Knowing how to apply caulk is an essential task that every builder must understand. However, caulking has many limitations that need to be understood to produce a nice looking aesthetic surface. This flexible material is essential to provide a transition between two or more construction materials adjacent one to another when movement is expected.
Caulk is applied in areas where the joint is not perfectly sealed and to reduce air or water transition, and it is the recommended method to fill cracks or joints up to 1/2 inch wide. Caulk can also be used on wider joints but must be accompanied by other elastomeric products to fill in the joint. While a common maintenance task, caulking takes some skill and an understanding of which type to use. Read on to learn how to use a caulk gun, how to remove caulk and the best tools to assist application and removal. Check out Hitch Property Constructions for a huge range of Melbourne caulking services
On the surface, caulking seems the simplest of homeowner projects, but anyone who has ever sealed around a bathtub knows it’s easy for this type of job to turn into a real mess. It takes practice to lay down a perfect bead of caulk. That’s why tradespeople who do it daily, like tile setters and painters, are so good at it.
Caulking also requires the knowledge to select the right caulk for the job. There are dozens of dissimilar materials such as tile, wood and vinyl that require bonding and/or gap-filling around your home, and no one single product works everywhere. But help is on the way. We’ll show you how to buy the right caulk and how to lay down that elusive perfect bead.
How to Choose Caulk
Caulk is used to creating a waterproof or insulating seal between building materials. Examples, where caulk is used to fill a gap, include: between a tub and tile, countertop and backsplash, or window and frame. Although applications may seem similar, the key to a successful seal is to make sure you use the correct caulk for the job.
Even though there are now more different types of caulk and sealant available than ever before, it’s actually easier to find the right product. In a welcome change, many manufacturers use large, job-specific labels on cartridges and tubes. You don’t have to read the fine print to learn about recommended uses. But it’s still important to understand which basic type of caulk is being offered. Hitch Property Constructions has a wide range of caulking services
For one thing, chemistry has an impact on the broad price range you’ll see in the caulk aisle: A 10-oz. cartridge costs from $1 to $7.50 or more. Chemical content also determines some important general characteristics, such as how easily caulk joints can be shaped, or tooled, whether a caulk can be painted and how durable it is.
New caulks are always hitting the market, so knowing something about their chemistry can signal how big an advancement a new product really is. For example, the downside of silicone caulk is that you can’t paint it. But DAP’s Paintable Silicone Sealant is a true water-based silicone caulk that can be painted. It’s also easy to work and odourless. And instead of using mineral spirits to clean it up, you can use soap and water. Here’s a look at the four types of caulk.
Types of Caulk
Latex caulk is usually used on the interior of your home to fill gaps between walls, ceilings, trim, windows, and doors because it adheres to wood and drywall well. Latex caulk is often referred to as “painters caulk” or “acrylic caulk” because it can be painted to match wherever you are using it. It guards against water penetration but is known to shrink and distort over time. Latex caulk is easy to use and cleans up well. In fact, it’s easier to remove when it needs to be replaced than other types of caulk.
Silicone caulk is the best waterproof barrier against moisture and is mostly used around showers, tubs, sinks, and toilets. It is also good outdoors for protecting your home from water, moisture, and other weather elements. Unlike latex, silicone is stickier, making it harder to install and clean up, and paint does not stick to this type of caulk. Silicone is very flexible, making it hard to crack or distort. It adheres to metal, ceramic, glass, and plastic surfaces. If done the first time properly, silicone caulk can last up to 30 years.
Polyurethane caulk is considered the superior caulk to both silicone and latex because it’s super durable, tear-resistant, waterproof, flexible, and able to be painted or stained. Because of its superior ability to adhere to almost any type of surface, polyurethane caulk can be expensive. The only drawback is it’s not as easy to clean because of its sticky, putty-like consistency and requires a cleaning solvent.
Tips When Applying Caulk
Caulk is usually divided into the paintable or non-paintable caulk. Caulk regularly used around the home and around windows and door joints is paintable caulk and it can be painted after it has been dried. Non-paintable caulk is usually composed of silicone, which prevents the paint from adhering to its surface. Caulk products today, when properly applied, could last over 20 years if maintained properly.
- Use caulk for joints or cracks up to ½ inch wide.
- Do not apply caulk over dust. It works best when it is applied to painted surfaces. It is recommended to apply a primer coat before caulking.
- When applying caulk over wood surfaces, make sure to paint the wood surface first.
- Do not cut the tip of the caulk tube to produce a large hole, it will reduce the amount of caulk flowing out of the tube.
- If the joint or crack is less than ¼ inch, try to widen it using a putty knife.
- Applying caulk with a gun should be done slowly while moving the gun at the same rate.
