Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: South Coast Ontario
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Tips on caulking i have learned the hard way:
1. Cut the tip of the caulking tube only half as big as the bead you are trying to lay. If you want a 1/2" wide bead of caulking, make sure the tip is 1/4" diameter.
2. Unless you are a caulking expert, don't try to cut the tip on an angle. Novices never keep a consistent angle on the gun to the work, so if you add another angle to the equation, you will end up with an unpleasant finish.
3. Make sure your gun is clean and the trigger and pushrod is lubricated. you want your gun to work smoothly.
4. Don't start at a corner or an end. start in the middle and work toward the end.
5. Squeeze the trigger with an even gentle pressure.
6. Don't start your bead with the tip against the work. Think of it like landing an airplane. Start to squeeze the trigger, as the bead starts to flow from the tip, "land" your gun and pull it along the bead, maintaining that smooth, even pressure.
7. Go with the flow, don't work faster, or slower, than the output from the gun.
8. Don't panic. You will get the odd glob and goober, but don't worry about fixing your mistakes until after you have completed your run.
9. before you work on your pride and joy, buy a couple of 12' 2x6s. Set them up on bricks or sawhorses, whichever is more applicable to the working height of the job you are going to be doing. Buy an extra tube or two of caulking and practice on the 2x6s. Caulking is cheap, often cheaper than the time, frustration and cleaning materials you will expend to clean up a sloppy job.
10. Make sure the caulk you are using is FRESH. If it is close to the expiry date on the tube, find newer stock.
11. Tooling- popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, plastic spoons work great, but they only work as well as the splooge bucket you need to keep handy. Don't bother trying to clean them as you go, when you load up your tool, toss it in the bucket, and grab a fresh one. a popsicle stick is good for a foot of caulking or less, so keep lots handy if you want a great looking job.
12. Masking tape CAN give you a clean edge, but be careful when you peel it off, especially if you are working on a long stretch, like caulking 30' of rubrail. The first few feet of caulking will start to cure before the last feet are laid, which will cause some edge fluttering and clinging when you peel off the tape.