Spring has Sprung… and this means the DIY season has begun.

Almost everyone knows that the Winter can be pretty hard on our homes, and typically Springtime is when we all get to work on those home repair and remodeling jobs made necessary by the harsh Winter season.  While you can call on your favorite contractor to handle the job, many people opt to do their own painting and repair jobs. However you plan to tackle these chores, having some additional knowledge will help make whatever project you are working on so much easier. Caulk is a very important part of painting and home repair, but using a caulking gun can sometimes be a little tricky. This is why we are offering a couple of secrets that can make the job look much better and make caulking so much easier!

Of course, caulking fills cracks, making your home more energy efficient. It can also help to keep invasive insects out. But, the best part of caulk is that it is flexible enough to withstand the stress and strain without cracking when different areas of your home expand and shrink depending on weather. And, of course, caulk provides a moister barrier for areas that should not get wet and will help to prevent rot in those areas. Caulking should generally be done before any painting, but sometimes it can be done after both interior and exterior painting where cracks have been missed.

It always helps to have the right tools, so, of course you will want to select enough tubes of caulk appropriate for the type of job you are doing.  The job will also go much smoother if you are equipped with a caulking gun, and a bucket of water, some rags, a step ladder, and plenty of patience.

The two most popular types of caulk used for around the house Do It Yourself projects are Painters Caulk and  Acrylic latex. Painters caulk can be used to fill cracks and smooth joined corners on interior surfaces and is both inexpensive and offers an easy soap and water clean up after the job is done. Acrylic Latex has the added benefit of interior and exterior use, also cleans up with soap and water and is fortified. For normal painting/sealing projects both of these are easy to use. Of course there are several other specialty caulks, some of which (like Silicone Caulk) do not readily accept paint after drying, so, it’s always a good idea to ensure that you are using a caulk that matches the area that you are working on. There are special caulks for tiles, baths, concrete, gutters and roof repairs.

Working with caulk can be fairly easy if you equip yourself with the basic tools. The first, and probably the most important tool is your caulking gun. Quality really counts. A good caulking gun will have features that can make your job so much easier, and leave you with a professional looking result.

Look for a gun that has quick release tab at the back and is “dripless”. This will make the job a great deal faster, and farless frustrating.  You will also want a caulking gun with a fairly high thrust ratio.  This is so you can save strain on your hands and arms with an “easy squeeze”.  A revolving barrel is another fine feature for corners and other hard to reach places.  And, of course, you will want one that includes a fairly precise seal puncture and spout cutting tool. This is so you can save yourself the guesswork of trying to get a precisely angled and sized cut with a knife or a case-cutter.  Cutting too much off will leave you with too much caulk gushing out of the tube, making a sloppy goopy mess, and having a hole too small for the caulk to come out will takes too much time and energy to lay a smooth unbroken bead, and really make your job harder than it should be. (You can get a pretty nice Caulking Gun along with a whole lot of other great products for working with all kinds of caulk, adhesives, paint, and sealants at a pretty nice price here: www.caulkwarmer.com

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Once you have set the tube of Caulk into the Caulking Gun press and release the trigger several times until you see the caulk coming down the end of the tube. Once you see it you can release the trigger which will throttle the thrust avoiding waste, seepage, and spills. Each time you run a bead you must remember to release the trigger or the caulk will continue to run out of the end of the tube.

Before you begin to caulk, you will want to have a bucket of clean water handy and a cleaning rag. Old wash cloths work very well for this because they are nicely sized, and will wring out to remain damp without being drippy. If you are tackling a big caulking projects you may want to periodically change your water.

Some people find that find that pushing the caulk bead works best, but most people find that pulling the bead brings the best result. Whichever method you choose, you will want to start at one side of the crack and work a short distance, then stop the bead and release the trigger. Put the caulk gun down and pick up your wet rag, dragging it down the center of the bead, removing any excess caulk with it in the rag. By doing this you can pushe the caulk deep into the crack and create a fine, neat line. You might have to repeat the process once you have rinsed your rag out. You can do it several times to wipe up any excess and blend the caulk into the crack against the wall.

Once you have finished caulking you can let the caulk dry according to the manufacturers recommendations. Once the caulk is dry enough to begin painting, you may want to apply the first coat of paint or primer, let it dry, and then go back and re-caulk the places that stand out or you have missed. Most people use white caulk but it comes in all types of colors and also clear. Picking whatever color is works best for the project at hand is always a good idea.

A proper job of caulking can bring immediate rewards to either an old house or new construction, making your work look much nicer and neater while sealing and protecting your property.

Spring has Sprung, and this means it’s a good time to tackle your DIY chores with the right tube of caulk, and a good caulking gun!

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