Caulking 101

May 23, 2022 by Chief Officer Wesley Walton

It’s a messy job, but manageable if you keep a few points in mind.

I think we can all agree that whether you are caulking a countertop, shower, teak deck, or window, it’s a messy job. Here are some tips to ensure you can walk away from every caulking job with your head held high.

Preparation is key. Make sure you have taken out all of the old caulking and treated the surface below it, i.e. mold or rust that was held behind the old caulking.

Tape off neat corners and lines you want to follow. If the surface is wet, the tape may not stick and could ruin your job. Try using a pneumatic air hose to blow all the moisture out.

Use the correct caulking for the job at hand. There are plenty of types for various purposes; make sure you select the one best suited to the job at hand.

Protect your work area. Place drop towels or set up painter’s plastic around the area you are working on. If you do happen to spill caulking on a teak deck, the best cleanup solution is to leave it for 24 hours, then blade it off with a razor. Trying to clean it immediately can result in smudging it into the grain of the teak.

Always use appropriate PPE. Be aware that if you use gloves, you may not always notice your hands have wet caulking on them, and this can lead to you spreading the mess when touching other tools or parts of the boat.

There are various methods to get a neat edge, such as the old “finger and soap” approach, or using edging tools. Here’s a secret: Peel a potato and cut it into the shape you need. This allows you to choose your own shape, and the moisture from the potato allows for a smooth finish.

Pulling the tape when the caulking is wet is extremely messy, especially when it’s windy. Try filling up an old work bucket with water and putting the pulled tape into the bucket. This stops the tape from blowing around and spreading wet

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