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How to Make Sure Your Caulking Stands the Test of Time

How to Make Sure Your Caulking Stands the Test of Time

Window caulking, trim caulking, caulking baseboards, and caulking any narrow seam between a painted surface and another surface, is essential for a truly finished painting project.

Caulking properly seals your home against pests, leaks, and drafts. While DIY caulking is not uncommon, there are a lot of opportunities for mistakes.

Also known as "running a bead", proper caulking requires you to apply a long, narrow strip of caulk along the entire length of the seam—and that's not as easy as it sounds. Quality caulking requires significant skill and attention to detail in order to ensure it blends in with surrounding paint. Here's what the pros at Trico Painting suggest.

How to Ensure Your Caulk Is Long-Lasting

Match the Caulk to the Project

Choose the right type of caulk based on your painting project. For example:

  • Exterior Windows: Exterior caulk stands up to the elements and temperature fluctuation.

  • Interior Windows: Paintable latex is a good choice for interior windows. It holds paint well without emitting fumes.

  • Humid Rooms: For these rooms, choose a waterproof interior caulk.

  • Masonry Siding: Urethane caulks are compatible with both masonry and windows, and suitable for many surfaces.

Tips for DIY Caulking

Once you have the right caulk for the exterior painting work or interior painting project you want to tackle, keep these tips in mind:

  • Remove Old Caulk Completely: Scrape off old caulk completely. Otherwise, the new caulk won't adhere properly.

  • Choose a Caulking Gun That Makes Your Life Easier: A caulking gun with a thumb release lets you press to instantly release the pressure on the caulk, so it stops flowing when you’re done with a strip.

  • Cut Small Amounts of the Caulk Tube First: Cut off just the end of the caulk tube's tip, and compare the size of the bead to the width of the seam you need to cover.

  • Use Both Hands: Caulk with both hands and keep your wrists as straight as possible. If caulking a vertical seam, start at the top and bend your elbows or knees as you move down to caulk lower. Bending your wrists or moving your hands affects the angle of the gun, changing the appearance of the caulking bead.

  • Don't Run One Giant Bead: When running a bead, go from one side to the middle of the area. Then start at the far end of that caulk and move to the other end of the seam. This will have a smoother result and a straight seam.

  • Don't Be Afraid to Use Tape: There's no shame in taping the seams with painters' tape. It's very difficult to caulk without tape, especially if you've never done it before. And it's a lot easier to use tape than it is to clean up the resulting mess if you don't.

Caulk Isn't a Design Element

It's important to note that caulk is for use on relatively narrow seams (1/4” wide or tighter). If it's any wider than that, you'll need to fill gaps with a foam backer rod, so that your caulk doesn't sag out of a too-large seam. That's a messy finish, and no one wants to see that, especially after all the time and effort you're putting into your project.

Don't Get Caught with Bad Caulk

Caulking errors are only going to cause you more trouble down the line. Unless it's straight, smooth, even, and applied in the appropriate thickness, you run the risk of caulk not drying correctly.

This means your spaces will be improperly sealed, making you vulnerable to pests and moisture intrusion, as well as meaning you need to schedule repaints far sooner than you think. However bubbled and uneven your caulk looks will affect the finish of the surrounding paint.

Trico Painting can help. We provide caulking for all exterior and exterior painting projects. We are ready with the right caulk for every situation, and the professional-grade tools and materials necessary for the best possible finish.


If you want caulking results that will last for years to come, without the hassle and stress of a DIY caulking project, look no farther. Contact Trico Painting for your painting project estimate. Leave the prep work, and all the work, to us!