Every house has some gaps or cracks somewhere in its construction. It's through these gaps that air, water, and insects can enter your home. To close these gaps, you will likely need to caulk around doors, gutters, pipes, plumbing, windows, and wherever there's a break or gap in siding on the exterior of the house. There are many types of caulk available, like thisProfessional Grade Silicone Sealant or ourPremium Industrial Silicone Sealant, which is available in multiple colors. Read on to learn all about caulking and when you should invest in it.
Prepping the Area to Be Caulked
First, you'll want to remove any old or existing caulk, using a utility knife or a caulk removal tool. Be sure to dislodge and remove any old caulk in the joint or gap you need to fill. Take care to ensure that the surface you intend to apply new caulking to is free of old caulk, any loose or peeling paint, debris like dirt or rust, and any mold or moisture.
You want to be sure you have a clean surface to ensure the new sealant will bond well. It's best to use a wire brush. For especially tricky application areas, you may want to consider using some sort of caulk-removing solution to ensure a clean surface. For indoor projects, you may wish to wipe down the area you'll be caulking with rubbing alcohol. Lastly, if needed, apply touch-up paint to any weathered or damaged areas. If you're tackling an indoor project, apply painter's tape around the areas you're caulking to ensure cleaner caulk lines.
How to Load a Caulk Gun
Caulk guns come in different styles, depending on the needs of the job. For basic light-duty use, thisBlue Caulk Gun is a good sturdy caulking gun at a fantastic economy price. For larger jobs or more heavy duty caulking jobs, you might want to consider something like aprofessional quality caulking gun, which will stand up to the heaviest use.
When loading the caulk gun, you'll want to first press the release at the rear of the gun with your thumb, which will release pressure on the plunger. Then, pull the plunger all the way back. Position the tube of caulk in the gun with the nozzle facing front, and push the plunger tightly into the back of the tube. Once that's done, remove your thumb from the rear release, and the caulk gun is loaded.
You'll next want to cut the tip of the caulk cartridge so the hole in the nozzle matches the approximate size of the gap that needs to be filled. For a smaller size bead, cut close to the tip of the nozzle, and for larger beads, cut further back. Once that's done, pierce the inner seal by pushing a nail, awl, or other sharp instrument through the opening in the nozzle. It's best to then test the size of the bead on a rag or paper towel to be sure it's of the appropriate size.
Applying the Caulk
You'll want to pull the caulk gun along the gap or joint to be filled, rather than push it. Pushing the caulk can result in a messy, uneven bead. Hold the caulk gun at a forty-five-degree angle to the gap being filled, and apply firm and steady pressure to the trigger of the caulk gun. When you reach the end of a seam or gap, release the trigger and pull the rod behind the caulk cartridge back to release any pressure. Bear in mind that some clear-drying caulk will appear white when first being applied, but during the curing process will clear up.
Next, you'll want to "tool" the newly applied caulk by passing a caulk finishing tool over the entire bead of new caulk to smooth it and force it into any gaps in the area you've just applied the caulk. If you don't have access to a finishing tool, you can use a spoon or other smooth tool, or a gloved finger dipped in rubbing alcohol or water. You'll want to be sure to tool the caulk and remove any painter's tape before the caulk begins to cure. For best results, pull tape carefully at a forty-five-degree angle. Clean up any excess caulk, overruns, or mistakes with a rag or paper towel.
Different Types of Caulk
If you're tackling a caulking job in a crawlspace or other area with a larger gap that needs to be filled, consider using a product like thisExpanding Foam Sealant. For caulking jobs involving an automobile, boat, or other vehicle, something like our different types ofAutomotive Silicone Sealant is best.
Storing Partially Used Caulk
The best way to be sure your caulk doesn't dry out between uses is to use a caulk tube stopper, but if you don't have a stopper, the next best thing is to place a nail about two to two-and-a-half inches into the nozzle of the caulk tube, and wrap the nail and nozzle tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
For more high-quality caulk and caulk guns, visit us at Silicone Depot today!