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Learn How To Use a Caulking Gun

Updated on March 6, 2012
Learn how to use a caulking gun and get professional results.
Learn how to use a caulking gun and get professional results. | Source

Caulk has a wide variety of uses in and around the home. Caulking gaps and cracks helps save on cooling and heating costs. Caulk also creates a water barrier between the outdoors and the indoor surfaces. Most caulk comes in a ready to use formula packed in a tube. There are a wide variety of caulking compounds available for a wide range of applications. Caulk comes specialized for use on roofs, around windows, furnaces, duct work, outdoor, indoor, heat resistant, flexible and paintable along with many, many other projects. Applying caulk loaded into a caulking gun is not difficult, but it does require practice and a steady hand. Once the technique is mastered, you will be caulking like a pro in no time.

Picking the Right Caulking Gun

For most do it yourself projects – a caulking gun is a caulking gun – no need for in depth research.

Loading Caulk into a Caulking Gun

Slide the caulking gun plunger back all the way back. Listen for a click which lets you know the plunger is locked in place.

Insert the pointy end of the tube of caulk through the circle on the end of the caulking gun.

Slowly and carefully slide the plunger down toward the bottom of the tube until the plunger meets the bottom of the caulk tube.

Slice the pointed tip of the caulk tube off with a utility knife at a 45 degree angle. Make the cut near the point to prevent the caulk from escaping freely from the tub.

Pierce the inner skin on the tube with a sharp nail.

How to Use the Caulking Gun

Hold the caulking gun at a 45-degree angle to the project.

Begin at a corner or end of a gap or crack, rather than somewhere in the middle of the line where the caulk will lie.

Squeeze the trigger while keeping the caulking gun in constant motion. The caulk expressed in a line is known as a bead.

Make sure your hands stay as steady as possible.

Move the caulking gun in a steady, fluid motion, without stopping in the middle.

Keep squeezing the trigger and depositing caulk along the length of the gap or crack.

Remember – long straight lines create a better, neater seal than a series of short lines.

Caulking Tips

Wear thin latex gloves when caulking to keep the caulk off your skin.

Wet the tip of your gloved finger and drag your finger along the bead while lightly pressing it down to create a flat even bead.

You can also drag the convex side of plastic spoon along the bead to make the caulk surface flat.

You can also use a tongue depressor or popsicle stick to push the caulk in place.

If you are going to caulk a bathtub, fill the bathtub up with water before caulking. Let the caulk dry and then drain the bathtub. This method will keep the caulk from pulling away from the tub edges after the tub caulk dries.

Wait for caulk to dry fully, shave off jagged and rough edges with a sharp utility knife.

Practice expressing beads of caulk on cardboard, paper or wood before trying it on the real project.

Pick the type of caulk based on the project.


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    • JON EWALL profile image

      JON EWALL 6 years ago from usa


      May I add?

      The tip is beveled which allows one to control the size of the caulking joint as one installs the caulking materal. A fine small joint, cut at the very edge of the funneled tube.When finished caulking, place a nail in the tube long enough to penetrate the left over material so when reusing later the tip will not be dried out.