Caulk is a finishing material with excellent sealing properties. It is used for sealing cracks and gaps on the interior and exterior surfaces of your home. There are different types of caulking materials that are available. Silicone caulk is the most widely used caulk as it has multipurpose uses. It bonds well with a wide range of materials like metal, glass, wood, and ceramic. Acrylic latex caulk is available in a wide range of colors. Butyl rubber caulk is highly durable and is suitable for hard surfaces like concrete. One has to select the right type of caulk as per their requirements. No matter what type you select, the basic tips for its application are the same.
Basic Tips for Caulking
If done properly, caulking should last for several years. If not, several problems may arise over the years and turn into recurrent ones. That is why it is important to follow certain tips. These have been listed below.
- Read the label carefully before using the product--this will ensure the correct application of the same.
- If there is old existing material in the area on which you're going to work, then you must remove that completely with the help of a utility knife. After removing the old caulk, the area should be cleaned and dried thoroughly.
- Get a good quality caulking gun. Those of you who have not used one before must practice holding the tool in different angles so that you get an idea of how it moves and works. If you are working on a small area, then there is no need to use a gun. In this case, a squeezing tube of caulk is a better option.
- Next, cut the tube by making an opening that is not more than one-fourth of an inch. If it becomes larger than that, you may end up overusing the product. While cutting the tube make the opening at a 45 degree angle. This will help you to place the tube into the gun properly.
- Start applying the caulk in an area which is not easily visible. This is done such that if you initially make any mistake, it cannot be seen. Press the trigger of the gun gently so that the material is applied evenly on the surface. Then smooth out the beads before its top layer hardens. You can use a smoother for this purpose, or else, a paint stick can also serve the same purpose.
- To keep the line of beads neat and straight, you can use a masking tape on both sides of the area where you want to apply the same. After application, remove the tapes.
- When the material dries, it tends to shrink. Therefore, if you want to paint the newly caulked surface, you must wait till it cures thoroughly. Otherwise, the applied paint will crack because it cannot stretch.
Since the shower area is exposed to a lot of moisture, you must take some extra care so that the gaps are sealed properly. A few helpful tips are as follows:
- Before caulking the bathtub, faucets, sink, etc. make those areas free of moisture, soap scum, mold, and mildew. Use a bathroom cleaner to clean the dirt, debris, and mold. Then apply rubbing alcohol to eliminate traces of moisture.
- There are special types of caulk available that can fight off mold and mildew growth. You should select such materials for the shower area.
- While caulking a tub, apply the material along the gap in one single motion without stopping in between. This will ensure a uniform flow of beads along the entire seam.
- After the application of the same, do not use the shower area for at least 24 hours. A latex caulk will take 3 days to cure completely.