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Dreaded Silicone Caulking

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  • Dreaded Silicone Caulking

    About to finish a bathroom remodel, including a new Corian countertop and glass block room divider, both butting against ceramic tile. Finishing means facing the task I hate more than anything: caulking with silicone. I've never seemed to develop a good technique with silicone, compared to other caulks which smooth much easier, and spend more time with a razor blade afterwards than applying it in the first place. Nevertheless the appearance of the caulk joint can override all of the other work. I've heard of masking both sides of the joint before applying silicone, but wouldn't that leave a ridge when you pull the tape?

    Any suggestions would be really appreciated!

  • #2
    Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

    How about a clean wet rag? Apply chaulk and wipe immediately. Repeated wipes and changing rags often help keep everything clean and neat.

    Good Luck
    Dave
    This Space For Rent - BR549

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    • #3
      Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

      I use a tight-woven cloth saturated with denatured alchohol to smooth my silicone caulk. Lay a small bead and immediately smooth it out. Keep the cloth "sopping wet" with the alcohol - it evaporates quickly, so you'll have to keep re-applying it to the cloth to keep it wet.
      Picked up the tip from my shower glass installer.

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      • #4
        Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

        I like using rubbing alcholol.

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        • #5
          Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

          cut the tip right, keep the gun moving continuously and smoothly and don't oversqueeze the trigger. I watch the leading edge of the tip as it moves along the surface and make sure a small bulge of silicone is always there as I go. Now air pockets are tough but I've never had to wipe yet.

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          • #6
            Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

            I never heard or thought of the alcohol technique, but it makes perfect sense.

            On the subject of tooling or not, when you wipe the caulk with any method you are essentially tooling it. As I was taught, the tooling is a necessary step in proper caulking. This gives the bead a concave surface that will expand and contract while resisting cracking over time.

            Good Luck
            Dave
            This Space For Rent - BR549

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            • #7
              Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

              My glass guys lay down a good straight bead, then spritz it with some glass cleaner and tool with their finger. Works like a champ. The glass cleaner keeps the finger tip from sticking to the silicone, so it glides real smooth.
              Mike Patterson

              Patterson Builders-Remodelers, LLC
              19112 Jericho Dr.
              Gaithersburg, MD 20879

              www.pattersonbuilders-remodelers.com
              http://mdremodel.blogspot.com/
              http://www.facebook.com/Patterson.Bu...Remodelers.LLC

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              • #8
                Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

                Thanks for all of the ideas! I'll try them.

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                • #9
                  Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

                  paul,

                  if your having trouble and use the tape method, do it like so, tape it, silicone it, wipe it until your happy with it, remove tape, wipe one more time to remove the ridges.

                  with the tape there you can keep from making a mess all over the surrounding tiles and get a good looking joint, then once you take the tape off you only need to touch it up and there wont be a lot silicone being pulled to make a mess.

                  and keep alcohal near by because as you know silicone is a pain to clean up.
                  Brad

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                  • #10
                    Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

                    The following technique works well for me:

                    1) Carefully cut just the tip off the caulk tube for about a 1/16" opening

                    2) Use a small wire (like a large paperclip) to poke several holes in foil seal

                    3) Make sure area to be caulked is dry and clean

                    4) Apply a fine bead of silicone to joint in a smooth continuous motion (Avoid using too much!)

                    5) Spray a light mist of alcohol over caulk using a trigger sprayer

                    6) Gently smooth with finger (Avoid over-tooling!)

                    Be careful when working the areas adjacent to where you just applied as the wet alcohol mist will keep silicone from sticking when you caulk your next joint.

                    Good luck!

                    Joe Adams
                    Joe Adams
                    Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
                    Houston, Texas

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

                      Originally posted by Mike864 View Post
                      My glass guys lay down a good straight bead, then spritz it with some glass cleaner and tool with their finger. Works like a champ. The glass cleaner keeps the finger tip from sticking to the silicone, so it glides real smooth.
                      I approve of this message 100%
                      To busy doing nothing...

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                      • #12
                        Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

                        Thanks for all of your tips and suggestions.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

                          All good tricks, - - and as far as the taping goes, - - as mentioned above, - - finger it, remove tape, then finger it again and there will be no ridges . . .

                          The best way, though, - - is to just learn to run a thin, steady bead, - - and then just finger it one time only. How thin or wide you want your finished caulk-line will determine how thin or thick to lay it in, - - and which finger (or even thumb) you will use. Which ever finger you choose to run, - - the proper sized caulk-bead should never come outside of it.

                          You have four size-choices right on your hand, - - ring-finger doesn't count, - - it's about the same size as your index finger . . .

                          Caulking with silicone takes mere seconds once you get the hang of it.
                          Last edited by TR Construction; 05-26-2007, 02:25 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

                            And another suggestion: Wipe it QUICKLY after laying it down and try to do it only once in a smooth continuos motion...silicone caulk skims over very quickly...within 30 secs. or so...smooth it QUICKLY.

                            Glass cleaner, alcohol...it's all good!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Dreaded Silicone Caulking

                              "All good tricks, - - and as far as the taping goes, - - as mentioned above, - - finger it, remove tape, then finger it again and there will be no ridges . . ."


                              I use this technique as well. A very nice job can be ruined quickly by a guy with a caulk gun. I've spent a lot of time training guys how to caulk.

                              Tom

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