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Caulking around your bathtub, windows, doors, or other parts of your home seems like a simple and straightforward task. But as anyone who has tried it knows, it can get messy pretty fast. Maybe you use too much caulk, you have difficulty tooling it into place, or you selected the wrong caulk for the job to begin with. The best way to ensure tidy and effective caulking work is to call in a professional, but if you’re dedicated to DIY, our team at The Moulding Company in Santa Clara, CA, has compiled some advice to help you get started on professional-level caulking.
Choosing the right caulk
There are a wide range of caulks available for a variety of projects, including rubber caulks, latex caulks, silicone caulks, and polyurethane sealants. Silicone caulks are one of the most durable and versatile choices for a wide range of projects. These caulks are completely waterproof, stay flexible at all temperatures, and can adhere to a wide range of materials. This makes them great for tubs, showers, and more. Latex or acrylic caulks are the easiest to use and have the broadest range of applications. Siliconized acrylic caulk combines the best of both worlds with easy application and improved durability and adhesion from small amounts of silicon.
How to caulk like a pro
Before you even get started, you’ll need to make sure the conditions are right for caulking. If it’s cold outside or your caulk has been sitting out in the cold, you should warm up the caulk before opening it. This makes it easier to work with. Once it’s at the right temperature, it’s time to cut open the tube for application. This step can make the difference between a clean and easy caulking process and winding up with a mess on your hands. You should cut the tip of the tube at an angle of up to 45 degrees, being sure to cut it close enough to the tip to prevent a too-big stream of caulk, called the bead. You want the opening to be slightly smaller than the bead you apply.
Now you’re ready to get caulking. As you start, be sure to keep the caulking tube moving as you go so the bead is even. Take it in small chunks of a few feet at a time so you can be sure to get the caulking how you want it before moving on. If you’re unsure about your caulking skills, you can also apply masking tape on both sides of the joint to help keep your caulking contained.
Once you’ve applied the bead, it’s time to tool the caulk, which means smearing it into place. Use a caulking tool, plastic spoon, or your finger to run along the caulk, sealing it in the joint and providing a nice, clean finish.
If you need more tips and advice on how to properly caulk your home, our team at The Moulding Company in the San Francisco Bay Area can help. We carry siliconized acrylic caulks from GE designed for windows and doors. Let us help you achieve a seamless caulking finish!