can caulk right over the rod which prevents sagging!
Cutting the Bag
When you cut the opening for the caulking bag, start with a small opening and test it out. You don’t want to cut the hole too big—that will make for a messy caulking job. One expert gives the guideline that the hole should be 2/3 the size of the gap you want to fill.
The caulk will come out smoother if you cut the bag at an angle, and if you REALLY want it smooth you should gently smooth and round the end with 100-grit sandpaper.
Pressure and Speed
When you caulk, start at the far end and pull the gun toward you at a steady pressure and speed. If either of these two things are uneven then your caulk will turn out too blobby or too thin. If needed, practice beforehand so you can get the hang of it.
Smooth with Finger
You can easily smooth out the caulk with your finger—just make sure to wear gloves! Don’t push too hard or else you’ll have to recaulk the whole thing!
Clean off the tip as you go so the caulk won’t harden onto the gun. This is an incredibly important step because, if not, you’re going to regret it when you pull the caulk out again for your next project. Use soapy water and a wet wag when needed.
For a very precise caulking job, apply tape on either side of the joint to prevent caulk from getting on the surrounding surfaces.