It sounds odd, but I get the best caulk results by using a battery-powered
caulking gun. Application is very smooth and it stops immediately when you
release the trigger. It's both faster and neater than a manual gun, and
pros in this area are starting to use the same thing. Mine is an
inexpensive Ryobi gun from HD, uses 18v batteries that also power some of my
other Ryobi cordless tools. I don't think much of most of the 18v Ryobi
stuff, but this one is a winner.
Battery life -- both in terms of operating hours and how quickly they lose
their charge when not in use. I "splurged" on a Ridgid 18V set (drill,
recip saw, circular saw, flashlight) and discovered a major difference. The
Ridgid always seems to be charged up, even if I haven't used it for a month
or more, when the Ryobi would be flat. Plus I get a lifetime warranty and
free replacement on the Ridgid batteries. The Ridgid is noticeably
heavier -- not necessarily a good thing, but seems well balanced and the
circular saw does everything I ask of it.
I also had a Craftsman 18V kit, and found the batteries didn't last long,
were expensive to replace, and that Craftsman had more than one style of 18V
battery -- the replacement style I needed never seemed to be in stock.
Painter's tape works for me. There is no need to try to fill space in
or behind the wall. Caulk is to bridge
the gap and seal it off. If you are new to caulking, you might want to
practice. I cut the tip so it is open perhaps
1/8". You want the finished caulk bead to be - in cross section - like
a cove molding.....smoothe and concave
so it doesn't trap water or soap scum. Put down your painters tape so
it is perfectly straight and so that the
outside of the caulk tip rides right on the edges of the tape - then
when you push the caulk gun forward, slowly,
the tip of the tube forms the "cove" and extra is pushed onto the tape.
I've redone caulking when I wasn't
pleased the first time. Nothing better than spit on yer finger for
smoothing it :o) Keep damp rags handy.
Vital to have the surfaces perfectly clean of grease and soap scum, and
a wipe with full-strength bleach
before putting on the caulk.
I made the mistake of filling in a gap with caulk once and ended up with
water and caulk running down
the outside of the tub/shower enclosure. More is not always better. If
the gap between wall and tub is
greater than 1/4", you need to get backer rod (foam) to fill the space
behind the caulk.
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