Using Caulk

Caulk is used to seal joints between two surfaces.  It may be used indoors or outdoors between almost any surfaces.  There are many different types of caulk, so check the tube for usage instructions to ensure you are using the right kind.

Items needed:
Caulk gun
Nail or wire
Utility knife

Safety Suggestions and Tips
Use correct type of caulk
Place large nail in tube after use
Remove any previous or loose caulk
Level of difficulty

Time Required:
   1 hours


Select correct caulk

Step 1:

There are a lot of caulks available.  If you want some help, General Electric and DAP have great web pages that will help you pick the right caulk.
You should try to caulk when the temperature is above 45 degrees and the humidity is low. In general, Latex and Acrylic caulk will take paint and silicone caulk will not.   There are blends of both kinds that are paintable.  Check the label.
If you are using 100% silicone caulk on a painted surface, make sure that you have painted the surface first.  Pure Silicone caulk lasts forever but does not take paint.  Then use either a clear or appropriately colored caulk.

Cut nozzle tip on angle

Step 2:

Make sure that the area you want to caulk is clean of any debris.  Take the tube of caulk and, using a utility knife (held at a 45 degree angle) cut the end from the tapered nozzle.

Break the internal seal

Step 3:

The farther away from the end of the nozzle you cut, the bigger the bead of caulk that will be available.   After you cut the nozzle, take a wire or nail and pierce the foil at the bottom of the nozzle.

Handle up to engage

Step 4:

Turn the handle on the caulk gun so that it faces up.  Pull the handle all the way back and put the tube of caulk in the gun. 

Handle down to release pressure

Step 5:

Turn the handle down and push the handle until it stops against the end of the tube.

Pushing caulk up

Step 6:

There are two ways to caulk. You can "push" the bead of caulk ahead of the nozzle.

Pulling caulk down

Step 7:

you can "pull" the bead behind the nozzle. I prefer to pull the bead as you tend not to drag the nozzle through the caulk. Using the method you prefer, apply the caulk sparingly to the joints to be sealed.

Maintain constant pressure

Step 8:

Use constant pressure on the trigger to ensure an even flow of caulk. Seal the entire length. When you are done, make sure that you turn the handle up so that the pressure on the tube is released.

Smooth the bead

Step 9:

Using your finger or a wet spoon, simultaneously smooth the bead of caulk and force it into the joint. Again, use the caulk sparingly as it is easier to add more caulk than it is to clean up too much.