How to Caulk Like a Pro in 5 Easy Steps

Caulking may seem like the simplest of homeowners projects, but if you’ve ever sealed a bathtub before, you know that one small mistake can easily turn into a mess. Caulking requires practice and the knowledge to pick the right caulk for the job. Handyman Connection of Chicago NW shares the six steps to caulking like a pro.


  • Select Your Caulk. Caulk usually comes in three different varieties: latex, butyl rubber, and silicone. Vinyl latex caulk works best for dry areas while silicone caulk is ideal for wet areas. It’s important to choose the right caulk for the job to avoid any issues later on. If you’re working on an interior repair, then latex and silicone are your best choices.
  • Remove and Clean the Old Caulk. For an effective caulk repair, it’s important to properly remove the old caulk first and prepare the surface. You can use a retractable razor blade scraper to remove the old caulk on the surface of the tile and the tub. Scrape it clean and vacuum up any debris.
  • Tape Off the Surfaces. Once both surfaces are clean, use tape to mask the edges of the joint. This allows you to decide the width of the joint while protecting the surrounding materials from the caulk. Mask off the surfaces with blue painters tape. Make sure to use long sections of tape and apply them in a straight line.
  • Apply New Caulk. Cut the tip of the caulk at a 45-degree angle and puncture the inner seal using a long nail. Apply the caulk carefully at a 45-degree angle, making sure to get it fully into the joint. Don’t rush the process, instead work at a slow and consistent speed to ensure flawless results. The smoother the joint is in the beginning, the easier your job will be.
  • Smooth the Joint. After applying the caulk, it’s time to smooth the joint. Since we used tape earlier, your caulk joint will be left with a clean, sharp edge instead of a messy surface, which makes your job easier. To smooth the joint, wet your finger with alcohol if you used silicone, and water if you used latex, and work from one end to the other. Continue smoothing until the entire taped section is finished.

Handyman Connection of Chicago NW offers various home improvement services to help improve your home’s beauty and comfort. Contact us at (847) 202-3232 to request a free estimate.

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*Services may change and vary by Handyman Connection location.