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How to Apply Caulk

Whether around sinks, windows, bathtubs or baseboards, if your caulk is discolored or pulling away, it’s time to re-caulk.

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Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Learn How and When to Caulk

There are two types of caulk: an all-purpose type which is great for around windows or baseboards, and a specially formulated type that prevents mildew growth. Use the one that prevents mildew in moisture-prone areas such as bathrooms. There are also two types of caulk applicators: the traditional cartridges which require a caulk gun or the easy-to-use squeeze tubes which do not require a caulk gun.

If your molding, baseboards or other trim has unsightly gaps and cracks, try filling with caulk. It will give your rooms a finished appearance. Never caulk the little openings in storm windows. These weep holes keep condensation from being trapped between the panes.

To reduce energy costs, caulk around doors, windows, pipes, cables and vents. You can save 10 percent or more in heating and cooling costs.

Step 3: Remove Old Caulk

As with any project, preparation is key. Start with a clean, dry surface. Use a razor blade to remove the old caulk along with any dirt or residue. Caulking takes a little practice and patience, so experiment with a few dry runs before starting your project.

Step 4: Tape the Joint

For a clean, straight line, tape along the joint. Caulking tapes help you measure the gap size, resulting in a perfectly even bead.

Step 5: Apply New Caulk

Always start applying the caulk in the bottom of an opening to avoid bubbles. Once the caulk is applied, smooth or "tool" the joint. Wet your finger and run it along the bead, pushing the caulk into the joint as you go. Peel away the tape and let the caulk dry for a professional looking caulk job.

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