Okay, so you’re about to take on a plumbing project — yup, someone needs to re-caulk that tub and shower! — and you know you’re going to need caulking at the end of it. But you have no clue. You’ve never used caulk, let alone a caulk gun.
No need to stress. It’s super easy, and I’m going to take you through the most basic steps.
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What is Caulk?
Caulk is a putty-like substance, most often made from silicone or latex. It is used to fill and seal all kinds of small gaps or cracks in brick, wood, drywall, porcelain, tile, and other materials.
Applications range from concrete repairs, simple weatherproofing, or making sure water doesn’t seep behind your walls from your shower.
These gaps can allow (1) heated or cooled air to escape (thus causing higher utility bills), (2) moisture to damage housing materials, (3) insects to enter your home, or (4) more serious damage to occur if not corrected.
You’ll find a whole slew of caulk products — in different varieties for different types of applications — in your hardware store. Just make sure to choose the right one for your job (don’t worry, that’s not hard to figure out either (just read the label to know which application it’s best used for).
How to Use a Caulk Gun for the First Time
Caulking can be messy, so wear some old clothes and spread a drop cloth below your working area. And don’t wear gloves; your finger will be your best tool for smoothing out caulk (more on that below).
- Cut open your caulk tube
Using a cutting tool – a pair of scissors or razor – snip off the end of a new tube of caulk. Snip it off at a 45-degree angle. The larger the snip, the larger the bead of caulk will come out. So, start with a small snip, test it, then snip further up if you need a thicker bead.
- Place caulk into caulk gun
Put the tube of caulk into the caulk gun and use the trigger to pump a thin bead of caulk onto the surface where it’s needed. Applying caulk this way is called “laying a bead.” Use that next time you’re having a similar conversation if you want to sound like a professional. LOL
- Stop the flow
When the bead is in place, turn the L-shaped ratchet on the end of the caulk gun to stop the flow of material.
- Smooth out the surface
You can use a damp rag for this if you don’t want to use your fingers. But frankly, we find that a finger works best. In either case, smooth out the surface of the caulk using your finger or damp rag. This allows it to bond to the surface you’re trying to fill or seal.
- Wait to use
Now all you have to do is wait for the caulk to dry. Make sure to put the cap over the caulking tube as it will dry out quickly if you don’t. Then loosen the ratchet so you can remove from the caulking tube from the caulk gun.
Congratulations. If you’ve following along, you’re probably feeling pretty satisfied (and maybe a little messy!) with yourself.
As you can see, using a caulk gun is a beginner job that takes very little knowledge or skill. But knowing how to do it (when you’ve never been taught) makes a world of difference.
If you need help with any of your plumbing-related projects, don’t hesitate to contact us or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237). We will immediately respond to and handle any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning and drain clearing, and water damage problem, including excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines.