Learning how to caulk is an important skill that everyone homeowner should master. Between all of the baseboards, windows, bathtubs, doors, and cabinets in your home, it is almost certain that you will need to caulk around at least one of these items. Before you get started on your first project, learn how to caulk with these useful tips!
Your local hardware store is likely to sell many different types of caulk so choosing which one is best for your project can be challenging. For interior caulking jobs you will want to pick either a latex or silicone caulk. For bathrooms and other areas where moisture and water are present, pick a silicone caulk to achieve the best results. Latex is useful for dry locations such as around your baseboards.
Caulk is available in several different colors. Usually the tip of the caulk will indicate which color it is. You will also notice that caulk is sold in tubes, cans, and cartridges. Both the tubes and cans can be used as is, but the cartridges are designed to be use with a caulking gun. If you have a lot of caulking to do, investing in a caulking gun will pay off in the end as the cartridges are far more affordable.
Before you use caulk you have to trim off the end of the tip. Extreme care should be used for this task because the size of the hole will directly affect how the caulk flows from the container. It makes sense to start small, and then trim it larger as needed. It is also important to cut the tip at a 45 degree angle. This will make it far easier to apply the caulk.
Preparing the surface
Before you caulk an area it is important to prep it first. Any preexisting caulk must first be removed along with any dirt or debris. You can use caulk removal products or scrape it off with a scrapping knife. Your new caulk will not adhere properly if dirt is left behind!
Holding your caulk at a 45 degree angle slowly fill in the crack that you are attempting to repair. Be steady in order to make your caulk line as smooth as possible. Once you have caulked a section you will want to smooth it out. This is done by simply using your finger, or a clean cloth wrapped around your finger, to run over the bead of caulk you just laid.
Tip: In order to get the smoothest finish it is useful to wet your finger and cloth before you smooth out the caulk. For latex caulk you can do this with water. Silicone caulking will require the use of rubbing alcohol.