Tips for a Professional Caulking Job

Caulk is a great product that provides a flexible, waterproof seal around surfaces. However, the application of caulking can be a messy and frustrating job. Before starting any caulking project, be certain to have a plentiful supply of paper towels ready to clean up any mess on the surface you are working on and yourself. Follow these tips to get a great looking bead of caulking wherever in your home that you need it.

The first step is to remove any old caulking present. If working in areas where there is grout around tiles, remove any loose or crumbling grout. You may need a thin bladed screwdriver or similar tool to remove stubborn areas. Just be certain to not scratch the surfaces that will be visible. Clean the surfaces with the applicable cleaner (Bathroom cleaner for tubs / showers, etc). You may need to use a gentle scouring pad or sponge to remove old debris still stuck to the tub, shower, or counter.

After letting the surface dry completely from cleaning it is time to lay the bead of caulking. Be certain that you have the correct color of caulking before application and be certain the caulking you have is recommended for your application. Do remember that clear caulk will usually come out of the tube white, but will dry clear so don’t freak out when you see it. Cut the tube of caulking open where show. If you are using a caulking gun or a squeeze tube for the first time practice on a piece of cardboard or other trash to get the hang of laying the caulk. When you are ready carefully place a bead of caulk where it is needed.

Now that you have the bead of caulk in location it will need smoothed. The standard method is to wet your finger and gently smooth it into shape by running your finger across the caulk in one smooth motion. Another option that works well is to use a dab of dish-washing liquid to your finger to smooth it out. I’ve been told that some people use a piece of ice to smooth the caulk down but I have not actually tried it myself. There are a variety of products one can buy to assist with this project, but I don’t think they are necessary.

Now that you (hopefully) have a nice looking caulk job make sure to carefully wipe away any excess and let the caulking cure according to package directions.

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