How can I apply silicone caulking

Okay, this sounds silly but I can never get the silicone to look as perfect as I see it when contractors have done it. How do you get this stuff to look like a perfect smooth application?
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Put a bead in with the caulk gun/tube then wet your finger and smooth it with your index finger. Stop often and wipe off the excess and rewet your finger. As long as the finger is wet, it won't stick and be messy.
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louie wrote:

That is said often here, but it isn't true for me. I don't have a clue how to get it smooth, but my finger, wet or dry, stick immediately to silicone and pulls it.
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George E. Cawthon wrote:

A couple of drops of liquid soap in the water helps tremendously. Another trick is to lay down the bead as neatly as possible, then spritz the bead and immediately adjoining surfaces with a spray bottle (same soap in water solution), then wipe down the bead with a wet finger. The spritz will keep the silicone from sticking to the wet surfaces.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

haven't tried it. Pure water doesn't seem to work for me. Since I have a shower enclosure to redo, I guess I will have to make a corner out of something and try different techniques, especially the one you suggested.
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Use masking tape to define the edges of the bead of caulk.
Use a wet finger to smooth out the bead.
Let it dry overnight.
Cut along the edges of the tape with a razor blade so that when you pull the tape off it will not pull out the caulk.

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barbarow wrote:

I take off the tape right away, so there isn't a raised edge on the caulk. Cut the tip to the size defined by the tape, then smoosh it with finger to fit the taped line. Pull off the tape, let dry. Don't forget to make sure the surface is absolutely clean and free of dust and soap scum. On tub/tile, wipe with straight bleach and let dry prior to caulking.

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This sounds facetious, but practivce and more practice. The wet finger + masking tape helps. Mostly, put on a far smaller bead than you originally think you should. The primary cause of mess is putting on too much.
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nsf wrote:

Put masking tape close to both sides of the seam, use your finger to form/smooth as louie explained, then immediately remove the tape. The goal is to place the tape and smooth the caulk so that the cove formed by the caulk feathers out to nil at the tape edge.
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i've always used my finger. i saw this on late night tv,and decide to get one soon. anyone try it yet?
http://www.asseenontvnetwork.com/proseal/?cid 6471

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Use a good latex caulk. "Alex" is one IIRC. Also 35 year warranty IIRC.
All the tips about using a finger are perfect for latex caulk. You make a bigger mess with pure silicone unless your finger is really wet. No, you still make a big mess. Use latex and you will be fine.
Most applications do not need silicone anyway. Where are you caulking? Kitchens, baths, windows, doors, etc. are all good candidates for a good latex caulk.
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No wrote:

the wet finger, just to form the caulk to level with the tape, and take the tape off right away.
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Siliconized Acrylic Caulk would be the better happy medium. Latex wouldn't last in a bathroom.
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