Sunday, November 6, 2011

How to Caulk Neatly

The front of my house was resided during the recent house renovation.  We went with a wood siding.  My verdict is still out on the siding as, although it looks nicer than the vinyl, there have been quite a few cracks.  I'll have to get them replaced before the warranty runs out.

The contractor began caulking the edges of the siding, where it met up with the windows, corner trim etc.  Unfortunately my husband felt that the caulking job was rather messy and ruining the look of the siding.

I had to ask them to stop.

I have been working section by section over the past few weeks to get the caulking completed before the cold sets in.  It was snowing here on Saturday, so I'm pushing it!

Here is an example of what I'm starting with.  A 1/4" or so gap between the window trim and the siding.

I think a beige caulking, if it matched the siding colour, may have been easier and produced a neater look.  Because a door and two windows were already done with the white caulking, I had to use the white.

I found that going over the edges made my bead a bump, and when I tried to smooth down the bead, it smeared onto the siding.  The siding is quite rough and it was hard to get the caulking off.  I came up with two ideas to hopefully make the end product neater.  The first was to use painter's tape.  Some brands stick better than others to the siding.   It can be a bit finicky and sometimes the caulking gets pushed underneath, but it allows you to do several strips at once.

The other solution I came up with involved my chip box from Halloween.  The cardboard was strong and lightweight, so I tore off a rectangular shape.   I was able to push the top edge up under one piece of siding and align the longer edge with the section that I needed to caulk.

I ran the bead of caulking down the gap and, using a wet finger, I ran my finger down the bead to fill in the space and flatten out the caulking.

I gently slid the cardboard out and wiped it off.  It was ready to go on to the next board.  I found that I could set up three or more boards at a time and work fairly quickly.  The edges came out nice and clean.  I think it came out neater than the painter's tape sections actually, though this method is a bit slower.

When you are using a caulking gun, it can get pretty messy.  After I ran each bead, I put my finger over the end and with the other hand, released the pressure foot thing.  Then I took a nail and stuck it into the end of the nozzle.  This prevented any more caulking from escaping.  Be sure to have lots of old rags on hand.

Here are the comparisons:

Contractor's job                                                                    My job

I won't tell you this was a fun job, but it will be rewarding to have it completed.  I  may try to remove the contractor's caulking, but that will have to wait until it warms up again.  That water I used for keeping my fingers wet was getting mighty cold!


  1. That is a really great tip. With your caulk line so tiny though, you may be redoing this job every fall as it will likely crack open with the freezes and thaws.

  2. Great tips! I have a lot of caulk ahead of me. :)

  3. looks great would luv for our readers to see this at

    Thanks for joining the party,

  4. Thank you so much! One more corner strip to do today - well and a dormer that I haven't figured out how I'm going to reach - and I'm done!

  5. Nice job, and so much careful work. I doubt that people will notice joints in a dormer that don't match the other areas. It must be high enough to be not a problem.

    I found you at Handy Man Crafty Woman. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi! Bouncing over from Wicked Awesome Wednesday at Handy Man Crafty Woman! Great job on the caulk! I would never have thought of that! Awesome! Thanks for the tip!

  7. Thank you! I am so glad to have it completed. The dormer is high, and I will figure out some way to reach it in the spring. The contractor did the other one and it looks like he did it from sitting inside the window opening. It is really bad. I'm scared of heights *surprised myself by getting onto the 4th tread of the ladder!* so it will take some figuring out.

  8. awesome job--we need to re-cauk our bathtub...I've been trying to get the husband to do it but it looks like I'll have to get it started....

  9. Thank you for that walk-through on window caulking! I think every homeowner must practice caulking and waterproofing their homes every now and then. There are a lot of advantages on caulking their windows. For one, you can save energy since it prevents cool air from going out of the house during the hot season, and the same goes on preventing the warm air from escaping on cold season. It also decreases your home’s heating and cooling usage, thus increasing your home energy savings.