TODAY WE’RE GOING TO TALK DIRTY.

You might think that you can’t clean up your entire house in 15 minutes for 15 dollars. You might think that’s an impossible accomplishment but I can tell you with my hand held over my heart that you are absolutely right.

It’s impossible. A hoax. A dream or fantasy like riding a unicorn into a field of money trees.

You can however spruce up your house enough to make you feel good about how handy and great you are.

Take a minute right now if you’re at home to look at your baseboards and window trim and your crown mouldings.  If you’re at someone else’s home do the same.  Don’t even do it discreetly because what’s the point?  Whoever you’re visiting is already annoyed with you for ignoring them and reading this blog post you thought was going to be about taking dirty.  Take a look at anything that touches the home’s drywall (sheetrock) basically.  You’re probably staring down a bunch of gaps and cracks.

 

Yes.  Your home has gaps and cracks.

You probably hadn’t even noticed them before.  And now you’re in a foul mood because you have gaps and cracks you never noticed before and what ELSE are you not noticing in your house?

Probably lots of things, including weird smells, but that’s not what we’re going to address today.

Allow me to introduce you to the caulking gun and the Kim to its Kanye, caulk. (Somebody remind me to change that line when they get divorced in year or two)

One step a lot of people skip when they’re painting is filling in cracks around baseboards and trim; either because they can’t be bothered to do it or because their mother never talked to them about caulks.

So I’m here to do what your mother didn’t do.

 

preandpost

You only need two things to fill these kinds of gaps in your house.  A caulking gun and some caulk.  Now this is the point that the uninitiated start to get intimidated.  A little film of anxiety sweat is forming on your upper lip.

What kind of caulk???  There are at least 50 kinds of caulking in that hardware store aisle, I KNOW there are because once I accidentally walked down that aisle and it scared me and I left and I didn’t even remember to buy the only thing I went in there for, a scented candle, Christmas lights and a bulk bag of Beef Jerky.  

So what kind of caulking do you want?

YOU WANT ACRYLIC LATEX CAULK PLUS SILICONE.

Let’s break it down.  

Acrylic/Latex means it’s water based which means it’s easy to clean up and will wash right off your hands or wall if you get to it before it cures.

Plus Silicone means it has a bit of silicone added to it which makes it smooth to put on, waterproof and helps it stick. It isn’t ALL silicone.  It just has a tiny bit of silicone added to it.

If you buy a product that’s an Acrylic Latex caulking with silicone you’ll also be guaranteed that it’s paintable, but check the label just to make sure.

See how easy?  Now you can put your high heels on, swipe a slash of lipstick across your mouth and march confidently down the caulking aisle to grab exactly what you need.  YOU can go to the hardware store.

Here’s how it all works.

 

The best time to go around with your caulking gun is after your first coat of paint because you can see a bit better where it is you need to put the caulking.  After it’s dried you can paint right over it so it blends right in with the ceiling or walls.

And if you’re thinking to yourself, “HA!  JOKE’S ON YOU KAREN!  I CAULKED EVERYTHING WHEN I PAINTED 5 YEARS AGO. YOU’RE SO STUPID.”, think again. Not the part about me being stupid, sometimes I’m so stupid it’s funny.  No, what I mean is that houses continually shift and move and shrink.  So take another look at your baseboards.  Chances are the cracks have returned at least a little bit.  They’re annoying like that.

A caulking gun will cost you around $10 and some paintable caulk around $3.  This is the exact caulking I use which is $10 on Amazon but only $2.50 at my local hardware store.

So if you live in a cave hundreds of miles away from civilization that happens to have drywall because drywall always improves the resale value of dirty caves, by all means buy it from Amazon.

Otherwise just go to a hardware store.

 

 

 

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50 Comments

  1. Cynthia says:

    Don’t you hate the way the goopy bit on the end drops off and you don’t notice it until it has dried, that cat eats it, or it’s been smushed into the floorboards with your foot.

    Is too a word.

    I go over my “caulking”. You Canadians use weird words. It’s Spakfilla. Verb being “Spaking”. I get a chunk of cotton muslin and dampen it slightly and run it over the Caulk I have Caulked. Makes it so nice and smooth and a neat smishy line between the wall and the skirting board.

    • Gillian says:

      Cynthia I’m from Australia and Spakfilla (a product) here is used more for filling in dents in the wall before painting and caulking and it has a different consistency and needs to be sanded before being painted (various product names are used such as ‘No More Gaps’).

