Get Caulky! Part II is all about How to Caulk.
Let me start by saying, there is NO magic tool that will make you caulk better, so don’t waste your money buying those “as seen on TV” caulking tools. Caulking requires a bit of finesse but mostly it is about the right caulk, caulk gun, a utility knife or razor blade, an old cup, an index finger, and the right angles. You may also want to have some paper towels or an old rag handy as well.
First, invest in a “Pro” caulk gun. It’s going to be marginally more expensive than the cheap ones and worth every penny. A “Pro” caulk gun is going to have a better grip (e.g. trigger has finger grooves) to help you keep consistent pressure on the gun when applying the caulk.
Second, use the right type of caulk for your project (see our previous post “Get Caulky”) and follow the instructions for applying it. For example, almost all caulk types call for a clean surface before applying. This doesn’t mean you should apply new caulk over your old caulk after bleaching the shower. It means remove your old caulk and then clean the underlying surface, so your caulk can adhere directly to the surfaces you are caulking.
Third, prep the area to be caulked. I want to stress how important a clean surface is to this process. You should remove your old caulk with a utility knife and/or razor blade. I prefer an 8 in 1 painters tool and a razor blade/utility knife. Getting caulk off is an “elbow grease” kind of job, but it also requires finesse because you don’t want to remove the grout either. I find that the 8 in 1 painters tool is a good choice because of the sharp straight edges, and the flexible, yet inflexibility of the tool. It also has a pointed corner that comes in handy when initially trying to get underneath the caulk and in corners. Once you have removed all of the old caulk it is important to clean the surfaces, I use rubbing alcohol.
Then, there is the angle of the caulk tip and the angle at which you apply the caulk. Pay attention to the angle and size of the opening you cut into the caulk tip. The angle that you cut into the plastic caulk tip should be about 45 degrees. It should also be fairly small. It’s better to make the opening smaller and adjust later to bigger than to make it too big before you even begin. Now that your caulk tube has been opened put it into the caulk gun and you are almost ready to caulk!
You are now ready to apply some caulk. Using steady pressure apply a 1/8″ to 1/4″ bead of caulk at a 45 degree angle. Next, dip your finger into a cup of water and run your wet finger along the bead to press the caulk into the seam and smooth out the caulk. Wipe off the excess caulk from your finger on your paper towel and then wipe up the excess caulk from the tile and tub. Repeat until all seams have been caulked.
Once you are done caulking, don’t go and jump into the shower right away, you should let the caulk cure for 1 day or 24 hours.
Happy Caulking everyone!