Calking question, how do you do it cleanly?

What's the proper way to do calking so that it only goes to where it suppose to go and nowhere else?
The few times I've tried it, it always gets outside of where I want to apply it to and wiping it off is a pain.
So how do the professionals do it?
I basically use a calk gun to apply a thin layer to where I want it, and then use my hand to smooth it out... But it just doesn't look good. Should I've used a tape like they do in painting?
Thanks.
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A long discussion about that began yesterday. Look for the subject heading "Abject Failure".

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As others have mentioned the angle of the cut on the tube is important, and how large the resulting hole is, but the trick that was told to me that seems to work well is to use a dirty finger to smooth out the stuff. if your have a little dirt or mud or generally dirty fingers they will do a better job of smoothing the caulk than clean or wet fingers.
you could dab a little caulk on a piece of cardboard, stick your finger in it and spread it around so the caulk sticks to your finger and gets into the grains in your skin, then use that finger to smooth the caulk that you lay down,
Dave

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-> What's the proper way to do calking so that it only goes to where it -> suppose to go and nowhere else? -> -> The few times I've tried it, it always gets outside of where I want to -> apply it to and wiping it off is a pain. -> -> So how do the professionals do it? -> -> I basically use a calk gun to apply a thin layer to where I want it, -> and then use my hand to smooth it out... But it just doesn't look -> good. Should I've used a tape like they do in painting?
Tape off the top and bottom (or left and right sides) with masking tape or painter's tape so that, when you remove the tape it leaves a smooth edge.
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turn your speakers on and go to http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=howTo&p=Improve/appcaulk.html&rn=RightNavFiles/rightNavPaint
practice makes perfect, don't expect to caulk well with no experience, but it does get easier

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The basic procedure is to apply a bead of caulk, smooth it into the joint with your finger, and wiping your finger clean frequently with lots of paper towels.
If your caulk claims "water cleanup", you can clean the joint up even better using a bucket of water and a sponge. Get the sponge wet in the bucket of water, and wring out the excess. Wipe the joint gently, in one direction only, with the wet sponge. Just make one pass then rinse the sponge well. Don't push too hard or you can wipe all the caulk out of the joint. Wipe, rinse, wipe, rinse, etc. till the joint is clean and uniform. Be sure to rinse the sponge well after each wipe, or you'll end up with a bigger mess than you started with. :) The first swipe will probably remove a fair amount of caulk, and each succeeding swipe should remove even less.
You'll end up with a very clean looking joint, and you can easily clean up any "accidents". If you wipe too much caulk out of the joint, just apply more and repeat the wiping again.
If you have a big area to do, it's best to work on small sections at a time. Otherwise, the caulk can start to "skin" over before you clean it up with the sponge. Apply caulk, smooth it with finger, clean joint with wet sponge, and move on to the next section.
Remember to refill the bucket with clean water when it starts to get dirty.
If you are using a silicone caulk, I don't think the wet sponge method will work. You can try the masking tape approach, but I've never had much luck with that. I usually just start with a real small bead and smooth it out. You can always add more and do it again, but it's a lot harder to get a clean joint if you apply too much caulk.
Also, if you can use a "clear" caulk in your situation, any mistakes will be a lot less visible. :)
Anthony
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Next time try to cut a 1/8 inch off the end of the tube and put your forefinger in front of the tube and pull back keeping your finger in front of the tube. You'll do a neater job and use less caulking.
On Tue, 18 Jan 2005 21:13:08 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@none.com wrote:

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