  2. robert says:

    I will remember you to change the Kimye reference if nothing happens to me by then, I would swear it on any of their fashion friends job but in that job environment climate who knows
    And now to inspect all the house for cracks and gaps

  3. Mark says:

    Nice video Karen. Your next one should be about choosing a caulking gun – you could do a side by side comparison. The good ones (like yours) have a smooth plunger rod so you can apply nice even pressure — unlike the cheap ratchet plunger rods, which also don’t have a lever to relieve the pressure. The good caulking guns also have a spout cutter (as well as the seal punch that you alluded to) on the handle. (Can you imagine a contractor carrying scissors up a ladder so he could cut open a new tube of caulking?)

    Friends don’t let friends by bad tools. Don’t buy a cheap caulking gun – the good ones are only about $5 more.

    • Karen says:

      Yes! The elusive cutter! It’s hard to find a caulking gun that has all the bells and whistles. I had one that had it all once. 🙁 No more. ~ karen!

  4. MrsChris SA says:

    Thank you for that.
    Quick question – so there is a difference between the caulking and the straight silicone guns?

    Never knew that! Off to the hardware store I go!

    • Karen says:

      No difference Mrs.Chris SA. The tubes are the same size. 🙂 ~ karen!

      • MrsChris SA says:

        Thank you!

        • Lez says:

          What do we call caulk in S.A? I thought it was silicone, but apparently not. I keep reading about using it on American/Canadian sites, but have no idea what sort of product it really is! Is it the same as the stuff we put around baths? Can it be used on window panes around the glass edge? I’ve Googled it & it just mentions silicone in S.A! Maybe you can help me, being a local as well!

          • Miss Chris SA says:

            Hi Liz
            apparently you can get an acrylic version here in SA as well which is not just the silicone one we normally use around out baths. Now to find where….
            I also just thought silicone! I guess Builders Warehouse should stock that.

    • Irene says:

      It’s called acrylic sealant, you guys. 🙂

  5. Lynn says:

    Ah Caulk just the mention of it drives hubby into a tailspin. He has a real problem applying it an he gets so frustrated. I can see him fidgety even as he takes out the gun an know I am going to get a earful in about 30 seconds.

  6. Ms Procrastinator of the USA. says:

    Whoa, whoa, you can’t get off that easily. You have to explain the wet finger vs wet cloth vs taping it off which I think is really dumb. How do you get a smooth edge with tape. Caulk is truly miraculous. That and the wet finger with good enamel paint made my Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies basement stairs look like Marilyn Monroe stairs.

  7. Ms Procrastinator of the USA. says:

    Oh I’m a dumbass, I missed the video. Haha. Thanks. Great post.

  8. tracie says:

    Haha, you said caulks! Seriously, I so wish I were you, it’s not even funny…

  9. Brandy Ballard says:

    Even better is the stuff that goes on pink and dries white…then you really know where you put it!!! I swear it was made with me in mind!

    • Stephanie says:

      I love that stuff too, but you are talking about putty for filling nail holes or a wall crack, which his a different beast than caulk. Caulk is like the stuff that goes around your tub where it meets the tile. If you tried to use the pink stuff between your baseboards and/or crown and your wall, or around your windows to seal them, (a) it would take forever; and (b) it would crack and fall off in chunks. Hope this (or more likely, Karen) helps.

  10. whitequeen96 says:

    Hey, Karen, your hair looks great!
    Thank you for this post; I sorely need it.

  11. Debbie D says:

    Thanks for the video. Yes, I have a calk gun, etc. The cracks where the calk is and the baseboards drives me nuts. Now I know what to do on the next rainy weekend (if it ever rains again in California) and after I have cleaned my house (but not in 15 minutes–so wish I could). Each weekend now is devoted to shutting down the garden for fall and winter (along with fall cleaning the house). I am giving good piles of stuff to charity. Nice to have cleaned out closets, drawers, etc., as well.

    How is the painting/decorating going for the Thanksgiving dinner? Canada is so smart to celebrate it when the weather is still relatively good. Makes the crazy travel somewhat easier…

  12. leo muzzin says:

    when buying a caulk gun keep in mind that there are 2 types: smooth feed rod and notched feed rod. The notched feed rod one is more expensive, but provides much better caulk feed control. The smooth rod one will slip on occasion and not feed the caulk.

  13. Paula Clark says:

    Great video! I painted houses for 25 years and that included a LOT of caulking, and putty and sanding. With new houses, caulking is the most important job. Otherwise you end up with those pesky black lines everywhere. But yup, it has to be redone from time to time. I’m retired now and sometimes I miss those all day long caulking jobs and then sometimes I don’t. Better break out my caulking gun, I see I have been ignoring some cracks in my house.

