Caulking is one of my favorite things to do (ok, I know, it’s an illness 🙂 ). Caulk hides a multitude of mistakes, makes a project look very finished, is kinda fun to do, and is INCREDIBLY easy to do correctly. By doing it right, you can have a very professional-looking job.
- Caulk Gun
- Rag or Paper Towels
- Disposable Gloves
I have seen these for as little as a buck, so they are not too expensive. Items that are helpful to have on a caulk gun are: a cutter and a long piece of metal for puncturing through the foil often found inside the caulk tube. To the left is a pic of the caulk gun I use for adhering items for my artwork. As you can see, it has been used quite a bit and is a little gunked up – but it is the only one I have that still has all the parts to show you.
The pic on the left shows the cutter part of the caulk gun. This is used to cut the tip off of the caulk tube. I recommend this be done very close to the tip of the caulk tube, and done at an angle, instead of straight down.
This shows the wire used to puncture the foil inside the caulk tube. This wire rotates and lays flat against the caulk gun after use. Just insert this wire into the area where you just cut it open to break the foil seal keeping the caulk in the tube..
This photo shows the handle part of the gun. The flat piece is used to release the long plunger-like part of the gun. If you push this in, you can pull out the plunger-like piece and place your caulk tube in the gun. Once released, the act of squeezing the handle of the gun will squeeze the caulk out. When done with a section, press the flat piece to stop the pressure on the tube, and stop the caulk from coming out.
There are several types of caulk. All of these will be addressed on the tube of caulk. There is caulk you can paint, and this is used around baseboards, crown molding, cabinets that are (or will be painted) and around windows. Some caulk can not be painted. Some caulk is indoor only, and some is for use indoors and outdoors. Paintable caulk in my area is roughly $2-3 for a tube.
RAG OR PAPER TOWELS:
While I generally don’t like to use anything disposable, I make an exception when caulking. It is messy and cleaning it in the washing machine may just ruin other clothes. Paper towels are messy with caulk, but can be pitched. If you use a rag (which will work better) be prepared to throw it away rather than trying to wash it.
Again, did I mention it can get messy. Save yourself a lot of time and water trying to get this stuff off your hands, and wear a pair of disposable gloves.
HOW TO CAULK:
Holding the gun at a slight angle, start at an area closest to you and push away from you while pressing slightly on the trigger. This way you will be pushing the caulk into the areas you want it to go. I know just about every person I have ever seen caulk pulls the gun toward them – but I have asked several professionals how they do it – and they always tell me they push it away from them. Once finished with a line of caulk, hit the flat piece used to release the plunger – this will stop the pressure on the caulk, and stop it from coming out of the tube. Now, with a gloved up finger, slide the finger over the fresh caulk, making a uniform flat line between your surfaces.
This is the BEFORE picture – a built in book case that doesn’t look very built in because of the seams.
PUSH the caulk into the area – push the caulk gun away from you while dispensing the caulk.
Slide your finger over the caulk line to smooth it out. Smooth out the top and bottom parts as well… so it is not lumpy. The goal here is a nice clean look!
Let the caulk dry for an hour or two before painting. Caulking is easy, inexpensive, and it will take something that looks OK and make it look finished!
Caulking, can also be used to insulate… the same steps apply.
Next time you are looking at an inexpensive way to spruce up your house or weather proof – just check out the caulking aisle at the place you buy paint and hardware.