Smooth caulk joints

Looking online, I see many tips about using TAPE to create nice edges when needed, when you smooth the joint.
Are there any techniques for making an accurate line without tape? As I recall, I've seen pros not using tape and the joints looked great. However this was long ago and I don't recall exactly how they smoothed it out.
Is tape the ONLY way to get a smooth edge without years of practice? ;-)
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Yes, use the tape. I've caulked for a long time and still find taping the best way to do it. An advantage here is with the tape, you can really press the caulk into the joint and make a great seal. I think those guys on TV use trick caulk for the cameras (just kidding, I'm just jealous).
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Narrow beads and a finger dipped in a bowl of water has always worked for me.
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Good advice for latex caulks, using the "finger dipped in the bowl of water".
For silicone caulk, use for your finger dipping, mineral oil.
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I like to add a little dish soap to the water for latex.
JK
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wrote:

Cool. Great tips!
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spammer wrote:

Would have been nice to have known that a long time ago.
If after you caulk you spray the surfaces each side of the bead with 409 the silicon won't stick when you smooth the bead. Major surprise when I saw someone do that.
--
bud--



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I use the little tool that I bought from HD. Works like a charm.
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wrote:

I have used a disposable tool called the DAP Caulk Smoother. It is a piece of foam on a plastic stick. Works great, and if you need to re- use it twice in a caulking session, dip it in some alcohol.
Most of the hard plastic tools get gunked up too quickly with silicone caulk. You need too many, and you have to clean them afterwards. Throwaway tools are more practical.
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A spoon works ok.
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StarMan wrote:

It's the only way I can do it right. Cut the caulk tube tip to be the width you want, which is same width as taped-off strip. Push the tube as you apply caulk. Spit is the only acceptable lubricant .. wipe you finger with a clean rag, spit and smoothe the caulk (if needed) so's it's like a cove molding. Caulk should have a flat edge so it doesn't trap water and get moldy. Take tape off right away. Have the area immaculately clean, clean again with denatured alcohol, then wipe with full-strength bleach before caulking.
If you do without tape, and get a little bead running along the caulk bead, you can let it cure and then trim with straight-edge and razor blade. Peel off .
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I use a tool that I bought at HD. .
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I have a handy tool to make a good caulk joint, I recently did kitchen counter tops against a tiled wall.
http://www.jasco-help.com/products/kitchenbath/index.html
I can't remember where I got it. HD and Ace do not carry it where I currently live. I have no association with the company.
I generally do not recommend products on line, but this one produced a joint that even impressed my wife.
Charlie
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clipped

I tried those a couple of times - made a horrible mess :o)
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I was a first time user and had no problem at all. There was a little instruction sheet with it. I did what it said. Did you follow the directions?
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Charlie Bress wrote:

Always :o) It was an awkward tool for me. The best trick is to cut the tip to the right size, push the tube to apply. Even if a little oozes past the line, it can be trimmed when it cures if the caulk is applied at the right angle.
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If you use caulk labeled "water cleanup" (usually latex), you can achieve perfect results every time using a bucket of water and a sponge.
Apply the caulk as you normally would, then use your finger to push it into the joint and wipe off the majority of the excess (Keep paper towels handy to wipe the caulk off your fingers). Get the sponge wet in a bucket of water and squeeze out the excess. Then wipe the caulking joint with your damp sponge. Rinse the caulking off the sponge in the bucket of water, and continue wiping down the joints as needed. You can go over the joints with the sponge as many times as you need (before it starts setting up), just rinse it out between passes. If you remove too much, just apply more caulk and repeat. You can do most jobs with a single bucket of water, but if the water gets too dirty you may want to dump it and refill, or grab a second bucket.
Essentially you're putting caulk in the joint, then cleaning away everything except what is in the actual joint. It's very easy to do, and produces professional looking joints every time.
It also works great for filling holes and cracks in trim and whatnot. Just dab some caulk in, wipe off the excess with your finger, and clean away the extra with the damp sponge.
Unfortunately, it probably won't work with silicone caulks unless they specifically indicate water cleanup.
Anthony
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Good idea for bathtubs, bad idea when caulking baseboards over hardwood floors or between windows and wood sills :-)
I find I can get good results if I constantly wipe the joint after using my finger (and constantly wiping the finger), but it is a big headache. I am going to try the "wet finger" idea tomorrow.
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I've used the sponge technique in many situations and it works well. You wring out most of the water in the sponge, so there's very little risk of water damage or anything like that.
It works great when caulking against a painted wall too, like you might do around a vanity top, or where trim meets a wall. I've used it when patching a seam in a floor too. It's nice because it doesn't leave any caulk residue on the wall, it only fills the crack.
However, WHY would you caulk against a hardwood floor anyway? :)
Anthony
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