How To Apply Caulking Products

Using a fitch brush to apply caulking products makes any caulking job quick and clean. The method works for any type of caulk.

The history of caulk in America began in 1638 when Finnish settlers built the first log cabins in America along the banks of the Delaware River. They shoved clay and moss into the cracks between logs to keep out the winter cold.

Modern caulk is no longer made of clay but of materials such as silicone and acrylics. Applying caulk in and around your house is among the easiest and most beneficial of all homeowner projects. Like the clay chinking of pioneer days, today's caulk also seals small gaps in brick, wood, drywall and other common house construction materials. Trapping interior heated or cooled air will save many dollars of utility costs but caulking pays even bigger dividends.

A properly caulked house will direct moisture away from the foundation and wooden support systems preventing rot to the structure of the house. Caulked gaps also prevent wood-devouring insects from easy gateways to your house's framing. And yet another thing the flexible caulk will keep out of your living space - noise, thus increasing the aural comfort of your home.

There are many types of caulk. The one you choose will depend on your project. If you will be painting over the caulk you cannot use a silicone-based caulk since it is not paintable. Silicone will bond to almost anything, however, making it a good sealant for non-porous substances such as ceramic tile, glass and metal surfaces. A masonry caulk retains elasticity and will remain in cracks in mortar and concrete. Caulk comes in many colors to match the existing surface color. You can even buy a clear caulk.

Caulk is applied from either a squeeze tube or a caulk gun, with the gun usually being the preferable of the two in laying a precise bead of caulk. To begin, slice open the tube of caulk at a 45-degree angle with a utility knife. Practice a little with the gun, engaging and releasing the trigger. After laying down the desired bead of caulk, immediately release the trigger which will halt the flow of caulk.

After applying the caulk you may be tempted to even out the bead with your finger - as all the home improvement shows and instructional books direct. Resist the temptation. Before setting about on your caulking adventure purchase a small fitch brush which is commonly used to apply shellac. A fitch brush is shaped like a closed rose pedal. Also bring along a small container of water to your point of attack.

After laying down your bead of caulk, dip your fitch brush in the water and brush down the bead until it is smooth and has completely filled the gap. If you have laid down too heavy a bead, you may have to dip the brush more than once to keep the caulk workable. Dip the brush back in the water to keep caulk from building up in the bristles and repeat the process until you have sealed the entire joint. Using this "wet caulkiing" method is quicker than your finger, tidier than your finger and creates a more attractive finish. And no more will you recoil in pain from rubbing your finger across a jagged splinter.

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