How to properly apply caulk

The use of caulking to seal areas around doors and windows, eaves and other joints is an important part of building maintenance. Before painting, surfaces should be pressure washed and inspected. Areas where water could penetrate should be filled with the appropriate caulk. This applies to areas where water could enter from the outside as well as places where sinks, toilets and showers could leak into walls and baseboards. Even a small amount of water over time can cause thousands of dollars in structural damage.

5 simple tips for proper caulking

1. Assess the job.¬†You’ll be surprised how much material you’ll use. It can fill in behind gaps in siding and around older windows. This is good. While you want a nice finished bead which can be painted, you also want to fill in those gaps. Not only does it prevent water from reaching the interior of your home or pooling and rotting wood, it also helps with heating and cooling. Get plenty of caulking as unused tubes can be returned easily.

2. Get the right material. If you are unsure feel free to call us or go by the paint department at your local hardware store. Depending on the job you’ll want to decide between clear or solid colored and you should know if you’ll be painting over it or not. Also different brands are rated for interior or exterior use as well as for set periods of time and warranty. Many times clear caulk is used in kitchens in bathrooms but it can be a matter of preference or your planned final finish.

3. Prep. Ideally you should have already pressure washed your building allowing plenty of time to dry. This removes dirt, dust and other debris from the cracks to be filled. If you are caulking on the interior of your home for example around a sink or baseboard you’ll want to make sure the surfaces are clean and free from water and drywall dust.

4. Finish. There are a variety of tools out there to help you with a nice caulking bead as you caulk. One of the most important things you can do is to cut a a 45 degree angle on the tip of the caulking tube. Cut off just the tip so that you have the right size bead of material for the application you are using it for. After applying in one smooth motion have a damp rag and your finger and smooth and wipe the bead.

5. Paint. Not all caulking can be painted. But most latex/acrylic products can easily be painted (see label for details). Some interior caulk can be painted as soon as 20 minutes after application.

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