Applying caulk thickness?

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Old 08-30-12, 06:34 AM
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Applying caulk thickness?

I'm thinking of re-caulking bathtub. I've watched a few tutorials on youtube and it seems like a straightforward job.

One thing i've noticed on the video's is that they all apply a very small amount of calk resulting in a thin line which looks less than a centimeter thick. On our bathroom is the caulking seems to have to be applied a little wider (or thicker) than what I have seem on the tutorials. I guess it has to do with the gaps or grooves between the tub and the walls or tiles but the caulked area around our bathtub is around two or three times as wide as on the tutorials online. I've done a search and none of them have addressed this issue, since it's probably not that common, and I couldn't find anything on here either.

I'd like to know, when applying caulk that needs to be a little thicker, is it simply a matter of cutting lower on the applicator for a thicker spread or do I cut higher up for a smaller spread and just go over the area two or three times?

Apologies for my lack of technical jargon, hope this makes sense to you guys.
 
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Old 08-30-12, 06:41 AM
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The size of the caulk bead needs to match the gap you are filling. So, if you have a thick gap you will need to make a bigger bead. I cut the tip back further so a larger bead comes out and make only one pass.

Best is if you run a strip of masking tape down both sides of the bead area for the width you want. Immediately after applying the caulk and squeegeeing it out remove the tape which will create nice straight edges and leave the caulk with some thickness at the edges for durability.

Probably next best is if you actually use the squeegee that will form the caulk to a nice 45 degree angle. If you apply it neatly from the tube you may not need to go over it at all but if you make a somewhat rounded bead it can leave a very thin concave area where the caulk meets the surface which can collect dirt and be difficult to clean. If you go over it with your finger try not to feather the edges too much. The very thin film at the edges often comes loose or tears over time and you are left with flaps hanging loose from the edge of the caulk line.
 
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Old 08-30-12, 06:49 AM
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Definitely cut the tip to give you the bead you need in one pass, trying to caulk to fresh caulk with multiple passes would not be fun.

There's a kit you can buy with different pieces of plastic for making the finished edge on the caulk which I think would be a good thing for a beginner. It was on TV first but I've seen it at Target in their "As Seen on TV" section. I think it was $20 and came with a small tube of caulk as well. That said, Dane's masking tape tip is an excellent one.
 
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Old 08-30-12, 07:12 AM
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I've never used masking tape when caulking but I can see where it could be advantageous to those that aren't proficient with a caulking gun. The better the caulk is applied the less it will need to be 'tooled' off although it does need to be pressed into the crack some which will help the caulk job to last longer. It also helps to have a damp rag or small sponge handy [water for latex, paint thinner for silicone] to clean off any excess caulk from the tube's tip or the substrate being caulked - it also helps you to keep your fingers cleaner
 
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Old 08-30-12, 07:27 AM
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I've never tried using tape, but I could see it making very sharp, clean lines.
Only down side I see with the tape is it's a fair bit more time consuming when compared to free hand if you know what you are doing.
 
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Old 08-30-12, 07:40 AM
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Thanks for the quick replies!

I've had another look, the width ranges from 2.1cm to around 2.5cm and around 2.8 at it's widest area. I don't know how deep it goes into the crack though. I'll think it through some more and if i decide to go for it I may try to cut out a small portion to see how deep it goes in.


As for the tool you all have mentioned, I've seen and I'm definietly going to get one if I go ahead with the job. Using the finger to smooth it out seems pretty easy but if there's anyone who can mess up that sort of thing, it me
 
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Old 08-30-12, 10:01 AM
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If you try using your finger rubbing alcohol can prevent the solvent based silicone caulks from sticking to your finger.
 
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Old 08-30-12, 10:09 AM
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Re-caulking a tub/shower is pretty straight forward. The key is patients and situate yourself so you can continue the bead the entire run as smoothly as possible(corner to corner). This will help keep the mess and excess caulking to a minimum.

One thing not mentioned (or I missed) is to make sure the area you are caulking is clean and free of dirt or old caulking. It needs to be dry as well.
 
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Old 08-30-12, 10:12 AM
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One thing not mentioned (or I missed) is to make sure the area you are caulking is clean and free of dirt or old caulking. It needs to be dry as well
Good point Mike! Caulk doesn't adhere well to dirt/soap scum and any water behind the caulking will try to migrate out making the caulk fail in the process
 
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Old 08-30-12, 10:27 AM
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Yes, excellent point, Mike - clean out all the old caulk and any dirt/soap scum and then I like to wipe down with alcohol a few minutes before I caulk to get rid of the last little bit of residue and moisture.
 
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Old 08-30-12, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mitch17
clean out all the old caulk and any dirt/soap scum and then I like to wipe down with alcohol a few minutes before I caulk to get rid of the last little bit of residue and moisture.
^^ This and I'll use the wife's hair dryer to make sure I get everything out.
 
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Old 08-30-12, 10:19 PM
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I bought a small tube of sealant and cut out a small gap around the kitchen sink for me to practice on. When I removed the caulk, around three inches in length for me to lay a practice layer over, I noticed there was another layer of caulk underneath, totally white and unaffected by the mold over the top layer. I guess it was used to fill the gap between the sink and the wall. When I remove the rest of the caulk to redo the kitchen area, I guess it's better if I leave this layer alone right?





[QUOTE Definitely cut the tip to give you the bead you need in one pass, trying to caulk to fresh caulk with multiple passes would not be fun.][/QUOTE]


So what's the best way of going over any uneven parts in the gap? If most of the gap is around 2cm and there are parts which are wider, should I just cut the tip to match the widest part, or should i cut to the narrowest part and just go back over the wide areas after finishing the line?
 
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Old 08-31-12, 06:16 AM
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I noticed there was another layer of caulk underneath, totally white and unaffected by the mold over the top layer.
Are you sure that is caulking? It might grout [or joint compound if the wall is painted]

I tend to cut the tip size according to the majority of the width of caulk needed. You can slow up a little bit when you get to the wider areas to force more caulk into the wider gap.
 
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Old 08-31-12, 08:14 AM
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I go slower and squeeze the tube harder in spots where the gap is bigger to get more product into that area.
 
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Old 08-31-12, 09:21 AM
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With the small squeeze tube it's too much of an issue, but with a caulking gun, watch how much you squeeze the trigger near the end of your runs. I've made messes because I squeezed too much of the trigger near the end of a run and the caulking kept coming out.
 
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Old 08-31-12, 11:41 AM
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So what's the best way of going over any uneven parts in the gap?
Slow down the movement and leave more caulk at the wider gaps, as mentioned. As soon as you can safely set the tube or gun aside, smooth and gently press the caulk into place with a wet finger - water for latex caulk; mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol for silicone caulk. Move from one end of the entire bead to the other. You can lift, clean, and re-wet your finger, but try to not touch the same area twice.
 
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Old 08-31-12, 03:16 PM
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I didn't even think about those squeeze tubes of caulk, I try not to use them because you get better control with a caulking gun. There can be a big difference between caulking guns. I think I paid about $20 a piece for the lasts ones I bought. The better guns give you better control and are less likely to keep pumping out caulk when you quit squeezing the trigger. That said, some tubes of caulk will run on no matter what you do
 
 

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