Job for the weekend – let’s caulk!


Six simple steps to follow when preparing to recaulk any surface

Have you looked at the state of the sealants around your baths, sinks and windows lately?

Caulking is a waterproofing product which prevents costly leaks and though long lasting, if done properly, can get brittle, dull and start cracking over time. Old or poorly applied caulk allows water to fall down behind a bath, sink or vanity unit, rotting floorboards or, in the case of an upstairs unit, the ceiling directly below.

This moisture, when left unchecked, can develop mildew and other forms of mould that may eventually lead to much more labour intensive and costly repairs. Additionally, years of soap scum and grime can stain the old caulk, making it look grubby even if it is clean.

Bathroom caulks
There are two main types of caulk suitable for use in bathrooms.

The first is made of silicone. It is very durable, elastic and keeps its appearance for years if applied well. If you want to paint over the caulk, then this is not the product to use.

If the wall is painted a contrasting colour to the sink, bath or vanity top, then use latex caulk. Not only can it be painted over, it is also durable.

There are two ways of caulking. The first is by using a tube of caulk applied through a caulk gun.

Many people prefer to buy the caulk in a squeeze tube as they feel it gives them more control over the flow. The knack is to try to get a thin and uniform bead of caulk when applying it.

It’s always easier to add more, if needed, than it is to clean up any excess. If latex caulk is used and it will be painted on, it’s best to follow the instructions on the tube about how long it has to dry before being ready to accept paint.

Caulking need not be a dreaded task. With a little know-how, time and patience, it’s a simple DIY job that can make a big difference to the look and feel of any home.