How to Caulk Anything – Give Old, Grimy Surfaces an Instant Face Lift by Adding the Perfect Bead

Caulking isn’t exactly on anyone’s top ten list of favorite things to do. Most people don’t even think to do it. However, it’s very simple and it can bring a new life to all of your surfaces.

But, for that to happen, you have to do it perfectly.

You want to have the perfect information and skills to do it so your surfaces can look amazing again. If you do it the wrong way, you will just have to repeat the entire process and no one wants to do that.

If you are a beginner and you have never caulked before, then you need a crash course on the subject to help you get things done the right way the first time around.

Why Caulk?

It’s a very simple thing.

When you do the caulking, you keep the outdoors influence outside and keep the indoors influence inside.

Every home has some air leaks which is similar to having a window open at all times. This is wasting your money and ruining your comfort. If you want to save some money, time and avoid any future problems, you should definitely caulk.

Plus, when you follow our guidelines, it will be really simple and straightforward.

How To Caulk

Now that you know why you want to caulk and some basics about it, you need to know how to actually do it.

Step #1: Mind The Weather

It’s very important to understand how weather affects the environment and your surfaces.

Here are some tips:

The size of your joints at the time of caulking can increase with the weather, especially in extreme temperatures – just like your joints swell, the joints on your surfaces will too

The weather also affects the components on your surfaces and joints – in some temperatures, especially heat, there’s more dust, pollen and dew

The weather will affect the ability of caulk to adhere to your surfaces

It can also affect the ability of caulk to cure and develop its physical properties – it can’t cure in freezing weather or in hot temperatures, any extremes really

Caulk in ideal weather for caulking which means 40 degrees Fahrenheit and rising as well as 90 degrees Fahrenheit and falling. This means the surface temperature too.

Allow surfaces to completely dry from rain or snow before you caulk. If it’s wet, your caulk will have a much harder time adhering and curing. Avoid caulking if you know that it’s going to rain or snow in the immediate future. If you have to caulk, you should cover the surface to prevent wetness getting to your surfaces.

Step #2: Prepare your Surface

It’s very important that you prepare the surface properly. Your joints need to be ready too if you want to do a professional caulking job and make it last for a very long time.

Remove all of the old caulk using a putty knife or similar tools. This way, you will remove all of the old caulk that’s stuck in the joints. You can use a heat gun to make the old caulk softer and easier to remove. The paint will loosen too.

Clean your surfaces. Make sure that it’s completely clean of all of the old caulk, paint, gray wood fibers, oil, grease, pollen, wax, dirt, rust, soap scum, mildew, mold, and so on. Use a wire brush and a drill wire wheel to clean the space. Use a grease cutting cleaner as well and after that, rinse and vacuum everything. Even the best caulk won’t stick to a dirty or wet surface. If you use chemical cleaners, you should also rinse these off because they prevent proper adhesion.

Use a primer if you want to – they are optional but they provide a lot of help, especially for joints which suffer from a lot of stress. Primers will allow for better adhesion and make the caulking job even more long lasting.

Step #3: Apply the Caulk 

Just running down your joints with a caulking gun quickly won’t help much. You need to apply caulk properly. Cut the nozzle to fit the right size of the bead. There are markings on every cartridge nozzle and they create different bead sizes. Cut the nozzle at an appropriate angle where the mark for the bead size you need is. Then puncture the seal if it exists and place it in a gun. This is the beginning of the process.

Do a few test runs on scarp cardboard or on old paper just to try it out before you get to the caulking. This will give you a better feeling of what you need to do and what the caulk is like. This will also help you avoid any bumps and other elements from pulling the trigger too much.

When you feel confident, you can start applying the caulk. Start the first caulk line in an area that’s less visible, just in case you haven’t practiced enough and you make a mistake.

Hold the nozzle in a parallel line to the joint and apply a ⅔ foot bead don’t do any more at the moment because you will need some time to make it smooth before it starts to become dry. When you get to those areas where the caulk is really visible, you will have practiced enough so it looks good and you can do more. You will create great results. If you mess it up, you will need to scrape the bead the right way and wipe down the surface. Then you can start over.

Then you should glide over the caulk to make it smooth and neat, as well as make it adhere to the joints and surfaces better. This is a necessary step if you want your caulking job to last long and look great. You can do it with your finger, with a spoon, with a beading tool or any other tool necessary. However, you need to make sure that you aren’t scraping away too much of the caulk when you tool. It will waste a lot of material and it won’t seal properly. Help water-based caulk with some water and soapy water if you are working with solvent-based caulk.

Any mess you make should be cleaned up right away because dry caulk is much harder to remove. Keep some rags handy so that you can wipe away any spil the moment it happens.

You can also use the blue tape for painting on the sides of your joints if you want to keep it clean but you need to make sure that you remove it immediately after you are done smoothing over the bead so that it can pull away easily and leave everything looking perfect.

Different Types Of Caulk

Now that you know how to caulk, you’ll probably run off to your local hardware store to get some caulk. However, what you see may confuse you – there are so many different kinds of caulk!

This can be confusing to a beginner, but a little clarification should help.

Here are some tips:

  • Get high-quality siliconized acrylic-latex caulk because it fits all of the interior and exterior spaces and you can use it most of the time. It’s easy to paint over and you can clean it up with water. In addition, it’s very cheap and it ends up looking great.
  • If you get a silicone caulk, you may be in for a surprise because you can’t paint over it and it will end up looking bad.
  • Use a silicone tub and tile caulk when you want to caulk something in the bathroom. This type is very resistant to mildew and it doesn’t shrink at all.
  • If you are filling gaps that are larger than ¼ inch or if joining materials that are not the same, you should use the urethane caulk, as it’s more elastic
  • If a joint is larger than ⅜ inch you need to pack that with foam backer rod before you can add the caulk. This will help it stay put and not crack later. This can go for all gaps wider than 1 inch.

Written by JustDIY


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