Sunday, December 12, 2010

Caulking Tips

We live life -- and things gradually age and get old. Many people neglect the relatively easy job of caulking around sinks, showers and bathtubs because they are afraid they won't get the neat, professional look that handymen and contractors get. Here are some tips so you can get professional, sharp edges -- and refresh your home.

What you'll need:
  • Knife
  • Caulk (silicone for wet areas in the bathroom and kitchen, latex for dry areas). GE SiliconeII and PolySeamSeal Tub & Tile Adhesive caulk are recommended for wet areas.
  • Caulk Gun
  • Painters or Masking Tape
  • Alcohol (or soapy water) - if using silicone caulk
  • Rags or paper towels.
Now, let's get down to business:
  1. Use the knife to help you clean the areas to be caulked. Then, vacuum the area. Any debris will prevent the silicone from sticking. Note that if the gap is more then 1/2", you might want to "build up the area" to give the caulk more support.
  2. Use the painters or masking tape to tape around both sides of the joint. About 1/4" is good and gives a neater look. Smaller is better; you can even just get the caulk in the crack! Make sure the tape is straight and down firmly -- it's there to catch the excess caulk.
  3. Caulk slowly and steadily. Try to get a good, consistent, bead in the joint -- but don't worry if you don't get it perfect now: we'll press the caulk in later. Caulk one section (say two to eight feet) at a time so you have time to do the next few steps before the caulk starts to dry.
  4. Wet your finger with water (alcohol or soapy water for silicone caulk) and run your finger (or rounded tool) along the joint and press the caulk into the joint. Use the rag or paper towels to clean the excess off of your fingers and then re-wet your finger with water or alcohol.
  5. Immediately pull the tape up in the area you have caulked. You don't want the silicone to dry before you do this step. Watch the angle you pull the caulk up -- to avoid smudging.
And, that's it: you should have a neat, professional-looking appearance. Good luck.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010