- Clean the spout and your hands using a damp cloth, this should keep you mess-free. A wet caulk-smoothing tool can also be used within two to five minutes of application.
- Caulk applied around mouldings should be sufficient enough to fill the crack only. Use enough pressure with the tip of your fingers to shape it into a clean corner joint. Round joints are harder to paint.
- Tubs, lavatories, sinks, bidets, and shower should be clean and dry before caulking. Do not apply caulk over mould, wet, or if mildew is present in previous caulk. If the caulk is applied over wet surfaces, it will not adhere properly.
- Swab the joint with rubbing alcohol to remove soap scum, body oils, and another residue. Rubbing alcohol dries quickly and leaves the surfaces impeccably clean, so the new caulking will adhere well.
- It is recommended to caulk the bathtub when it is filled with water. The water weight will produce strains over the surface, creating the largest possible joints between the wall and the bathtub.
- When a near finish is required, the low-tack tape should be used over sensitive or already finished surfaces. Allow the caulk to dry before removing the tape. Do not apply caulking in excess.
- Caulking can and will shrink as it dries. Sometimes a second layer of caulk is required and will produce a neater surface instead of overfilling a crack with caulk.
- If caulking is to be applied over existing and previous sealed joints, removing old caulk is essential and need to be done carefully. A wire brush is recommended the caulk will be removed from concrete and masonry surfaces.
- To clean the area around the caulk, use mineral spirits for silicone caulk, and soap and water for acrylic.
Steps On How To Caulk A Shower
There’s nothing quite like a steamy shower to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit after a good night’s sleep or a long, hard day. But when the caulk around your enclosure begins to crack and crumble, it’s not you that needs reviving it’s your shower. Replacing the caulk around your tub, tiles, shower door, and drain is a relatively simple do-it-yourself fix that takes only a few hours from start to finish. Read on to learn how to caulk a shower and create a good, tight seal. Check out our Melbourne caulking services here.
A quality caulking job begins with a quality product. There are two primary types of caulk you can choose from silicone and latex. While silicone forms the stronger seal, latex is easier to work with, especially if you’re a beginner. Many DIYers compromise by choosing a sealant like DAP Kwik Seal Plus (view on Amazon), which employs both silicone and latex in its formulation, delivering the best of both worlds.
Important: Before purchasing caulk for your project, double-check the label to make sure that the product has been designated for use in kitchens and baths. These formulas contain special inhibitors that protect against mould and mildew—a quality that’s certainly necessary when you set out to caulk a shower.
Before you apply the new caulk, be sure to remove any leftovers from the last job. Otherwise, your fresh bead won’t bond well. Using a utility knife or oscillating tool, cut through the strips of old caulk. Scrape off as much as possible, and then apply a specialized remover to any stubborn spots. If you discover any mould in your path, eradicate it with a commercial cleaner or a homemade solution of one part bleach to two parts water. Once the old caulk has been removed, wipe down the area and allow it to dry thoroughly before moving on; caulk won’t adhere to a wet surface.
While you can apply caulk by simply squeezing it out from the tube, it’s best to invest in a quality caulk gun. This will let you better manage the flow and will, as a result, produce more accurate results. Since these are relatively unsophisticated tools, even the industry’s best typically don’t cost much. For example, many pros who caulk for a living swear by Cox caulk guns (view example on Amazon)—a durable, high-performance tool that typically retails for under $30.
With any caulking gun worth its salt, however, you get a sturdy plunging mechanism that allows for precise and even distribution of caulk, and you get a pressure release that lets you quickly pause or stop the application. When loading your chosen caulk gun, just remember not cut off too much of the tip from the caulk tube. A wide opening will yield a thick beard, which may lead to sloppy results. Cut the tip just above the indentation point that is usually marked on the tube.
Painter’s tape makes a great guide to ensure a clean bead. Use long strips of tape to mask off the surface on either side of the line where you’ll be applying your bead of caulk, whether that’s along the wall, shower door, or tub. To start the bead, apply pressure to the caulk gun or tube and either pull the gun away from your starting point or, holding the gun at a 90-degree angle, push the caulk in a forward motion. There is no true right or wrong technique, so choose the approach that works best for you and proceed accordingly.
Once the gap is full, wet your finger and wipe along the line to remove the excess caulk and create a smooth, rounded bead. Peel off the painter’s tape while the caulk is still wet, and then continue on to the next section to be caulked.
When you’re done, allow the caulk to cure for at least 24 hours before returning to regular use of the shower. A thorough caulking job should last at least a year—which means you have around 365 more chances to belt out your favourite show tune before you’ll have to repeat the process and caulk the shower again.