Tips on Caulking With Silicone

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Caulk is both a glue and a sealant. Its main purpose is to seal joints between dissimilar materials or non-moving joints. Silicone caulk is a type of caulk that is especially flexible, and if you know when to use it and how to apply it, it can be an easy do-it-yourself project.

Reasons for Using Silicone

  • Silicone is slightly more difficult to work with than other types of caulk, but it is much more appropriate for non-porous surfaces like ceramic tile, glass and metal because it is rubbery and slightly soft when dry. Nothing sticks to silicone caulk after it's cured, not even more silicone caulk, so few things can mess up your caulking job after it's finished. But that means that when it's time to repair the caulk, you'll need to replace it all.
    If you don't want to apply pure silicone caulk, your other option is applying siliconized caulk, which is a mix of latex and silicone. Unlike 100 percent silicone, siliconized caulk can be cleaned with water and comes in a variety of colors.

Preparation

  • There are several things you must do before applying the caulk.Make sure you prepare everything beforehand so that you can do the entire job at once. If you start the job, leave it and come back, the seams in the caulk where you started and stopped may not seal properly, and you may have to re-do the job.
    Before you're ready to caulk, you need to get every bit of the old caulk off the surface. If the old caulk was silicone, you can remove it with a single-edged razor blade. After all of the old caulk is off, clean the surface with denatured alcohol. Clean the surface before caulking.
    Silicone caulk has a strong odor while it's curing, so make sure your work area is well ventilated before beginning.
    The last step in preparation is preparing the caulk. You may choose to use a caulking gun, or, if the caulk comes in a squeeze bottle, you may just use the bottle. Cut as small an opening in the tip of the caulking tube as possible so that the caulk won't glob out. Make sure to have some towels and a moistened sponge handy, and you're ready to caulk.

Application

  • Apply the silicone caulk sparingly at first until you get the hang of making the bead. As long as the caulk is wet, you can apply more caulk over it. To make a bead of caulk, you'll place the tip of the tube against the surface you're caulking, gently squeeze (or pull the caulking gun trigger), and pull the tube while squeezing along the surface. Keep the bead as neat and even as possible to avoid getting caulk anywhere it shouldn't be.
    If you get caulk where it shouldn't be, use a sponge to moisten your fingers and use your fingers to remove the excess. This is more precise and more effective than trying to use a towel to get it off.

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