Interior and exterior caulking is a homeowner maintenance item and is not covered by your home warranty. Here are some DIY tips on how to handle this simple home repair job.
Research and choose the right caulk for the application and be sure to also buy a quality caulking gun. Existing caulk must be removed with a sharp utility knife or narrow chisel, and brush and vacuum out the loose debris. Check the caulk tube for information on the best temperature and conditions for application. Consider using masking tape around the sides of the joint you will be caulking, and remove the tape as soon as you’ve finished tooling. When cutting the tube tip, make the opening slightly smaller than the bead you’ll apply and cut at a 45 degree angle.
When caulking, keep the gun moving and maintain steady pressure on the lever for an even bead. Press the release lever on your gun near the end of the joint to stop the flow of caulk. If you are applying caulk in a long straight line, don’t apply for more than several feet at a time to maintain consistency.
Use your finger or an ice cube to tool water-based caulk. With silicone or polyurethane joints, use a plastic spoon or a caulk tool. With poly caulk, wet the tool surface with solvent to get smooth results. Have clean up materials handy – damp sponge for water-based caulk, or solvent and clean rags for other sealants.
Caulk usually comes with a replaceable tip that you can use to reseal the tube, but be prepared to clear out the tip the next time you use it.