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How To Caulk Like A Home Renovation Expert

by Clare Kaufman
Repair-Home Columnist

Caulk may be second only to duct tape as the most versatile DIY helper. It repairs, seals and protects, and even decorates. But it can be hard to get a smooth, consistent finish. Here's how to caulk like a home renovation expert.

An Interior Renovation Essential

In interior renovation projects, caulk is typically used as a sealant for kitchen and bathroom fixtures or drafty windows and doors. For these applications, you'll be using one of three different types of caulk:

  • Silicone Caulk is the all-purpose caulk, appropriate for all sorts of non-porous surfaces, from plastic to metal. There is a special mildew-resistant kitchen and bath caulk.
  • Acrylic Latex is the best choice for windows and doors, and the easiest to apply.
  • Butyl Rubber is the most durable caulk, typically used to seal metal or to fill cracks in concrete or brick.

Getting the Perfect Bead

To get that smooth finish, take the time to prepare your materials and clean the joint surface before squeezing that caulk gun. First, cut the applicator tip to a 45-degree angle. This angled tip is the key to shaping the bead and applying the right pressure to the surface. The hole in the applicator tip should be approximately 1/8" in diameter, or a little smaller than the crack to be filled. Hold the gun at a 45-degree angle matching the angle of the tip, and you're ready to go.

Home renovation experts disagree on how to apply the perfect bead. Here are the two methods:

  • "Pull": With the gun angled toward the bead, pull a steady stream of caulk along the crack.
  • "Push": With the gun angled away from the bead, gently push forward with the angle of the gun.

Keep it Steady

Like most interior renovation projects, caulking requires a steady hand. To achieve a flawless finish, you need to maintain a consistent angle, speed of application, and pressure within the caulk tube. If your bead looks a little lumpy, don't despair--use a caulk smoother (or a wet finger) to even it out.

And that's how to caulk an interior renovation project, start to finish. Follow these instructions, and even the novice can produce an expert seal.

"What are the Different Types of Caulk?" WiseGeek

About the Author
Clare Kaufman works as a writer and editor for an online media company. She has completed a graduate degree in English.