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10 Steps to a Perfect Caulking Repair Job

10 Steps to a Perfect Caulking Repair Job

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February 1, 2010

Caulking around tubs and sinks is a simple task, but it is one of the most important home repair jobs you could handle. Water seeping into small cracks and crevices can quickly lead to thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home.

Steps for a Successful Caulking Project

Protect your investment with a little time and a good amount of high-quality caulk. Here's how:

  1. Remove all the old caulking using a razor scraper and a utility knife, if necessary. Clean the entire area to remove all the old residue. Let it dry thoroughly before applying the caulk.
  2. Inspect the area where you have removed the caulk. If you see rotting wood or mold, you have a more serious repair job on your hands. Stop your work and call a professional handyman to help. If you don't see damage, carry on!
  3. Cut the tip of the caulking tube at an angle, and puncture the nozzle's seal. Load the tube into the caulking gun and press the plunger forward until it touches the back of the tube.
  4. Using both hands to keep the line steady, press the tip of the nozzle where you want to begin caulking and gently squeeze the trigger.
  5. When the caulk begins to flow, guide it along the edge, filling the area with a thick bead of caulk. Use firm, steady pressure.
  6. When you have filled an area, let go of the trigger. It might take a few seconds for the caulk to stop flowing.
  7. Now it's time to shape the caulk. Dip your fingertip into a bit of mineral oil (or baby oil, if that's what you have on hand) and run your finger over the caulking, smoothing out the bead. Take your time in spreading the caulk, but don't press too hard--you want a thick seal.
  8. Wipe off excess caulking with a paper towel and continue along the bead until you have smoothed out the whole section.
  9. Repeat the process until you've caulked along the entire edge. Inspect your work and perform touch-ups if necessary.
  10. Don't use any water in the area until the caulking has dried thoroughly. Depending upon the type of caulk used, the drying time could take a few days.

Finally, a bonus tip: If you are caulking a bathtub, fill the tub halfway with water while you work. The weight of the water pulls the tub away from the wall just the slightest bit, and makes for a tighter caulking job.

About the author: Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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