I'm planning on caulking a shower stall and toilet. Every time I've
done this in the past, I've gotten a really sloppy mess that looks as
far-removed from a "pro" job as you could ask.
For the job, I bought some "Dap" brand caulk. It comes in a big tube,
kind of like an overgrown toothpaste tube. In the past, I've seen this
product sold with a funny-looking cap that can be used to press the
caulk into place and make a smooth finish, but the tube I bought didn't
So any tips on doing a good job, I'd appreciate: how thick of a line of
caulk should I squeeze out... what to press/finish the caulk with (a
teaspoon maybe???)... how to best clean up the excess... that kind of
Go slow. Go steady. And I've found that contrary to what seems logical, I
'push' the tube forward rather than dragging it backwards - sort of the
opposite way you put the toothpaste in the toothbrush.
Cut the end of your tube at a slant, and not too much. "guess what you
think is right and then back it off a little to make the opening a little
Some people will than use a wet finger to smooth out the bead. Sometimes I
do, sometimes I don't. Depends on the finish look I'm after.
Finally, they do make the little tool you mention that can be bought
separately for a couple bucks. I've had one but didn't get much better
finish than without it.
This is the first poster who actually knows how professionals caulk! You never pull
tube towards you, the caulk lays on the surface when you do that. You PUSH it away
forces it into the crack.
Now, here are some other issues you must do first. If it is an existing job you must
the surface completely, then clean off the soap etc. THEN MIX SOME BLEACH WITH WATER,
about a shot glass to a quart of water and spray everything your going to caulk. Ever
caulked bathtubs that have four pounds of caulk on them and the caulk comes off in one
piece? That's because their was bacterial behind the caulk that actually ate under the
caulk and it could not longer stick to the surface. Spray the surface and let it
COMPLETELY dry. Then caulk using a silicon approved for showers. These approved caulks
have a fungicide in it.
Also, get a gun that has a trigger RELEASE, this type of gun is about $2 more and
does is this. When you release the trigger the plunger actually backs out of the tube
about 1/4inch. This stops the caulk from coming out of the nozzle after you released
Lastly, if you practice on two scrap boards that are nailed into a corner
you will get the nozzle cut and technique just right. When this is done you won't
rub off any excess, the nozzle will make a perfect and beautiful seam. This is how the
pro's do it. You don't see them using their finger to remove the excess on countertops
etc, that never looks good.
Try this method when you set toilets and they will never have an odor.
BTW, some caulks are more watery than others, stay clear of them, their impossible to
with. Price sometimes does matter.
In general as long as it's not contaminated (by soap scum, for
example) you can apply more of the same type of caulk. You can apply
silicone over silicone but you can't successfully apply latex over
silicone (won't stick). Keep with exactly the same product and it
The usual mistake is to apply too thick a bead -- be skimpy about how much
you put on, since it's trivial to go back and add a bit more. As far as
smoothing, I use my finger, kept wet by dipping it in a cup of water. Lots
of paper towels at hand to wipe off my finger when it gets "loaded". You
may want to use disposable gloves to protect your skin.
Thanks for the tips. I started the job and after doing a crummy job
with the first seam, I got some masking tape and masked off the
remaining seams. What a difference!
Next question. I let the caulk cure for about 45 minutes, then pulled
masking tape off the first seam I'd done. It wound up pulling up a lot
of the caulk out of the seam. I fixed this by resmoothing that caulk
with a wet finger, and because so little caulk was left in the seam,
everything looked great again. But when should I pull up masking tape?
Immediately after caulking, or when the caulk has set and hardened?
My thinking had been that if I waited for the caulk to fully set, I'd
take the "wanted" caulk up when I pulled up the masking tape.
Don't let it cure or set. Pull it up immediately you have finished
tooling the bead. If it's pulling caulk out of the seam you're putting
the tape too close to the crack--you still have to allow some adhesion
on the edges--or you're letting the caulk cure too long.
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