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Pro Tips for Caulk/Sealant Success

Caulk/Sealant Products, Tool Reviews April 12, 2017 Sonia


If painting the bead, make sure your choice of product advertises its paintability like the bead of Lexel shown here.

Another note about silicone sealant: It tends to yellow over time. So if you don’t plan on painting the sealant, then make sure it has “non-yellowing” properties to maintain the look of the bead.

You can mix normal latex paint in your choice of color into the ExactColor cartridge to integrate the color into the caulk.

Although some caulks are paintable once they’ve been applied, a product like ExactColor takes it to the next level.

And, as the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for.” Cheaper caulks are less expensive because they’re formulated with inferior ingredients that don’t offer the properties that will keep the caulk performing well and looking good over time. So if you skimp on the cheap stuff, you’ll soon be reapplying the product or else living with some ugly joints around your house—neither of which you had in mind when applying the caulk in the first place.

Pro Tips for Caulk Application

Surface Prep. To remove a grungy bead of silicone for replacement, cut through each side of the bead with a utility knife and pull it away by hand. To remove any remaining sealant, scrape it with a paint scraper held at a shallow angle. If no sealant is in place, clean the surface of any dirt, dust, grime or oil that would prevent the sealant from adhering. Scrub the surface with mineral spirits and an abrasive pad to get rid of any residue prior to applying the caulk.

For bathroom applications or anywhere the caulk/sealant will be prone to moisture exposure, choose a product that is marketed as “mold and mildew resistant.”

Cut the Nozzle Correctly. Most pros bypass the nozzle cutter of a caulk gun in favor of using a utility knife to start a new cartridge. The razor blade slices smoothly through the plastic without clamping it. The clamping action of a caulk-gun cutter can distort the nozzle opening, which can then impede application of the product. Cut the cartridge nozzle at a 45-degree angle with an opening size of 3/8 inch. For the same reason, cut the nozzle of squeeze tubes with a utility knife while holding the crimped end of the tube vertically. Lay the bead parallel to the 45-degree nozzle.

A common complaint about caulk guns are the drippy messes caused by a leaking nozzle. Solve this by using a “dripless” gun. The new 26:1 thrust ratio ETS9000 advanced composite caulking guns from Dripless, Inc. is made to gun the thickest material with no strain on the fingers, wrist or hands. Before the ETS9000 came to market, the tools that did this same job weighed and cost twice as much.