How to use decorator's caulk

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How to use decorator's caulk
Caulk seals seams between sinks and walls. (IT Stock/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Ageing caulk is easy to spot; it will start to turn brown and become brittle and cracked. It is important to deal with old caulk quickly to keep mildew at bay and protect your walls from water damage. Applying decorator's caulk around a sink, tub or shower stall will quickly spruce up your bathroom or kitchen. All the tools can be found at your local hardware shop and the process should not take more than one hour.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 5-in-1 painter's tool
  • Razor blade or utility knife
  • Dry, nonabrasive cleaning pad
  • White spirit
  • Paper towels or dry rag
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Caulking gun
  • Lint-free rag or paper towel

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Slice away old caulk with fast, precise strokes using a 5-in-1 painter's tool and a razor or utility knife. Use a plastic razor blade on plastic sinks, baths and surrounds to avoid scratches.

  2. 2

    Scour away caulk residue with a dry, nonabrasive cleaning pad. Use a soft rag dampened with white spirit to clean up plastic fixtures. Wipe a damp cotton rag over the joint to remove the dust. Dry the area with paper towels or a dry rag. Make sure that you have a clean, dry surface.

  3. 3

    Attach blue painter's tape in parallel strips 9 mm (3/8 inch) apart on either side of the area you are going to caulk.

  4. 4

    Hold the caulking gun with the nozzle hole positioned toward the joint. Hold the gun equidistant from the surfaces on either side of the joint, about 45 degrees out from it. Apply steady pressure to the trigger while moving the gun smoothly along the entire length of the joint. Push or pull the gun according to your personal preference. Keep the gun moving at a steady speed that is compatible with the speed of the caulk coming out of the nozzle.

  5. 5

    Dampen a lint-free rag or paper towel and hold it against the joint as soon as the seams are filled with caulk. Press one finger against the rag and run it along the joint to gently press the caulk into a concave shape.

  6. 6

    Remove the tape one strip at a time, making sure it does not touch any of the fresh caulk.

  7. 7

    Smooth the caulk one more time to get rid of any small ridges left by the tape. Let the caulk dry for at least 24 hours before using the sink, shower or bath.

Tips and warnings

  • Look for tubes of caulk labelled "Bath and Tile" or "Kitchen and Bath." These are best for baths, sinks and shower enclosures. These acrylic latex or silicone compounds are mildew resistant and designed to adhere to smooth, nonporous surfaces.

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