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
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
Thanks, I've seen a similar suggestion, but I
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
First do not use silicone! Its the toughest to work with and to clean up.
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
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