Create the Perfect Caulk Joint
Masking tape and solvents are the key to a clean bead of sealant.
I had to caulk the 3/16-in.-wide crack between the bathroom floor and a new shower. I like silicone for this job, but it’s tough to get a smooth, even joint. To make it easier, I outline the joint with high-quality masking tape, running one strip along the floor and another along the shower, making sure both edges are firmly set. At the ends I run the strips about 2 in. up and across the wall, overlapping them at a 90° angle and making sure they’re well stuck. I then completely fill the joint with caulk and immediately tool it with my finger. If I’m using latex caulk, I dip my finger in water first. If I’m using a silicone or solvent-based caulk, I moisten it with mineral spirits. Smooth the joint in one continuous stroke if possible. Then immediately remove the tape, starting at one end. Pull both pieces evenly to create a perfect caulk joint. Use this method on any kind of caulk joint where a smooth, even surface is important.
—Grant Litts, Norway, Mich.
Edited and Illustrated by Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding #286