The beginner's guide to caulking

March 11, 2015

Caulking seems easy enough, but one false move can leave you with a bumpy patch job instead of an inconspicuous cover-up. It's all in the technique. Here's what you need to know to conquer your first-ever caulk job and follow-ups. 

What you need to start
Finding the right tools is half the battle when it comes to do-it-yourself home repairs. Start on your caulking journey by picking up the following items from your local hardware store:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Masking tape
  • Caulk-removal tool
  • Caulk gun
  • Smoother.

You can also find a three-in-one tool at many hardware stores for under $5. If you find yourself frequently caulking, then it may be worth it to invest in a more expensive tool, which will cost anywhere between $15 to $25, according to Family Handy Man. Otherwise, the cheaper option is the way to go. 

Depending on the project, the masking tape is optional as well. Family Handy Man suggested using it to achieve perfection. Place a strip on each side of the caulking space. The purpose of the tape is to make your cleanup less of a headache. As the source explained, certain materials, like silicon can be tough to remove from the walls once you've finished caulking.

Once you have your tools, it's time to get down to business. Caulk Your Home offered up a helpful step-by-step guide on caulking. Put on your gloves to protect your skin prior to starting the project.

Caulking instructions
Using the caulk-removal tool and some warm water, dig out any old caulk and debris if the spot has already been patched up. Once you get the gunk out of there, you can add a fresh layer of caulk. Place the cartridge into the caulking gun, bring the nozzle to the hole and release the caulk into the hole. The source suggested applying the same amount of pressure as the caulk exits the gun. That means you should go nice and slow. You're almost done.

Dab your fingers over the caulk to pat it down. Then, run the smoother over the area to assure there aren't any bumps. That's all there is to it. Clean off your tools and place them in your tool box until next time. Throw away the gloves and wash your hands. 

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.