While being able to caulk well may seem like a minor accomplishment, a smooth, seamless caulk bead is actually a very important finishing touch in many areas of your home. Not only will it look like you’ve taken advantage of local handyman services in your area, the joints in the bathroom, kitchen, and other parts of your home will be protected from mildew, mold and water damage. Caulking like a pro is actually very doable for a DIYer; all it takes are the right tools and quality materials.
Before you begin caulking, you must first determine the best type of caulk for the job. In general, the most commonly used types of caulk can be divided into three categories:
- Acrylic latex for dry areas.
- Pure silicone for wet areas.
- Butyl rubber for outdoor use.
A successful caulking job requires minimal supplies in addition to the caulk:
- Caulking gun
- 5-in-1 painter’s tool or retractable razor blade scraper
- Blue painter’s tape
- Rubber gloves
- Rubbing alcohol (for silicone caulk)
- Soft rags or cotton balls
- Once you have your supplies ready, it’s time to start cleaning out the old caulk. Use a retractable razor blade scraper or 5-in-1 painter’s tool to remove the old caulk from the joint and scrape off any remaining residue from the surrounding surfaces. Vacuum in and around the exposed joint to remove any remaining dust and debris, then move on to the next step.
- Take the painter’s tape and use long, straight sections to tape off both edges of the joint, pressing down firmly on the edge that runs along the caulk joint. This will enable you to control the width of the joint, preventing it from becoming too wide once the caulk is smoothed down. Ideally, you want your joint to be about ¼-inch wide.
- Use the scissors to open the caulk tube, cutting at a 45-degree angle for easier application. Start with a small hole; you can always go back and enlarge it later if needed. Next, puncture the inner seal with a nail, wire, or other sharp instrument. Insert the caulk tube into the caulking gun, then slowly and steadily start applying the caulk into the joint, again at a 45-degree angle.
- After you’re finished applying the caulk, you can begin smoothing it out. Start by wetting your finger with either rubbing alcohol (for silicone) or water (for latex), as well as wetting a rag with the same. Next, working from one end of the joint to the other, use your finger to firmly smooth the caulk into the joint, wiping off the excess from your finger with the damp rag as needed. Then rewet your finger and continue until you reach the end of the taped section you’re working on.
- As soon as you’re finished caulking your section, start removing the painter’s tape. Pull it up slowly, angling away from the joint. Once all the tape is removed, you’re all done. Now you can sit back and admire your professional-looking DIY caulk job!
Get Help From a Pro
If you’ve been wondering, “How do I find a handyman near me?” look no further than Handyman Connection. A quick call to 1-800-88-HANDY is all it takes to line up the perfect craftsman for your project.