Make Caulk Last Longer
A homemade cap keeps sealants from hardening if you need to save an unfinished tube to use another day.
I’ve tried everything over the years to cap partially used tubes of caulk, only to find the next time I try to use them that the caulk has hardened up. Then one day when I was capping PeX water lines for a pressure test, I got the idea to try short lengths of PeX with plastic plugs. I cut several 4-in. to 5-in. pieces of 1⁄2-in. PeX tubing, enlarged both ends of each piece with a PeX expansion tool, and inserted a plastic plug in one end. These plugged PeX tubes make the perfect caps and fit any standard caulk tube. When I’m done using the caulk, I put a little water in the spout for latex sealants or mineral spirits for solvent-based products, and then I slip the cap onto the tube for an airtight fit. I just uncapped a tube of caulk I hadn’t used in at least six months, and it was like new. One advantage of using PeX is that nothing sticks to it, so any dried material is easy to clean out.
Now that my caulk lasts longer, I’ve made a rack to hold the partially used tubes. I punch a hole through each tube and hang it on a nail. I keep my hole punch handy by hanging it on the rack with the caulk.
— Grant Litts, Norway, Mich.
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #280