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how to make a perfect caulk line?

geoffhazel's picture

I was working on a bathroom where they had had an acrylic overlay tub and surround installed, and I put in new flooring.  The tub guys had put a really beautiful silicone caulk line at the floor, a perfect quarter round and not small, about 3/8 or 1/2" high, and it was so perfect I thought at first it was the acrylic flared out at the bottom.  Now that I've cut it all out, I need to replace it and I'll be darned if I can figure out how they got such a nice straight even caulk line.


any suggestions before I head over there on Tuesday to finish up?


 

(post #104629, reply #1 of 20)

Hire the tub guys.

;o)

I have never ever come near to laying a perfect caulk line. I'd like to know the secret, too.

=0)

Yeh... That'll work.


.

It's a small world. Until you have to walk home...

(post #104629, reply #2 of 20)

Use blue tape, regular masking will work too.  Apply the tape beautifully to the tub and to the floor.  Run a bead of caulk (not too big, not too small, in that space.  Lick your finger and draw it along the bead, making the edge at the tape as thin as possible.  Pull the tape up and away at the tub, do the same on the floor.


Don't touch it afterward.


A line as straight as you tape it.  It'll be a cove, not a qtr round.  Best I can come up with.


A great place for Information, Comraderie, and a sucker punch.


Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.



http://www.quittintime.com/


 

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


(post #104629, reply #15 of 20)

I love the taste of silicone on my index finger!


 

 

"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." — Sherlock Holmes, 1896

(post #104629, reply #18 of 20)

eric,   I hate silicone.  I use it sparingly as I have had to recaulk another's silicone too many times and have struggled with the removal and film.  I'd rather use urethane or normal kit./ bath siliconized acrylic. 


But yeah, nothing like the taste and fumes. 


A great place for Information, Comraderie, and a sucker punch.


Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.



http://www.quittintime.com/


 

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


(post #104629, reply #19 of 20)

ditto


Sillycone sucks other than for the purpose of glazing.


The stickier and gooier the better.


Butyl rubber.


Silkaflex, Lexel etc. Try tearing it apart 10 yrs. from now.


 

 

"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking." — Sherlock Holmes, 1896

(post #104629, reply #3 of 20)

It may depend on the brand of caulk.

Of course there are various schemes for using masking tape, wet fingers, various special tools, etc. Some swear by rubbing alcohol instead of water. I've never found anything to work well with the newer caulks.

Way back in the day, the original silicone caulk handled much better.


So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for everything one has a mind to do. --Benjamin Franklin


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #104629, reply #4 of 20)

paint thinner for the wetting solution..

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming


WOW!!! What a Ride!
Forget the primal scream, just ROAR!!!

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #104629, reply #5 of 20)

Tape as Cal said, but cut the tube 2 times, once at about 45* then rotate and cut a smaller slice off, make a VEE, the big flat or bevel rides the tape, the smaller bevel leaves a bead, not a schmear.


Edit: Pull don't push.


Edited 8/21/2007 7:09 am ET by Sphere

www.richmondrenovationsandrestoration.com  

(post #104629, reply #6 of 20)

Tape on either side. Use a rubber coving tool or, in a pinch, a plastic spoon will work. After it sets up a bit, remove the tape.


Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA

Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA
Everything fits, until you put glue on it.

(post #104629, reply #7 of 20)

For years I used the tape and wet finger technique. Last year I found a caulk joint tool at Lowes. Little plastic handle with some kind of foam / plastic curved tip that will flex. Amazed at how well it worked. I get perfect cove every time. Well worth the couple bucks, and no need to keep wiping your finger off and re-wetting.

(post #104629, reply #8 of 20)

When the caulk gods are with me, I have had good luck just pushing the bead ahead of the nozzle. Got to watch and get just the right amount pushing out ahead of the nozzle. Pushing it (I know, one poster here and lots of others will tell you to pull it, not push) forces the caulk into the groove and helps it stick. I have always found that when pulling, the caulk adheres to itself better than to the surface and pulls into long thin strands that break or roll up. If it works well, and there are no imperfections to make the nozzle "hang up" and stop moving while caulk continues to fow, making a glob, you do get a round bead. Then just leave it alone. Nozzle should be clean and you should wipe excess caulk off of it after each uninterupted pass along a joint.

(post #104629, reply #9 of 20)

Hey, if I am doing a chimney counterflash, then YUP, a push is better, but for me, a better looking bead in say a tub situ, is had by pulling.


Filling a void or concealing a join are two different methods ( for me).


Just to claify (G)


 

www.richmondrenovationsandrestoration.com  

(post #104629, reply #11 of 20)

Here's a tip I picked up from a granite guy:

Fill a small spray bottle with rubbing alcohol (from the drug store), run your caulk, spritz it with the alcohol, and then tool it with your finger.

I used this trick recently for white silicone around a white toilet base on a dark tile floor, and it worked perfectly.

Maybe regular alcohol would work too, but he was adamant about the rubbing alcohol.

********************************************************
"It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that counts."

John Wooden 1910-


Edited 8/21/2007 9:55 am by nikkiwood

******************************************************** "It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that counts." John Wooden 1910-2010

(post #104629, reply #12 of 20)

I did the ol' "blue tape on both sides of the line" trick. It makes a nice straight and even line for sure; the only thing about it is, the edges are the thickness of the tape. That isn't necessarily bad; in fact, it looks like a manufactured strip laid in there; its just that those other guy's line was so freakin' perfect. I'd love to watch them do one sometime.


 

(post #104629, reply #13 of 20)

<<I did the ol' "blue tape on both sides of the line" trick.>>

That's the way I always did it in the past when I needed a really neat caulk line.

But this thing with rubbing alcohol really does work slick; I tried it too with regular caulk (acrylic with silicone), and it works well there too.

********************************************************
"It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that counts."

John Wooden 1910-

******************************************************** "It is what we learn after we think we know it all, that counts." John Wooden 1910-2010

(post #104629, reply #14 of 20)

do not use saliva because the bacteria causes mold

(post #104629, reply #16 of 20)

If saliva is going to cause mold then don't use the caulk.


So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for everything one has a mind to do. --Benjamin Franklin


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #104629, reply #17 of 20)

>>I did the ol' "blue tape on both sides of the line" trick. It makes a nice straight and even line for sure; the only thing about it is, the edges are the thickness of the tape.

Geoff, the tape trick is probably what was used..but you didn't do it quite right. For silicone (or urethane, or any other solvent-based caulk) you need to pull the tape immediately after tooling it--BEFORE it tacks. Also, make sure when you tool it to push hard (w/ your finger or whatever) so that the margin of the caulk at the tape line is not proud of the tape thickness.

Then immediately after you pull the tape, wet your finger w/ the solvent and just 'float' it over the bead to ease the edges. Works every time. With practice, you'll make a caulk line look so good, it'll look fake.

(post #104629, reply #20 of 20)

I was taught Dentatured Alchohol to be used with Silicones.


Aplly bead to said area.  Lightly spray area.  Spray finger. Wipe.  Sili no stick to wet area.  Clean as necessary

(post #104629, reply #10 of 20)

Yeah, pushing is far better if the caulking gods are with you. But most silicones (and a lot of silicone-fortified latex) seem to be too gooey for that to work well.


So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for everything one has a mind to do. --Benjamin Franklin


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville