Learn how to caulk in your kitchen, bathroom and more with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Before you start caulking, you need to have the right caulk for the job. The main objective is to create a seal that’s air- and water-tight. With caulk, you can seal up drafts, keep plumbing water-tight and more. Learn how to caulk with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Choosing the Right Caulk
Typically, caulk is made with silicone or latex. Latex is easier to apply and clean up than silicone. However, silicone lasts longer, especially in extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. It’s also more flexible. There’s also a caulk that’s “siliconized,” which combines the durability of silicone with the easy-to-use latex or acrylic.
There are also specialty caulks for specific projects, instead of just an all-purpose caulk. It’s best to check the label to make sure it’s the right caulk for your intended project.
How to Caulk
1. Once you have the right caulk for the job, you need to clean the surface that you’ll be caulking. This includes removing old caulk with a caulk-removing tool. A wire brush will work on concrete or masonry applications, where the surface won’t be damaged. After the old caulk is removed, clean up any peeling paint, dirt, rust or moisture. You need a clean surface for the caulk to actually create a bond. Apply masking tape or painter’s tape on either side of the area you’re caulking to create a straight edge.
2. Load the tube of caulk into the caulking gun. Next, cut the caulk tube’s nozzle to the appropriate bead size. Cut the nozzle at a 45 degree angle, so the flat end can be used to easily apply an even bead. Use an awl, nail or stiff wire to pierce through the inner seal of the caulk tube. Do a test run on a piece of cardboard or newspaper before you begin caulking to make sure it’s the size you want.
3. Start caulking. Squeeze the caulking gun with consistent pressure to form an even seal. To smooth the caulk, use your finger (only if you’re wearing gloves) or a wet caulk-smoothing tool to push caulk into the gaps you’re sealing. Caulk needs to be smoothed before it dries.
4. Remove any tape before the caulk has completely dried. Once the caulk has dried, clean the area around the new caulk. For silicone caulk use mineral spirits and use soap and water for acrylic caulk.