Want to learn how to use a caulking gun? When it comes to home improvements and fixing, caulking is the simplest and ingenious way of getting things done. Its applications run from sealing joints in the wall, fixing the sink and applying to finish on your tiled floor. They are best when it comes to weatherproofing surfaces and also prevent leakages.
Caulking is quite a simple process that can be done by anyone. At the start, it may seem challenging but after a little practice you will get a hang of it. the good thing about it is the results are exceptional when done in the right way. It will never disappoint you when it comes to performance as long as you’ve got the right requirements for the process.
Getting a hold on a high tech gun can come in handy. It will make the process short and less tiring. Also, it will guarantee you the best outcome. During selection, you don’t have to focus on the device complexity. You will realize many professionals rely on the manual design to get the work done in perfection.
But despite that, it’s vital to focus on some few features which are basic. If you are on free-spending with no budget restriction, it’s not a bad idea to go after the exceptional designs. For some reasons, they often get the job done in a professional manner. In this case a gun which is battery powered can be among your options in your list of choice.
What is the function of a caulk gun?
The tool is crafted to serve a specific role. The design has a compartment which accommodates a standard caulk tube and dispenses its content on the intended place. This is done through fixing the tube on the tool and the plunger set in place. The plunger presses the tube from behind creating pressure in the tube content forcing them out through the nozzle.
You can have an option of a manual tool design which you have to dispense the materials through your effort. Or you may go for an automatic option where the plunging will be done for you by battery power. But despite your choice of design, ensure its leak-proof and has a pressure release point.
How do you caulk a gun?
The process of caulking is quite simple and only intricate when you follow the wrong steps. A wrong move during the process and you may end up redoing the whole process. There is nothing worse than redoing a job you were through with it. And even worse, you may have to replace the caulk tube, creating for you an inconvenient expense.
But there is no need to worry; we’ve got your back. Below are the simple and straight forward steps to do your caulking. They will guide you through to get a professional finish.
- Collect the necessary supplies you will need
Once you begin caulking, it’s a good idea to have all the necessary supplies within your reach. This will cut off any interruptions as a result of looking for an item you need. it will also ensure your focus on the work at hand.
You will need tools such as a caulk tube, caulking gun, paint scraper, putty knife and a few rags, brushes, disinfectant, alcohol, hot water, painter’s tape, scissors, pieces of clothing, and spoon. But when it comes to caulking tube, you have to be certain the number of tubes you have will be enough to complete the job.
You can pick the tubes depending on the size of the surface you will cover and the average of the gap you will fill. But if we assume the gap you need to cover is half an inch wide, then one tube will cover approximately 3 to 4 frames of door or windows.
Due to the gap variability, there is no caulk tube which indicates the coverage of its content. However, you will get other vital details that you will need when considering which type to pick. These include material, color, mildew resistance, setting time and the proper place to apply the caulk.
It’s often advised to overestimate the number of tubes you will need. This is because you can return the tubes that will remain after completing the job. This is much better than going back to the store for some more during the caulking time.
- Preparing the surface
Begin by scraping off the debris from your working surface. it can be painted, the old caulk or simply lose particles. Through this, you will be creating a foundation which is more firm with the potential to hold the caulk well. Also, through this, you can estimate the amount of caulk you will need to complete the job.
- If it’s an old caulk, insert the sharp tip of the party knife at the old caulk base. Then gently push the knife from the handle starting from one end of the old caulk to the other. Ensure you peel off all the caulk.
- If its debris, use a soft brush to scrub off any loose particles ensuring the surface is left clean.
- And if you are removing silicone caulk, lift up one end and using the needle-nose pliers, pull out the strip.
- Washing the crack
You can clean the crack using a piece of cloth, hot water, disinfectant, and alcohol. Fill a container with hot water and soak clothe in it. Using another clothe rub the crack with a disinfectant or alcohol to clean it off. Then using the clothing you dipped in water earlier, clean the crack thoroughly. Finally, use a dry piece of cloth to dry off the crack.
NOTE: Caulking will seal any material left within the crack, it’s therefore imperative to remove all the dirt.
- Masking the area around the crack
In this step, apply the painter’s tape along the cracks where you don’t need the caulk to touch. The tape serves to contain the caulk within the gap you are filling. Also, it’s good insurance in case you make a mistake during the process.
- Application of the painter’s tape ensures precision and perfection in your work.
- After completing the job, immediately remove the tape to prevent it from getting stuck.
- Caulk gun loading
After you are through with surface preparation, it’s time to load your gun with the caulk tube. In this case, there are some few steps you should follow.
- Press the gun trigger
There is a trigger at the back of the gun which you should press. Through this, you will loosen the steel rod that is as long as the entire frame. Use your other free hand to pull the rod to the furthest extent you can manage.
To pull it best, you can ask for assistance from a person close to you. They can be of great help during the time of inserting the tube.
