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-   -   Laying a Perfect Bead of Caulk (http://www.painttalk.com/f6/laying-perfect-bead-caulk-7832/)

bergs4 02-04-2010 09:45 PM

Laying a Perfect Bead of Caulk
 
I'm new to the forum and would like to draw on the expertise of the painters here. I have done a fair amount of caulking, almost exclusively interior trim work, and never seem to get a result that I'm pleased with. I do the 45 degree cut to the tube, with a hole smaller than the gap I'm trying to fill, and tool the bead with my finger using the appropriate solvent (water / mineral spirits for poly). There are two main problems I have --

1) the caulk line never seems to come out perfectly or close to perfectly smooth (it's more lumpy than I'd like); and

2) I can never get a perfect or close to perfect 90 degree angle between trim and the wall (the caulk either shrinks too much or I put on too much caulk leaving a rounded surface between the caulk in the wall).

Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks.

Metro M & L 02-04-2010 10:18 PM

:notworthy::notworthy::notworthy::notworthy:

johnpaint 02-04-2010 10:20 PM

For me the best way to get a smooth bead is to keep a wet tile sponge in one hand to keep my hands clean. If you wet your finger a little bit before you swipe the excess off it will leave the bead smooth.On hot days it is even more important to keep you finger wet. Also remember to only do a 5 to 6 feet at a time. Apply and wipe and keep moving. If I'am painting white, I will apply white primer first so it will show up all the areas that need caulking.

Workaholic 02-04-2010 10:40 PM

Make sure to keep your rag nice and wet, this should eliminate your problem. If problem continues after this try some different caulk.

bergs4 02-05-2010 01:09 AM

Thanks for the responses.

I will try the sponge and wet rag techniques.

Also, I'm wondering if I'm making things worse by using crappy caulk. Usually I use some variety of Alex water based. Based on some of the threads I read here, their reputation isn't that great. If this is true, is there another brand to recommend?

andruszko1 02-05-2010 02:17 AM

Caulking
 
A great caulk line is one that you do not need to touch. However, if that were the case we would not have to seal the caulk line with our index finger nor would we ever have to look at a zig zagging line of caulking. Andruszko Painting says you need to have precision and keep your eye on the bead as you start your caulk line keep constant pressure on your trigger and follow through on your caulk line; try not to stop (if possible) 1/2 way or 3/4's of the way down your A-Z Caulk Line. Keep one wet rag handy and one dry rag handy. If your caulking gun gets caught on a larger piece of texture, nail, or what ever gently release the trigger and recoup your caulking composure. Always remember to slide your finger over the caulk line in the same direction, vertically or horizontally, do not use your finger in opposite directions on the same caulk line otherwise you will have an imperfect run/uneven flow of caulking.

boman47k 02-05-2010 09:02 AM

I still have the problem with the angle between the wall and trim sometimes. For me, this hinders my cut line sometimes, and slows things down.

bergs4 02-05-2010 02:35 PM

I have definitely been starting and stopping half way through caulking a joint and usually have a bad outcome (uneven caulk flow, caulk build up etc.). That tip is good to know.

Any tips about trim/wall angle and if the brand of caulk will make a difference?

straight_lines 02-05-2010 03:12 PM

Wet rag=soft finger=blisters if you caulk all day, so that is a no no for me. On trim would be the only exception, and then you really don't need it if you are good with the gun. I would suggest getting a nice no drip gun, and cut an angled opening to fit the job.

painterdude 02-05-2010 06:53 PM

wet rag?
 
That's a great idea. I've been putting my finger in my mouth for 35 years. Well, not on sonotone or any other poly based stuff. Maybe one of those cool caulking tools that they sell next to the register at SW, or on TV.

DeanV 02-05-2010 08:31 PM

caulking tools are worthless. Not nearly as detailed in smoothing the bead as your finger.

daArch 02-05-2010 08:46 PM

The first rule of thumb for a good caulk line is to find better craftspeople ahead of you who can install sheet rock, trim, and cabs that don't leave a 1/2 inch gap !!!

"A little caulk, a little paint, make the carpenter what he ain't"

But if it is a nominal 1/16 " gap, I find that consistancy of delivery, opening of nozzle, and angle of application is what matters the most. IOW, practice.

For wallpaper, we do not want a rounded corner that was fingered, we would like a good sharp 90 degrees. Tools can work to make the final dressing. I always used a putty knife wetted. But that tool is used, as said, for final dressing, and the angle of the drag is important.

But seriously, who hasn't been tempted by:

http://honestinfomercialreviews.com/.../pro_caulk.jpg

xr4ticrew 02-06-2010 09:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by painterdude (Post 113228)
That's a great idea. I've been putting my finger in my mouth for 35 years. Well, not on sonotone or any other poly based stuff. Maybe one of those cool caulking tools that they sell next to the register at SW, or on TV.

Seriously? Dude, you must've eaten a lot of caulk in 35 years...Dude...

And that's caulk with a capital L!!!! hahaha

On a side note,

Whenever talking to female customers, do you make sure you over-pronounce the L in caulk? Just to prevent misunderstandings over sticking caulk in all her cracks?

I know I do...

Woody 02-06-2010 10:30 AM

Water is "your friend" ...when caulking.

aaron61 02-06-2010 04:24 PM

No drip caulk gun/SW 9500 caulk/a good angled cut on your tube to match the gap you are filling/you have to keep your gun angled the same "consistant" from top to bottom/consistant pressure on your trigger and alot of practice! You'll know your good when you can lay a bead down between door frames & countertops up against vinyl without having to finger!!

mistcoat 02-06-2010 05:01 PM

:oops:
my mistake, I've just logged on to the DIY forum by mistake.

Bye

:surrender:

:sweatdrop:

aaron61 02-06-2010 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mistcoat (Post 113312)
:oops:
my mistake, I've just logged on to the DIY forum by mistake.

Bye

:surrender:

:sweatdrop:

I was wondering if I should even take this seriously or not,but after reading the other posts I thought wow!, I never thought about caulking that much before....Damn I must be really good at this Sh*t!!!

Rcon 02-06-2010 05:41 PM

Keep a wet rag, a clean cut can filled 1/2 full with water to keep your rag clean, some q-tips for tight corners and a 9 in 1 for sharp angles. ;)

I use alex plus all the time and never have any problems....

mistcoat 02-06-2010 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron61 (Post 113314)
I was wondering if I should even take this seriously or not,but after reading the other posts I thought wow!, I never thought about caulking that much before....Damn I must be really good at this Sh*t!!!

Is it really that hard to do?

I agree with what you say -
Quote:

Originally Posted by aaron61 (Post 113314)
You'll know your good when you can lay a bead down between door frames & countertops up against vinyl without having to finger!!''

The word practice popped up and that is only thing to do to get better.
It's a bit like wallpaper,,, don't fanny around at it, just do it. :thumbsup:

painterdude 02-06-2010 06:36 PM

Let me give you the process. Cut the tube(not that good at math and don't carry a protractor to be sure it's a 45). Lay continuous bead if possible trying not to overdo amt. of caulk. Put finger in mouth. Run univeral lubricant over caulk using index finger. Wipe hand on pants....I always get a kick out of painters coming into the paint store with clean pants and shirts...must work by the hour. Repeat. I don't eat much caulk, but used to wash up with mineral spirits a lot in the 70's and 80's. Yes you can use soapy sponge or towel, but i'd guess it'd slow you down a tad. Hit 60 the other day and other than glowing in the dark, my Dr. says I'm in pretty good shape...for the shape I'm in.


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