How to Caulk at The Home

Caulking is defined as the process and material used to seal joints or seams in a variety of structures and some types of piping. Its earliest uses were making wooden boats water tight. Shipbuilders drove fibrous material into the wedge-shaped seams between the boards on a boat. But for you, caulking isn’t about ensuring a hand-built ship is ready for a long ocean voyage, instead you just want to fix the leaks in your bathroom shower. It is for that reason that we wrote this article. You see, at Workman’s Friend we didn’t know a lot about caulking until we started doing a little bit of research. If you want to see what we learned and how to caulk, read on

Why Caulk?

Caulking fills the cracks and gaps to keep air, water and bugs out of your home. You will typically see caulking around windows, doors, plumbing, and piping, essentially wherever there’s a break between two pieces of material. This type of sealant is excellent at preventing heated or cooled air from escaping your home, thereby keeping your energy bills low.

Getting Ready to Caulk

Before you begin applying any new caulk, you must get rid of all of the old using a removal tool or even a utility knife. Having a clean surface is crucial to ensuring the new sealant will adhere properly. Apart from removing the old caulking make sure the surface is clean and free of chipping paint, rust or mold. You can even use a wire brush or rubbing alcohol to guarantee the surface you are working on is clean and ready to go.

Loading the gun

Press the release the plunger at the end of the caulk gun with your thumb. Pull the plunger all the way back. Insert the tube of caulk into the gun with the nozzle in the front. Push the plunger securely into the back of the tube and remove your thumb. Cut the tip of the tube to make sure the hole matches the size of the gap you want to fill.

Applying caulk

Test the size of the caulking that comes out of your gun on a piece of paper towel. You want to ensure it is the proper size for the job you’re trying to complete. Hold the tube at a 45-degree angle and make sure to drag the caulk gun along the joint that you’re filling. Remember to apply a steady pressure as you apply the caulk. This will ensure an even application. When you’re finished applying the caulking, release the trigger and pull-back the rod behind the tube. This will stop the flow of the sealant.

Keep in mind that most times you can use a tool (i.e. paint stir stick, foam paintbrush, a spoon, a glove-covered finger) to pass over newly applied caulk. This is done to smooth it and push some of the caulk into areas that don’t have enough.

Cleaning Up

Clean up is essential when caulking because the sealant can dry quickly. Using a rag wipe up any mistakes or excess. Uncured or latex-based caulks can be cleaned up using water. Silicone caulk can only be removed using rubbing alcohol or paint thinner. If excess caulk is already dry you must scrape it off.

Part of the cleaning process includes capping off your partially used caulk tube. If you don’t have a stopper, then place a nail 2 inches into the nozzle of the tube. Then using a piece of plastic wrap or aluminum foil cover the tip of the tube to ensure it doesn’t dry out.

One More Application

From its origins as a stopper in wooden ships to sealing cracks and gaps in bathtubs, windows, doors and electrical wiring, caulking has proven to a be an excellent centuries-old tool. Yet like any new instrument it’s important that before you break open a tube of caulking you read the user instructions and follow all recommended guidelines. Make sure you use this sealant in a well-ventilated area and always wash your hands after you’ve handled it. Once you’ve taken all the necessary safety precautions caulking becomes quite straight forward. So what are you waiting for?  Lock-n-load and get to work!


Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream is a light-weight, unscented cream perfect for those who enjoy caulking or any other type of home repair. An application of our moisturizing, non-greasy formula means once you’re done a simple wipe is all it takes to clean up.


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