As a homeowner, you will encounter a dried, flaky or cracked caulk seal once in a while. Cracked caulk can appear in the exterior and the interior of the house.
But, not caulking your home could lead to extensive property damage due to water leaks or energy loss as air freely moves in and out of the home.
What Causes Cracked Caulking?
Inadequate Surface Preparation
You commit the first caulking mistake before opening the caulk tube with insufficient surface preparation.
Do not hurry to lay a new bead without removing old caulk, crumbling grout or flaking paint. You should also repair any damage to the exterior before applying a new coat of caulk to ensure you get a good and smooth finishing.
Filling Large Gaps
The width of the gaps you are filling matters a lot. Gaps larger than a quarter-inch or more than half an inch should first be filled with backing material like foam tape before adding the caulking material.
Filling a huge crack with caulk is expensive and affects product functioning. Backing material enhances the viscosity of the bead and facilitates the best cosmetic finish.
Using the Wrong Type of Caulk
There are three main types of caulk: silicone, latex, and acrylic. Each type is suited for different purposes.
For example, silicone caulk is ideal for wet areas such as the bathroom because of its flexibility, has some antimicrobial to prevent mold and also waterproofing abilities.
Latex caulk is used to fill small blemishes and gaps in wood trim and seal joints between wood parts to be painted later.
Acrylic caulk is best suited for painting applications because it fills gaps between woodwork trim, ceilings, and walls. It is easy to clean and offers a clean, neat seal.
To ensure that your home is well sealed from any invasion elements such as molds and that pipes and chimneys are well sealed to avoid leakages it is important for you choose a caulk that is suitable.
How to Stop Caulking from Cracking
To prevent cracking caulking, you should apply it the right way in the first place. If you do this, not only will you have a smooth surface, the caulking will also last long.
The following are the steps of correctly applying caulking.
- Remove Old Caulk and Properly Clean the Surface
It is essential to remove old caulk (if need be) and prepare the surface for an effective caulk repair and application. Prepare the surface by removing old caulk using a retractable razor blade scraper.
Use a caulk removal tool for corners with caulk joints, like where wall tiles meet a countertop, sink or tub.
You can also use a 5-in-1 tool or a putty knife, depending on the caulk bead location and the age of the old caulk.
Remove debris from the joint and adjacent areas with a shop vacuum.
Lastly, clean the surface with rubbing alcohol and a rag. Ceramic and porcelain surfaces should be perfectly clean, smooth, and dry to hold the new caulk adequately.
- Tape the Surface
Use blue painter’s tape to seal off both surfaces from the starting point to the caulking edge.
Ensure that the tape is straight and long. Tape to create a think joint; about a quarter inch in total width. If you are dealing with uneven joints, have a wider caulk bead; about 3/8 inch in width.
Use a wooden craft stick or fingernail to press down the tape’s inner edges.
- Apply your Caulk
Cut the tube nozzle at 45 degrees using a utility knife and puncture the hole, ensuring that the caulk flows smoothly.
Apply the caulk at 45 degrees between perpendicular and horizontal. Squeeze hard enough for the caulk to fill the joint.
The caulk tube’s tip should move along the joint length as you squeeze the caulk gun at a consistent and slow speed. The smooth application ensures better results.
When applying your caulk it is advisable for you to match the speed you are travelling at with the rate of flow of caulking. This allows you to make a smooth and neat bead.
- Smoothen the Joint
Wet your finger and a cloth rag with water (for latex caulk) or rubbing alcohol (for silicone caulk). Use light pressure and work from one end to the next.
Wipe your finger on the cloth rag as it gathers excess caulk. You may use soapy water as a DIY tip when tooling to ensure you get a smooth bead of caulking
Stopping Caulk from Cracking
Before you paint or wet the caulk, allow it to cure completely. Note the manufacturer’s dry time and cure time to avoid damaging the caulking.