If you need to apply caulk to a surface, you are facing a difficult task. If caulk is not applied neatly, it will create an eyesore when it dries. Caulking novices are sometimes so afraid that they call a professional. There is no need to waste the money—simply follow the tips below to learn how to caulk like the pros!
Tip 1: To keep caulking bead looking clean and straight, tape off the area around the seam being caulked. Put a piece of masking tape on either side of the seam, spacing the pieces at a distance equivalent to the desired size of the caulk bead. After laying down the bead, push the excess caulk onto the masking tape. Remove the tape to reveal a smooth, straight bead of caulk.
Tip 2: Cut off the corners of a paint stick to fit between the pieces of masking tape applied in Step 1. Use the stick to smooth the bead of caulk.
Tip 3: If a used tube of caulk is plugged, cut off the nozzle end, creating a hole that is a bit larger than that of the first cut. Drive a course thread screw, like a deck or drywall screw, into the nozzle and use this to remove the hardened caulk through the nozzle.
Tip 4: If caulk remains in the tube after a caulking job is complete, put a plastic electrical connector on the end of the nozzle to seal the tube and make it easy to reopen. If this is not available, put a 2-inch nail into the nozzle and wrap the nozzle with plastic wrap to prevent the caulk from hardening.
Tip 5: Do not use oil-based caulk around insulating glass windows. This caulk contains vegetable oils that attack the sealants in thermal-pane windows. When the sealants degrade and crack, the window gets foggy.
Tip 6: Do not apply caulk to sun-damaged wood. The surface fibers of the wood can lose their attachment to the rest of the wood, causing the caulk to fail prematurely.
Tip 6: Allow 1 to 3 days for elastomeric latex caulk to cure before painting it. This type of caulk is more elastic than paint so paint will not be able to stretch with caulk that is still curing.