3 Tactical Tips For Working With Caulk

Posted on: 7 May 2015


Bathrooms are highly susceptible to water damage. For that reason, it's especially important that your fixtures be properly caulked. If the caulk in your bathroom needs to be repaired or replaced, read on. This article will provide three key tips for laying a line of caulk that would make any plumber proud.

Protect vulnerable surfaces by using a plastic razor blade.

Believe it or not, most home caulking projects are actually re-caulking projects--usually because the original caulk has become degraded, or discolored by time. The first step, then, is to remove whatever traces of the original caulk are still there. When working with fixtures made of metal or porcelain, this can be safely done with either a utility razor or a 5-in-1 painting tool

Yet those tools aren't appropriate in all scenarios. If either the fixture or the surrounding counter top is made of plastic, using a metal blade means risking nasty scratches and gashes. Instead, be on the safe side and remove the old caulk using a plastic razor blade.

Mark your caulk lines using blue painter's tape.

Working with caulk can be intimidating for many people. That's because an accidental slip of the hand can easily lead to an ugly, frustrating result. But you can caulk with confidence by borrowing a tactic from professional painters. Before you get started, lay down some guidelines using blue painter's tape. That way there will be no cause for worry if your hand strays a little bit off course here and there.

Pay close attention to how you cut the caulk tube's tip.

There are three important things to know about cutting the tip off of a fresh tube of caulk. The first is that you should always use a sharp new razor blade and never one with nicks or blemishes. That's because anything less than a perfect razor will leave tiny imperfections in the tip of the tube. If bad enough, these can negatively affect the way your caulk looks once dried.

Second, keep in mind that the tip of the tube does not have an even width. Rather, it expands slightly as it gets closer to the tube. In other words, the higher up the tip you make your cut, the fatter the corresponding bead of caulk will be. A general rule of thumb is that the hole you cut should have a diameter of approximately 1/8".

Third, be aware that you don't want to cut straight across the tip, as this makes it more difficult to lay caulk--especially in tight cracks. Instead, your cut should intersect the tip at around a 45-degree angle. Luckily, many tubes of caulk come with this angle pre-marked, for those whose protractor skills are a bit rusty.

For more professional plumbing tips or help tackling a larger project, contact a company like A Absolute Plumbing & Heating.