I'd like some simple tips on caulking please

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 include that.
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 stuff.
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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 smaller.
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.

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This is the first poster who actually knows how professionals caulk! You never pull the tube towards you, the caulk lays on the surface when you do that. You PUSH it away and it forces it into the crack.
Now, here are some other issues you must do first. If it is an existing job you must CLEAN 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 see 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 what it 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 the trigger.
Lastly, if you practice on two scrap boards that are nailed into a corner configuration you will get the nozzle cut and technique just right. When this is done you won't have to 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 work with. Price sometimes does matter.
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Can I piggy back this thread and ask about putting caulking over caulking? I caulked the joints in a new shower and I don't think I used enough. Will a second application adhere to the first? Ivan
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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 should work.
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wrote:

caulking?
Will
does silicone over silicone work? i've never had it stick well, if at all.
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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.
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In article

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.
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wrote:

i use the back of a plastic spoon for smoothing.

immediately.
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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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