Caulking seems like one of the easier jobs on any build or reno. That’s why it’s often rushed and incorrectly applied, leaving your brand new reno or build exposed to water and leaks. Here are a few tips from the pros to ensure you caulk it right the first time.
Choose the Right Caulk for the Job
Advancements in building materials provide a specialist caulk for every job. Knowing which one to choose for the job at hand does take some research. Take time to read the literature that manufacturers provide. Research now will save you a ton of time and expensive callbacks down the line.
Know at what temperature you can apply the caulk, how long it takes to dry, how long to wait before painting over it, what solvent to use to clean up and which caulk gun works best. Include these notes into your training manuals so your crew has access to this information as well.
Choose the Right Tools
It’s not impossible to get a good result using a cheap caulking gun, but it does make it so much harder. A good quality caulking gun will help you get a neater, better result in less time. Better quality guns will allow you to apply the more viscous caulks with ease. Latex and silicone caulks are less viscous and are easier to squeeze out, while Polyurethanes and butyl caulks are stiffer. For the latter, use a caulking gun with a higher thrust ratio.
To get an even, smooth finish on the caulk, use a ‘tool’ rather than your finger. The purpose of this is to set the bead properly into the joint. You can use anything here with a smooth, curved edge like a plastic spoon or a spatula.
Dried caulk can form a plug. A screw is the perfect way to clean the tip before you caulk.
Getting an even bead takes practice. Practicing will help you to find the right angle at which to hold the gun and whether pushing or pulling along the joint works best for you.
Cut the tip off straight rather than at an angle for a smoother result.