Caulk is a pliable substance that becomes solid after it sets, and is used to seal cracks and gaps in areas where air and/or water could seep between two adjoining materials. Caulk is often used to seal window frames, door frames, sinks with adjoining countertops, and shower joints.
For interior projects, latex (dry areas) or silicone (wet areas) caulk works best. For exterior uses, butyl rubber caulk is preferable. Caulk can be purchased in squeezable tubes or cartridges that require a caulk gun. The cartridges are usually used by the pros to keep costs down and achieve superior results.
One key step that can help keep caulk joints from becoming too wide is to use blue painter's tape to mask both edges of the joint (the area you're filling with caulk). This allows you to set your desired width of the caulk strip, and protects the surrounding materials from being smeared with extra caulk after you smooth out the bead. Use long sections of tape, and make sure it's straight when you apply it. Thinner joints look best, with a total width of about 1/4 inch.
Apply the caulk at a 45-degree angle, and squeeze hard enough to force the caulk into the joint so it fills it completely. Slowly draw the tip of the caulk tube along the entire length of the joint, applying consistent pressure. Wet your finger with rubbing alcohol for silicone caulk, or with water for latex caulk, and smooth out the joint using firm pressure. Wipe off excess caulk from your finger and re-wet it as necessary. Latex gloves can be worn to avoid getting caulk on your hands.
Once the caulk joint is smooth, remove the blue painter's tape slowly, pulling it away from the joint at an angle so the line won't be disturbed. For more information, or for assistance with your caulking projects, please contact:
Mr. Handyman of Wheaton-Hinsdale
245 W. Roosevelt Road #69
West Chicago, IL