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Old 12-22-2011
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Caulking casualty

Help! I am absolutely the worst at drawing a bead of caulk between surfaces. Last summer I replaced the plexiglass in my dorade boxes and it looked like a 4year old had been let loose on them. Please give me tips on runing a smooth, consistent width, level, bead of caulk along a surface.
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Old 12-22-2011
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1.cut the tip of the tube half the size that you think it should be.
2. Use a gentle, even pressure on the trigger.
3. Keep the gun moving.
4. at the end of each run, give the gun a bit of a twist as you lift off.
5. Buy good caulk- old or cheap caulk will not flow well.
6. Practice on scrap. A lot. In fact, caulk the frames of the basement windows of your house before tackling a boat job. You'll learn technique on something nobody will notice, and keep the bugs out of your house.
7. Keep the tip clean, and your tools clean. Keep lots of damp rags handy.
8. Tool the bead with a tongue depressor or popsicle stick. They are cheap so use lots of them.
9. If you really still have trouble, mask off your bead. Lay 1" masking tape allong the joint to be caulked with a 1/4" reveal on both sides of the joint, then lay your caulk, smooth out with a wet tongue depressor, then pull up the tape, pulling AWAY from the work smoothly.
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Old 12-22-2011
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For bljones steps 8. and 9. I have enjoyed success using the wet back of a plastic spoon.
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Old 12-22-2011
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It's a lot easier than you might think, but you have to PUSH the nozzle forward, not drag it backwards. Dragging it backwards leaves a round bead of caulk, that isn't really even in hte joint. Pushing it forwards uses the bottom edge of the tube opening to wipe the bead into the joint and leave a concave surface. Cut the end of the tube off smaller than the bead size you want, because it will spread out more than you realize.

Gary H. Lucas
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Old 12-22-2011
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I like to go to BL's step 9 (masking off the area) first, if only to simplify the cleanup later.... also, if you're tooling esp by hand some dishsoap on your gloved finger makes for a smoother finished surface.
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Old 12-23-2011
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Caulking calamity

Thank you all for your wisdom. I look forward to trying these methods and if it comes out well, that will be my profile picture: a nicely caulked seem!
Merry Christmas to all
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Old 12-23-2011
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Make sure you get a good quality caulking gun with the trigger that stops the flow with a flick of a thumb. This is a funny thing, it is an aquired skill. Like any job with someone who is experienced makes it look simple. A wet pointer finger makes an excellent tool for smoothing out the bead, the trick is getting the tip cut to the proper thickness for the crack or line you are sealing. Practice around a window or door is a good idea... Red
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Old 12-23-2011
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My wife's caulking - also for a dorade box has received several compliments (starting with from me). She does mask and basically follows the good advice already given.
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Old 12-23-2011
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Good info. Have to caulk the bathtub tomorrow, finishing up the bathroom paintjob.

Thanks. Happy Holidays
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Old 12-23-2011
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A pros trick, get a cup of water, moisten your finger, keep it moist and fair the bead . The water keeps the caulk(silicone and its derivatives) from sticking to your skin and just as it does with a wet surface. This allows you to fair out the bulges and lumps.
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