How To Use A Caulking Gun – Professional Advice, Tips and Tricks
We’ve had so many responses to our caulking gun / how to use caulk gun it’s fantastic…but people still seem to be wasting a lot of time and caulk gun effort!
This caulking gun article is meant to be a caulk gun for dummies lesson, no offence. The idea is, in a how to use a caulk gun lesson we can start slow, and you can skip on if you want… but stay and see how clever you already are by reading our how to use a caulk gun article s.l.ow.l.y.
Do you know how to use a caulking gun- or more importantly, do you want to know how to use a caulk gun
Look, using a caulk gun is easy. Making a clean job of what you’re doing is, also. It just takes a little time and care…then comes speed and skill. Do the first, and you will know the answer on how to use caulk gun quickly and cleanly. You will save quite a bit of time and money, too, because the caulk in your caulk gun costs $$, and it’s better in the cracks on the walls than on your drop cloths down below.
(Doesn’t matter how good you get, you still need drop sheets and, just so you know, proper painters canvas drop cloth is the only stuff to have.)
How to refill a caulk gun
The caulk gun operates on a simple trigger/lever system. It’s not hard; you slide the caulk thread end into the opposite end to the trigger, and gently set to position with one or two squeezes of the caulking gun to hold it in. Gentle, you just take up the slack of the caulking gun bar or slide to JUST hold it.
Then cut the screw end cover of the caulk tube away (Stanley Knife job, be safe…), leaving much of the VERY important thread still on. Then attach the point tube that guides the caulk. Now you will know if you cut the thread too close on your caulk. If you cut too close, just throw it out. (You don’t need the head ache) and try again. I’m betting you will only make that mistake once….. We all did.
Now cut the point tube to about 1/8 inch size of angle at about 50 degrees, so it’s like a needle tip. Your caulking guns is ready, but are you ready (ominous thunder…) to use a caulk gun?
The where and how to use a caulking gun are;
- Any cracks;
- seams in door frames (where they meet the wall)
- Skirting boards; ditto
- Ceiling cornices; yep, again.
- Around vents and openings of other nature.
Caulking guns make a job look really really smooth and professionally finished……
If you know how to use a caulk gun, and this is it……
- Have your caulk gun prepared as above (How to load a caulk gun)
Get a pan of plain old cold water, and a scrap of cloth you’re happy to throw when finished.
- NOTE – These cloths you need to wet, and keep a bit more than just damp. Wet. You will use it to wipe of the excessive bits of caulk to smooth and make seamless the cracks and filling. You rinse clean in the bucket, as you need to keep it gunk free so it stays smooth wiping.
- Start on gaps that are not seen straight away when you walk in a room- behind the door for instance.
- Moving left to right (or the other way if it suits you, just ONE direction )squeeze gently and repeatedly so the caulk of your caulking gun eases into the gaps, and once you have filled , oh say, an arm’s length area ( stops you from having to stop and keep coming back ).
- Wipe the area filled with a wet finger, then tidy up around the fill with the damp cloth.
Expert Tips During Caulking
Most caulk won’t sand, so make it clean with the wet cloth if it’s in places you don’t want. Make sure the caulk is level or “fits in” with the repaired area. As you learn how to use a caulking gun, your speed and skill improve very quickly.
Keep checking the finished work before it sets. This is important..
Are you out of filler on your caulk gun yet?
See the bar that’s been pushing the caulk out of your caulking gun? Look to the lever/ switch/ break tab that allows the bar to move free (well, it’s a bit sticky you will find, but you’ll get it.)
Now pull the push or slide bar all the way back toward you, drop the empty caulk gun tube, and replace the tube. Your caulking guns ready to go again. Save time by unscrewing the old point tube and re-fitting it to the new (replacement) tube .Don’t be tempted to mix pastes caulks or glue mixes with the same point tube. Too ugly, trust me.
So now you know how to use a caulk gun, and you are practiced in sneaky unseen places, check /clean your result and you will know how to a caulk gun in high traffic, high visibility areas, and all will be amazed at the quality of your work!
Seriously, practice, in the “dark” places, move to the easy seen when your good at it, and everyone will impressed at the way you know how to use a caulk gun.
See our review on easy to use caulk guns we’ve used. These are better for the format we like, and I think you will agree if you try them.
Still Need some More Tips with Caulk Guns? Read on…
Caulking guns are commonly used as an adhesive to bond materials and also used to seal gaps on different surfaces. With some practice, they are quite easy to use and do not require any advanced technical ability to master. If you want to seal against water and air, caulk is the easiest way to do it. Caulk is most commonly used to fill up cracks or little openings in walls, woods or other surfaces but there is a huge range of products available, see our definitive guide here….. If you just bought one and still aren’t sure exactly how to use it properly, there are some additional tops below to learn what a caulking gun can do for you and how best to use it.
- Always ensure you clean up the area you want to caulk. If the area is wet, use a dry rag to wipe any trace of water out. The caulk will not hold well when used on a wet surface. Next is to fix the caulk tube properly on the caulking gun, see our guide above. Make sure the tube is well placed at both ends of the gun and the plunger is central.
- Cut a tiny portion of the spout at the tip. You can cut it straight or cut at an angle. Whichever way you want to cut, make sure to cut it properly to get the ideal quantity of caulk sprouting out from the tube. If it is your first time, create a small opening so you don’t splatter the caulk and make a mess when squeezing the trigger. Some caulks are packaged in a cardboard tube. If that is the type you have, you will need to use a puncturing device (most cardboard tubes come with one) to open up the seal.
- When you are set, squeeze the trigger or gun handler slowly as you draw the gun towards you. Then release the gun handle when you have reached a maximum point. It automatically springs back. When it goes back to its original state, you can pull again. How quickly you pull the gun and how hard you pull the trigger will determine the amount of caulk applied on each spot. If you pull harder more caulk will sprout out and if you pull slowly less will sprout. So, you have to apply the right amount of force based on the type of filling you are doing.
- After filling the area, clean off the excess caulk on the surface with a damp, almost wet towel. Then clean again with a dry towel. This is very important. Do it every time you are about to move the ladder or yourself further on during the project. If you think its easy to come back and do it all later on, think again. Once the caulk does its job and sets, you asre in for a difficult and tiresome job. Do it straigth away, the easy way.
Safety Tips when Using a Caulking Gun
- To avoid making a mess, avoid staying close to the bead. Rather, stay slightly away as you squeeze the caulk. Before you apply, try to use an off area to experiment with the trigger. You will discover that you may need more or less to complete your task.
- Remember that there are different types of caulks available such as latex, acrylic, and silicon. Silicon doesn’t take paint well but lasts longer than the other types.
- After use, make sure you store it properly away from children.
Check out how these professionals do it here…