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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to throw this out there, after reading DangerMouse's Tip's and Tricks Thread (http://www.diychatroom.com/f2/diy-tips-tricks-34534/) and wondering on caulking specifically, I would think a bunch of you have your little tips and tricks after years of doing it...

-Any prep tips other than clean/smooth surface? Taping the area? Surface prep?
- Anybody have any tips to get the caulk even and smooth?
- Avoid/cleanup mess on nearby tiles/floor/walls/fingers/hands/face?
- After you're done a line, you know how the caulk gun keeps pushing more caulk out? Any clever ideas to stop that?
- Judging proper caulk bead size (i.e., cutting the tip of the tube)?
- General knowledge from those who have it?

I'm prompted to post this because all the above has provided me with some frustration the last day or 2... :wallbash:
 

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Newbie Bill
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Noob DIY method to smooth the caulk: Once the caulk is placed via the caulking gun, I take my middle finger, extend it, lick the end of the finger and proceed to slide my finger along the caulking to press it into the corners and to make it smooth.

Note: Do not lick that finger AFTER you have smoothed the caulk.
 

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I cut the caulk tube tip a bit smaller than the bead I want since you can always add more. I always clean hard surfaces with alcohol before caulking since it dries fast and removes any oil on the surface. I have a spoon with an elongated end (almost to a point). I dip it in a cup of water and use it, pressed against both surfaces, to smooth. When I finish a line of caulk, I immediately release the shaft that pushes the caulk out of the tube.
 

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When smoothing out joints with my finger, I dip my finger in a little dish soap before smoothing the joint. It keeps the caulk from sticking and provides a smoother appearance.
 

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Man of many hats
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I always say that when it comes to caulking, "Less is more." When learning how to caulk, applying less than you think you'll need to seal the joint will usually produce better results, and as previously stated, you can always add more where needed. Having trained meny 'noobs' most usually try to apply too large a bead reculting in 'over-spread' when they go to smooth it out.
As for caulking guns, over the years I have tried various guns, from the $4 models up to $30 models, and my favorite is the $4 orange guns I have bought from HD. They seem to do the best in regards to the stop flow when I am applying silicone, but I have found that even they will flow slightly when using latex tubes cut with a very tiny hole.
 

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Household Handyman
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In my work trailer I keep a sponge and a pre-mixed spray bottle of soap and water. Just a couple of drops of liquid soap to the bottle of water. I spray the sponge with the soapy water liberally before starting the caulking. After running the caulk bead, a small bead at that, I place the end of my index finger on the sponge and "strike" the bead, that is pull the finger along the bead which makes the caulk go down into the crack and smooths the bead. This seals better and the smooth bead looks better than those that look like metal welds. Just my 2¢ worth, David
 

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Old School
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- After you're done a line, you know how the caulk gun keeps pushing more caulk out? Any clever ideas to stop that?

I've got several caulking guns, the famous orange type and some old blue ones with the rotating rod. To stop the flow, after running the bead, release the plunger (with whatever gun you have), and pull back on the plunger slightly.






 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the tips/help so far... trying to absord all of it, as well as learn from just doing/making mistakes. I noticed the ad generated here on the thread for pro caulk too :)
 
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