- Inserting the caulk tube
While pulling the steel rod, load the tube in the frame with the nozzle facing away from the trigger. You can begin with the tube back end as you proceed to the front. When the tube base fits well at the gun’s back, lower the anterior end while ensuring the tube gets leveled and snug. If your gun comes with a tube piercing tip or a nozzle cutter, do this before inserting it on the frame.
- Tube piercing using s metal rod.
Once you are through with setting up the caulk tube in the gun well, press the metal rod into the back of the tube. During the press, exert a considerable amount of force that will plunge the hook deep into the tube’s back. The hook serves to hold the tube in place, at the same time; it enables the gun trigger to function. If you feel uncertain at any step, seek reference from the tube. Those instructions will give you all the details about that particular tube.
- Nozzle cutting
For adjustment of the caulk thickness, cut the tube nozzle using a scissor at a 45o angle. The tube usually comes with a nozzle which is very long and has a seal. Along the nozzle length, cut at the desirable point to determine the width at which the fluid will come out. Therefore, if you are filling a larger crack, the cutting point should be very close to the tube. But if the gap is small, then the cutting point should be almost at the tip of the tube.
Cutting the nozzle at this point is a permanent step and should be done carefully. Once cut, there is no turning back. Thus it’s better to cut it closer to the tip of the nozzle and if by any chance the caulk is too thin, you can always cut some few steps back.
- Caulk application
- Do a bit of practice
Take a piece of paper and pull the trigger to apply the caulk uniformly. This should be done when the nozzle is at a 45o angle while facing the paper. Ensure the application is uniform all through. This means, your speed of moving the caulk and effort on the trigger must coincide to come up with an even application.
- Time to apply on the crack or gap
Using both hands, hold the caulking gun. Using one of your hand, hold the trigger, and the other hand holds the front of the tube. The hand at the front of the tube will serve to direct and aim the caulk at the right place. Meanwhile, before pressing the trigger, tilt and hold the gun at 45o angle to the surface with the crack/gap. At 45 degrees, the caulk should begin flowing towards the nozzle by gravity.
- Pressing the trigger
By pressing the trigger, the steel rod applies pressure on the caulk which is forced out through the nozzle. At this step, ensure your pressing effort is steady as well as the speed of applying the caulk on the crack/gap. The caulk will start flowing out in a steady and slow manner.
- Applying the caulk in the crack
As the caulk flows out through the nozzle, move it steadily along the gap you want to fill. At this point, the caulk will flow into the crack and solidify instantly. Ensure your motion is gentle to fill the crack evenly.
By any chance, if you miss a spot, precede with other cracks ahead, then after you are through come back and fill the spot. If you by any chance you spread painter’s tape, you don’t have to worry about errors. But if not, putty knife will come in handy in rectifying the error.
This can be done by a hot metal spoon. Once you are through with all the cracks/gaps, use hot water to heat a metal spoon for about 30 seconds. Then slide the spoon over the caulk using the curved side. This will create a smooth finish which looks amazing.
- Final step
Clear any errors or painter’s tape from the surface and allow the caulk to dry without disturbance. Drying will take a minimum of 24 hours.
How to Choose the Best Caulking Gun
Due to the availability of these tools in the market in great variety, it can be a challenge to pick the right type. But despite the value or complexity of a particular type, it’s often important to consider certain vital features. Some of these features to consider during selection include:
To apply the caulk on the surface, you need to press the trigger. The trigger applies force on the steel rod which in turn applies pressure on the caulk forcing it out through the nozzle. Once done, you get to release the pressure from the trigger. This is an important factor to consider because, without a mechanism of pressure release by the gun, the caulk will still flow out after the trigger release. This can create a mess to the surface you are working on. At this point, consider guns with automatic pressure release.
Plunger which is leak-proof
When dealing with ordinary fluid, the caulk flows out with no issues, as the pressure applied on the plunger is moderate. But when dealing with a very viscous caulk, more force is required on the trigger to force the fluid out the nozzle. In some cases, the fluid oozes out through the plunger. Therefore, when looking forward to buying this tool, ensure you get the type with a plunger that seals the fluid within the tube despite the size of pressure applied.
Most of the time, you will be using this tool for longer hours. At this point, the comfort of your hands is paramount. You will need a tool that has a nice grip and light in weight. For grip, you consider brands with padding or you may decide to add some accessories on your tool to make it more comfortable. When it comes to weight, you will need a light version. This will ensure steadiness during caulking.
When dealing with small projects or large projects that demand small seals at intervals. An efficient tool will come in handy. Most of these tools are designed to apply a great amount of sealant for longer periods of time. Only a few types can regulate the dosage of each sealant application. At this point, you will need an electric caulk gun. Pick the brands that come with regulators that are adjustable.
It’s not often that gaps or cracks are all in a straight pattern. At times you may get some which have crooked pattern. Here, you will need the caulking gun to have the best precision. By this, we mean, constant and steady distribution of pressure to cover up the canners well and neatly. Pressure adjustments to accommodate the change in width of the cracks a continuous and regular pressure output to cover the all length of the crack without pressing again the trigger.