Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Caulking 101

I recently finished caulking around our kitchen counters, and now I'm in the middle of caulking some baseboards. While I am certainly not a pro at caulking, I thought I'd share what I do know and hopefully provide some helpful tips.

Materials needed:
  • Caulk. There are several different kinds of caulk. For example, some are specific for kitchens and bathrooms. Some are paintable, some aren't. There are tinted, clear, and white variants. If you're not sure what kind you need, usually the sales people at hardware stores can help point you in the right direction.
  • Caulk Gun. You may not need this if you are doing a smaller project, in which case you can just buy a small tube.
  • Old rag/paper towels
  • Bowl of water
1) Make sure your surface is clean and dry.

2) Cut the tip at a 45 degree angle. I recommend initially cutting close to the tip as the further down you cut the larger the hole will be. You can always cut it more later if needed.

3) Puncture seal. If using caulk that comes in a cardboard tube, you'll most likely need to break a second seal at the base of the spout. Insert a nail through the spout to puncture the seal. Many caulking guns come with a puncturing device to do this as well. Plastic tubes usually don't have a second, inner seal. Mine was a plastic tube so I didn't have to worry about that.

4) Apply caulk. This is probably obvious, but be sure to have the beveled/cut side of the tip facing down as you apply the caulk. This not only allows you to better control the direction of flow, but also it helps smooth out the caulk as you go.  Squeeze the caulk gun creating an even line of caulk. Important tip: Once you are finished squeezing, press the release trigger. Otherwise the caulk will continue to ooze from the tip making a big mess. Not that I know from experience. Hahaha.

5) Smooth caulk. Run your finger across the bead, smoothing and pressing the caulk into the crack as well as removing any access. You'll also see where you might need to apply more caulk. I know there are tools that you can buy to use instead, but my fingers have worked just fine. Clean off your finger frequently as the cleaner your finger is the easier it is to keep a smooth line.

Here it is all finished. Much better.

Once you are finished or if you need to take breaks in between your project, you can place a nail inside the hole to prevent it from drying out. However if you wait too long between projects, the nail will discolor the caulk in the tip. This won't matter if you are planning on painting over the caulk but otherwise you'll want to squeeze out the discolored portion before starting your next project. This is a life saver as I usually have many interruptions with my two kiddos; what should take a couple of hours sometimes turns into a couple of days.


  1. thanks for your help. I am almost done caulking. Now I need to touch up with paint. Never ending...

    1. I know exactly what you mean by never ending. But your entry looks was worth it right?

  2. Great tips! Keep 'em coming, Kristi! Always appreciate your helpful hints, tips and fab ideas!

    1. Hi Sandy,

      Thanks, you're so sweet!! I love getting comments like this. Helps keep me motivated. :)

  3. This are realy good tips!

  4. Kristi-

    I don't think you actually know how amazing you are. Amazing at all the DIY stuff, but even more amazing as just a beautiful friend. I really think that, and think alot of you.

  5. Awe...Ash, you are the best! That means a lot to me. Thanks you so much! Of course the feelings are mutual. :)

  6. There is a spiral screw in tip that will keep your caulk fresh "forever". It's called "Caulk Saver" Can also be found, I believe, @ Ace Hardware & Lowe's. Great little gadget!

  7. Really?? That is so awesome, I'll definitely go get one!! Thanks for sharing!