For many new homeowners who are inexperienced in maintaining their homes, caulking is one of the more challenging sealing techniques to master. The type of sealant, the amount of preparation, the application method, and even a tiny detail such as cutting the tip wrongly can result in uneven caulking. The result is often a cracked, flaky, and dried sealant surface with weak adhesion and low durability and will need to be redone. We share some common mistakes of caulking and how to avoid them.
Skipping on The Priming Process
To achieve the best possible result, you will have to prime the surface before applying the sealant. Your chances of your sealant lasting long will be significantly lower if you do not set a good foundation for your caulking. When priming the surface, you will need to remove the old layer of caulk. The older caulk will contain debris, dust, flaking paint, stains that can contaminate your new caulk and affect its longevity and adhesion strength. Think of priming as an extra measure to provide a smooth base for your painting work to achieve a more even and seamless surface. You are likely to get the best aesthetic results when you have prepared your surface with a compatible primer.
Cutting The Tip Wrongly
Many mistake this as a minor detail that will not affect the application process. However, this can make the difference in dispensing a smoother bead. The tips are tapered in a conventional sealant tube and can be cut accordingly to tailor the size to your job requirements and needs. Unfortunately, most beginners tend to overlook this detail and cut it without considering the wide and depth of the gap they will be filling. This can result in an uneven application during caulking. Often, this results in excess product and a sticky mess that cannot be tooled. Instead, cut the tip slightly smaller than the opening, then exert more pressure and use speed to adjust the size of the bead.
Skipping out on The Backing Material
Most beginners tend to skip out on the backing material as they feel like it is not related to the application technique of the sealant. Usually, large gaps the measure more than ½” will require a backing material like a foam rope to fill up the majority of the cavity. However, in practice, pumping a deep crack like that is not cost-effective and can cause a reduction in the adhesion strength of the sealant. Placing a backing material allows air and moisture to flow through, which expedites the curing process of the sealant and provides the best aesthetic appearance.
Forgetting to Tool The Surface
Tooling is one of the most critical steps in caulking and is key to helping you achieve that smooth and seamless surface that you desire. While it may sound complicated, it is actually a very simple process. All you will need is a tool like a spatula, a plastic spoon dipped in solvent, and use it to smooth the surface out with even pressure. This will push the caulk to occupy the cavity and reach the backing material fully while creating a clean, even smooth finish.