Decorators caulk is used to fill gaps prior to decorating. It has several advantages over filler – it is easily smoothed without the need for sanding and it only needs an hour or so to dry before it can be overpainted.
The biggest advantage, however, is that it is flexible. This means that it is quite forgiving of expansion and contraction between different materials. If you’ve ever used filler to fill gaps around door frames or along the top edge of skirting boards, you’ll know how easily this cracks and spoils your work.
Typical uses will include caulking the gaps between the top edge of skirting boards and walls, gaps around window and door frames, and cracks in the corners of walls.
Preparing the Caulk
1. The caulk is supplied in tubes for use in a caulking gun. When buying caulk make sure that the nozzle supplied with the tube is still attached. Without it you won’t be able to use it. Trim the nozzle at a 30 degree angle using a sharp craft knife. The amount you trim off determines the width of the bead.
2. Cut the seal off the end of the threaded top of the tube and attach the nozzle.
3. Load the tube in the caulking gun. Insert the nozzle through the end of the frame and align the cartridge with the push rod.
4. Squeeze the trigger a few times until the caulk just begins to flow.
5. Hold the gun at the start of the gap and at an angle to the surface then, squeeze the trigger smoothly to get an even flow of caulk coming out of the nozzle. At the same time, draw the gun back along the gap.
6. With a little practice you’ll find that you can vary the speed with which you draw the gun along the gap, and the how quickly the caulk comes out, to get just the right amount every time.
7. You’re aiming to get a bead of caulk that is just wide enough to fill the gap but not so much that there is loads of excess.
8. Run the bead along the entire length of the gap.
9. With a wet finger, smooth the caulk so that it seals the gap and the excess is removed as you go. Keep an old rag with you so that you can wipe excess caulk off your finger.
10. Once smoothed, use a damp cloth to wipe lightly along the gap to feather out and excess at the edges leaving the work clean and smooth.
11. Caulk can be used around window frames and sills making it easy to cut in paint work later.
12. When the work is finished, you can release the cartridge from the caulking gun by squeezing the release trigger mounted at the back of the handle. This releases the pressure on the rod which can then be slid backwards and the tube can be taken out.
13. If the part used cartridge is left as it is, the caulk will dry and set in the nozzle. The best way to deal with this is to seal it by inserting an old nail in the nozzle. This can then be pulled out when the caulk is needed again. Other methods include using cling film wrapped tightly around the nozzle. This excludes the air and prevents the caulk from drying.
14. Allow the caulk to dry before overpainting. Check on the tube but this is usually about an hour.