Type of Caulk
Things to Keep in Mind
Materials: Some caulks adhere better to certain materials than others.
Moisture: In areas that stay wet, such as around a tub or sink, use a caulk that is highly resistant to both water and mildew.
Temperature: Some caulks can only be applied in warm weather while others aren’t designed to handle extreme changes in temperature.
Location: When caulking outdoors, choose one that will hold up to the elements and is flexible enough to withstand movement in the joint.
Paintable: While most caulks can be painted over after they have cured, others cannot.
Application: Some caulks are easy to apply and can be cleaned up with water while others are messy and require solvents. Several caulks have a strong odor while curing and a few even release noxious fumes.
Caulk Gun Basics
Caulk guns have a built-in cutter to sever the tip on caulk tubes. Just insert the tip of the caulk tube and squeeze the handle. As you squeeze the handle, a razor knife edge cleanly cuts the plastic caulk tube at precisely the right distance from the tip.
Mounted to the metal housing on the caulk gun you'll find a length of stiff metal wire. Use the wire as a probe to reach into the plastic tip on the caulk tube and punch through the seal inside. Wipe the wire clean after puncturing the seal, and fold it away against the body of the caulk gun.
How to Caulk
Start by cutting the nozzle at a 45 degree angle equal in width to the gap you plan to fill. Cutting too wide a hole not only wastes caulk but makes the bead more noticeable and harder to smooth out.
Puncture the seal on the tube using the punch on the caulking gun or a nail.
Place the tube in the gun and push the plunger up snug. Squeeze the trigger until caulk starts to come out of the nozzle. Put the nozzle in the gap and pull the gun slowly toward you at a 45 degree angle while pushing the trigger. The bead should contact both sides of the joint and fill the gap.
Use a clean wet finger, damp rag, or special caulk smoothing tool to even out the bead before it skims over.
To make a straight line, use strips of painter’s tape on each side of the gap. After applying the caulk and smoothing it out, peel off the tape.