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Old 05-26-2014, 12:45 PM   #1
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caulking tips?


I have a confession. The few times I've used a caulking gun it turns out looking terrible. I try to follow the directions on the tube but it ends up looking all bumpy. I noticed some of the trim around a few windows was loose where it connects to the stucco. I held the trim down with one hand while caulking with the caulking gun. First of all, it didn't hold down the trim, as it sprang loose as soon as I let it go. Second, where I caulked it is bumpy and looks crappy. I also had a failed attempt a while back caulking around the kitchen sink, with a similar crappy result.

I would welcome any suggestions on improving my technique, or resources, websites, etc. that make me more successful on what seems like should be a fairly simple task.

Thanks.

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Old 05-26-2014, 02:08 PM   #2
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caulking tips?


Different caulks take a different style of application---

Caulk is used to fill gaps only---so if trim is loose--renail it first--

Latex painters caulk--wipe the fresh caulk with a wet rag or sponge---

Silicone caulk---apply the bead--then spray with a soapy cleaner like Greased Lightning--then tool with your finger--removing the excess to a paper towel---

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Old 05-26-2014, 02:35 PM   #3
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caulking tips?


I am a mediocre caulker too. What screws me every time is I tend to go too big with the bead because I'm afraid I won't get full coverage. Make the bead only a hair larger than the gap and use a backing rod for gaps deeper or wider than about 1/4 inch so the caulk has something to bite into without you having to squirt huge sloppy mounds of it into the gap. IT is hard to clean up a sloppy bead but you normally have at least a couple minutes to go back on a smaller one and fill in missed spots before it skins over.

1) If the trim is nailed down, caulk isn't meant to hold it in place. Caulk protects unavoidable gaps from wind-driven rain and air leaks. Certain types can function as a light duty adhesive in certain situations but that's not really its primary purpose.

2) Guns are great for big jobs because a 10.1 ounce tube is a better value than using a bunch of 3 or 4 ounce squeeze tubes. But for a small job there is nothing wrong and no harm done if you can find one of those small squeeze tubes. They make it a lot easier to control the bead for the novice than a gun.

3) It is like anything else that requires a little finesse: the more you do it the better you will get at it. Consider creating practice scenarios for your self so you can work on creating the perfect bead with a caulking gun in situations where you harm nothing by screwing up. The pros only get good at it by doing it a bunch of times.

Last edited by eharri3; 05-26-2014 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 05-26-2014, 02:55 PM   #4
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caulking tips?


like eharri3 said, practice is your best advice to getting better at caulking. But not eveyone has that luxury, so follow the tips already given... do not expect the caulk to act like super glue and hold your trim to a narrower gap. Either accept the gap and fill the void with caulk and then smooth, or try to secure it better before caulking (not always an easy task when dealing with stucco). I have always told new hires to remember that when learning, "less is more". It is easier and cleaner to have a small tip and add caulk, than to have a large hole and wipe away too much excess. Also, a decent caulk gun helps. This doesn't mean the most expensive will do the best job. In fact, I have found that my favorite gun is the inexpensive orange one that HD sells for about $6. I've tried many different brands/types, but still find it works great. As for sealant(caulk) I like acrylic WITH silicone if it is an area that may need to be painted, or 100% silicone if not or an area subject to alot of water.

Hope this helps,
Brett
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Old 05-26-2014, 06:04 PM   #5
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caulking tips?


The biggest mistake in caulking is cutting the hole too big. Cut the nozzle on a 45 degree angle with a hole in the tip just big enough to get a piece of wire in to puncture the tube. keep a damp rag handy to clean your finger and keep your finger wet.
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Old 05-26-2014, 06:31 PM   #6
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Sounds like you were doing exterior caulking. I don't use tape for exterior applications, but when I want the best looking caulking job, I put tape on both surfaces. First time I tried that method --- it was the nicest bead I had put down in my life.
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Old 05-26-2014, 07:07 PM   #7
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caulking tips?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SPS-1 View Post
Sounds like you were doing exterior caulking. I don't use tape for exterior applications, but when I want the best looking caulking job, I put tape on both surfaces. First time I tried that method --- it was the nicest bead I had put down in my life.
I use tape for kitchen, bath and a few other interior applications but never for exterior or interior trim to wall when it paints.

I also only cut the tip at maybe 10 deg at the most. Less angle works best for me, especially on inside corners (to each their own on that one I guess).

Those el-cheapo steel caulking guns are junk imo. I spend about fifteen bucks on mine. Control of the flow is important and the cheap guns just lack the ability to finesse..
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:11 PM   #8
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caulking tips?


I've come to the conclusion that I will actually only use 25% of what's in the caulking tube. The other 75% ends up on my clothes.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:22 PM   #9
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caulking tips?


I use caulk on several jobs a week.After laying down a bead just wide enough to cover the joint,I lick my index finger and use it to finish the joint.I keep a damp rag on me to clean the access off my finger.
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mako1 View Post
I use caulk on several jobs a week.After laying down a bead just wide enough to cover the joint,I lick my index finger and use it to finish the joint.I keep a damp rag on me to clean the access off my finger.
After the first lick I have to spit on my finger.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:47 PM   #11
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caulking tips?


Thanks for all of the suggestions. I'll give it another shot this weekend.
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Old 06-01-2014, 03:05 AM   #12
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caulking tips?


never use spit to wipe caulking.no1
cut the tip on a 30degree angle so the hole is slightly smaller than the gap.no2
hold the gun on a 45 degree angle so the tip is aimed at the joint,
dont be in a hurry,dont pump the handle,take your time the and slowly drag it along .always wipe with clean water/you can add soap but i dont. spit will cause mould you have acid and all sorts of nasty stuff in you spit.

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