The videos on the web make it look very easy. All you need is a
steady hand. My problem is that I don't have a steady hand. (Want a
laugh? You should watch me eat with a fork)
I saw this tip on the web and considered trying it, but I can't
imagine how I would pull it off.
Apply masking tape to both sides of where you want your new caulk
bead, with the edges of the tape lining up to exactly where you want
the bead of caulk to stop. This is a technique that professionals use
to ensure a perfectly even-looking bead with no mess. There should be
about an eighth of an inch between the two pieces of tape.
Anyone know of a guide I could use to make the tape stop? I was
thinking that a yard stick would be about the right thickness. I
could just lay the yardstick on the seam and then apply tape to the
I know that a wet finger is supposed to go a long way, but last time I
tried I did not like the results. Another problem I had was to keep
the calk coming out in a smooth stream. If I were not so ashamed of
how it looked, I would post my work for a laugh. I just couldn't keep
the tip of the gun in the grove while pumping the gun.
I wouldn't use tape for caulk work. But I never tried it.
Caulk is pretty cheap. Practice with something you don't care about.
Couple 2x4's tacked together might do.
Here's what I do when I want a clean uniform flat bead.
Apply a bead about with about 20% more caulk than needed.
Use the flat side of wood chisel sized to the bead I want, and run
over the bead. Keep a high angle so less chisel drags on the caulk.
Corners have to be "finessed." Takes a little practice.
If wetting the chisel provides a smoother bead, wet it.
Don't worry about the excess squeezing past the chisel.
Come back after it sets a bit and peel the excess off.
You can use the same chisel if it doesn't just pull right off, but be
careful you don't gouge the bead.
Any place a surface defect doesn't leave a clean line, use a razor to
cut it clean.
Learned to do that glazing windows.
Works well with caulk too.
You don't use a gun in a tub, you use a squeeze tube. Never tried the
tape, maybe next time I will. Right next to the squeeze tubes of bathtub
caulk, big box sell all sorts of tools for getting a clean bead that
work a whole lot better than an inexperienced or shaky finger. Run a
TINY bead, and use the tool to really shove it in there. And have rags
handy to wipe up the excess before it grabs, or plan on a lot of razor
work later. Maybe the tape would help with that part. A bucket of warm
water and a scrubby to keep cleaning the tool is also a good idea- it'll
gunk up fast.
Usual caveat about surface prep applies. Clean, soap-scum free,
degreased and dry is mandatory, if you want it to stick. And if you want
to make it last longer, one of those little shoe polish bottles of grout
sealer used as the last step after the caulk skims over, will keep water
from penetrating the grout and running down behind the caulk, and
causing it to let go or grow mold. Once you're done, let it dry at least
a day. In a 1-bathroom house, a proper recaulk is a major PITA, since it
takes the tub off-line for about 3 days. Day 1, heavy-duty cleaning, and
set a fan to dry it out. Day 2, do the actual work. Day 3, if no goofs
found and it seems dry, okay to use. In a 2-bathroom house, I'd double
those wait times.
I can't caulk anything and have it look good. I like the tape idea.
I'm taking a night school class for auto body and my teacher showed me
how to use tape to get a ridge straight using bondo. Put on the bondo,
let it start to cure, then pull off the tape while it's still soft.
Worked great but it's hard to explain how difficult the task was in the
If you have an air compressor, try the powered caulking gun from
Harbor Freight. It does an amazing job after a bit of fiddling with
the air pressure to get a gentle steady push on the tube contents.
Also great for opening up stored used tubes of caulk.
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