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HOW TO CAULK

Caulk is used to seal off cracks and fill gaps inside and outside of your home. This is extremely important as any cracks (especially on the exterior of your home) can lead to serious problems such as insects and water damage. Caulk works in many places including bathtubs and plumbing, tiles, molding, window panes, door frames and baseboards, roofs, gutters and more!

There are various types of caulks for different projects - the best is a solvent-based caulk, as acrylic caulks wear out faster.

Caulk can be purchased as a cartridge for a caulking gun or as a tube. No matter which method you choose, applying caulk can get messy. So it is best to make sure you have a damp rag around, a bucket of water, and mild cleaner. A razor knife will also come in handy.

Preparation
. Clean the area with warm water so that the caulk can adhere to the surface.
. Remove prior caulk with the razor knife, careful not to scratch the surface. For any pieces that might have been left behind, use the cleaner to wipe it off.
. If you are using old caulk that you had around your house, make sure it has not expired by checking the date on the package. If it is unlabeled, you may test it on a non-porous surface to ensure that it still sticks. Also make sure that it comes out of the tube smoothly and dries within the said time.
. An important thing to note about caulking a bathtub: Bathtubs, when full tend to sink a little bit. In order to ensure that you are caulking it correctly, fill the bathtub with water first, and apply enough caulk to cover this crack/gap.

Caulking
Practice a little on something other than your project to get the hang of it. You can use a paper plate or sheet of paper, whatever junk you may have lying around. This is just to get a feel for the gun or tube.

. Cut off the nozzle of the caulk cartridge. Be a little careful whereat on the nozzle you cut, as it is tapered. This means that the more you cut off, the wider the hole will be. Generally, there will be a marking on the nozzle to assist you. For instance, if the gap is a half of an inch, the nozzle will tell you where it should be cut at. Cut at a 45° angle.

House Painting Tips

. If you are using a caulking gun, take the poker, usually at the front end of the gun, and insert it into the hole in the front of the nozzle of the cartridge. Push it in and out a few times. This loosens up the caulk in the nozzle and will allow a better flow.

House Painting Tips

House Painting Tips

. The next step is to insert the cartridge into the gun. Pull the metal bar on the back of the caulking gun out all the way. Make sure the ridges point anywhere but up, or it won't budge. Then insert the cartridge and push the metal bar in as far as it will go. Then turn the bar so that the ridges are facing up. If they aren't, the gun won't work.

House Painting Tips

House Painting Tips

. Holding the tube or gun at a 45° angle, apply even pressure to squeeze the tube or trigger. Even pressure is important to ensure that you issue a consistent amount of caulk over the entire area.
. While the caulk is being dispensed, move the caulking gun/tube along the crack or gap, using always an even speed. The caulk should completely cover the gap.

House Painting Tips

House Painting Tips

. After you have caulked the entire cracked/gaped area, gently run your finger along the caulk to smooth it out. Use the damp rag to wipe your finger clean.

House Painting Tips

House Painting Tips

. Once finished, allow the caulk to set for the specified time on the tube. DO NOT PAINT OVER IT UNTIL IT IS SET!

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