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Unread 08-31-2004, 06:35 PM   #5
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Location: Boerne, Texas
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Caulking Guns and Application Methods

Chris the Rep
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 56

In re: A question about good brands of caulking gun, to whit:
Chris, you're da man but how do we know know if a gun is any good for this messy goop. Paid $15 - $20 for mine, made in England, COX. Are they in the ball park for good?
Cox is a good brand, so are Albion. My local concrete accessories supply house carries both. Since they will extrude material with the lightest touch, they offer a greater degree of control. I like open frame guns, they tend to have very stout frames that are not easily damaged, but are easy to handle when overhead and when caulking corners.

BTW, do you push the gun and nozzle toward the uncaulked joint, or pull it toward you to fill the joint? With a little practice, pushing the gun makes a better joint; it gets the sealant deeper into the void. Pushing takes practice, and a bit steadier hand, but it really is easier to control the amount of material being gunned into the joint. Kind of like grout, every bit of excess you put on in the beginning means more you'll have to remove in the end.

A little blue masking tape always helps here. Press it in well at the edge of the joint. Gun in the sealant. and tool with a knife. I have a set of tooling knives, (Funny, they are exactly like frosting spreaders I saw in a fancy kitchenware store), but with an old flexible blade putty knife and a little time at the grinder, you can round off a section of the tip and fashion a handy dandy tooling knife to compress and smooth whatever radius you need. A rounded end of an old hacksaw blade (wrap the teeth with tape) is almost perfect sized for the caulking in a shower. The idea here is to compress the sealant into the joint. Move slowly, and wipe the knife often to keep any build up from oozing around the blade and creating an additional mess.

Remove the tape while the caulk is still wet before doing finger tooling. Pull the tape across the freshly caulked joint, never try to peel it away from the joint. That way, any strings of sealant from the tape (if you gunned and knifed it correctly, there shouldn't be too much excess) will be back on the joint instead of on the surface of what you are caulking.

With silicone or urethane sealant, do the final tooling with a bit of soap in some water. With latex caulk, water alone is usually fine. Many caulkers use a soda bottle, and insert their index or middle finger to plug the bottle and then tip it to wet their finger. Use a very light touch, but don't try to tool too much of a section, a fast, sweeping motion is best. Like trying to brush lint off of a piece of fabric. Wipe finger on rag and repeat as necessary. Don't wipe it finger on pants, Murphy bets that you'll rub against the expensive woodwork or newly painted wall on the way out.

When I was taught to tool the old pro said, "act like the surface is really hot, if you touch it too heavily or linger too long it will hurt you or the finished surface." You'll know when you've got it right, the joint will be very smooth. You'll be able to start and stop anywhere along the fresh joint to continue tooling and smoothing and never see where you started or stopped.

Nuttin to it, and if properly done, it really helps protect the installation. It is one of those little skills that set the skilled craftsperson apart from the average installer.



Last edited by Mike2; 05-16-2007 at 08:13 AM.
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