How to caulk using silicone caulk

Caulking is one of the greatest inventions ever. Its been used in one form or another probably since man tried to build a boat for the first time and probably would have been done with tree sap or tar.

The problem people have with caulking is that it is meant to seal but not be seen. Walk into any public bathroom and you will see examples of the worst caulking jobs in the world. Caulking will not seal merely by being piled over the space you want sealed. It must be smoothed so that the edges of the caulking are ‘feathered’ to the side of what needs to be sealed, insuring that the seal is complete.
Silicone can be one of the hardest caulking’s to smooth out when you are trying to apply a presentable finished product. Caulking is an art really. You want it there but you don’t want to notice it. What I do with silicone, is first to be careful to apply the appropriate size line of caulk you want, relax and take your time. Applying too much is a huge problem. Then what I do is to rub the line of caulk gently with my damp index finger to feather the caulk to the edges. Silicone is not water based so the water will allow your finger to glide over the surface without tacking to the silicone for a short time. If this needs to be done again, wipe your finger clean and rewet it. You have to be careful not to use too much water or you will cause the feathered edge to separate from what you are trying to seal due to the moisture. You should try it on something first until you feel comfortable with what you are doing.

You can remove uncured silicone with denatured alcohol and a paper towel if you mess it up. Remember only to use silicone where you don’t intend to paint or coat with additional coatings. Most coatings such as paint, oil or latex, will not adhere to silicone. With areas you intend to paint you should always use latex or water based caulking or even siliconized latex which is still water based.

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