  14. Leslie says:

    A girlfriend of mine was doing some work in her home and needed to go to the hardware store. She marched right in, found the nearest employee (a pimple-faced teen!) and announced, “Hi. I’m looking for some caulk.”
    You can imagine how embarrassed she was when she realized how that sounded.

    Thanks for the (as usual) helpful post, Karen.

  15. Heather says:

    The stuff in a tube – no caulking gun required – works well, too.

  16. Caffa says:

    Funny how regional dialect/pronunciation changes a joke. I kept reading about the asking the teenage boy for some caulk and wondered “what’s the problem?”

    I say “caulk” rhymes with “squawk” — you say it sounds like, um, a rooster?

  17. Meredith says:

    Once, in college, my boyfriend at the time and I were using caulk on a window frame…..I think it was crazy drafty or something in our apartment. Only we had never used caulk before. He put the tube in the caulk gun and started cranking the trigger……over and over and over……nothing was coming out. For a very long time. And then all of a sudden it did. We had forgotten to cut off the end of the tip. We were in an apartment on the third floor facing the street in a small college town. A giant stream (about 12 feet long) of caulk shot out of the window, across a sidewalk, a two lane street, another sidewalk, over a bench with three old men on it, and into a parking lot, all over the windshield of a car. We put the window down, closed the blind and went out to a bar. I still remember those old men with their mouths hanging open in shock and pointing up towards our window.

    • bellygrl says:

      LOL! and so you went to the bar…. hilarious!

    • Jody says:

      That is too too funny.

    • Lois Baron says:

      lmao. What a great, great story. Totally impressed with the range you got with that thing, too!

    • Elaine says:

      Oh Gosh!!! I’m laughing so much. Your story reminds me of a day long ago in a chic country-type store north of Toronto. There were about three sales clerks helping a bunch of women shoppers so they didn’t see what happened. Everything in the store was pricy and had nothing I wanted but I liked the various soaps and lotion testers on the counter. I was at the far right of the (thankfully busy) counter when I pressed down on a sample of hand lotion. Nothing came out. I tried again and still nothing. Unfortunately, unknown to me, it hadn’t been sampled for a while and had formed a hardened “plug” of lotion at the opening. I really wanted to try it … so I pressed as hard as I could. Lotion suddenly shot straight out and landed on the entire back of the closest clerk’s black suit! I was horrified! Thankfully, no one saw what happened, the clerk didn’t feel it hit her and I high tailed it out of there – fast. My husband, who was waiting in the car, was shocked and delighted that I stayed so briefly in the store! Much later, I told him why. I still picture her expensive-looking suit!

    • Penny says:

      You told this so well, I could see it happening. Love it!
      I have to wonder what the old guys thought it was, though…. maybe I have a sick mind…

  18. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Thanks for showing us your caulk…and where you like to put it…sorry I couldn’t resist…I’m bored…

  19. Ev Wilcox says:

    Seeing as how our house was built in 1806 (for real) and has a long history of gentle neglect-we would have to get a giant caulk gun! It’s a thought though! Thanks Karen!

  20. Liz says:

    I just did my first caulk job! haha. Used a whole tube on the back of two rugs so they won’t slip anymore; it was easy and worked perfectly.

    I will try this with the cracks for sure. Do you know if they sell tinted or like brown caulking? Most of the spaces I can see are between my hardwood floors and brown baseboards.

    • Alena says:

      Liz,
      Wouldn’t it be easier to just buy a rubber mat under the rug? The perforated kind that sells here for about $12 for about a 8’x10′ size.
      You can buy tinted caulk, I know it comes in white, almond and brown for sure (I have used all those colours in my house). There may be other colours available but you’d have to check.

  21. Jody says:

    Because I am at work I am watching the video with the sound muted. It’s very funny. It’s like watching old home movies. It’s especially entertaining given you are demonstrating cocking guns.

  22. FBFoodie says:

    What’s your method for saving unused caulk? I put a nail in the tip of the tube, but I’m not sure that’s the best method.

  23. Flash says:

    good post

  24. Heather Sykora says:

    Thanks for the video!! My husband is very particular about painting and then caulking everything precisely. It makes me feel intimidated as he’s so good at both. Now I feel like I’m in “the know” and could do an ok job myself. Also, he’s spends so much time caulking our house that I have regular opportunities to fit the word “caulk” into the conversation as frequently as possible around three male teenager!! Always makes me laugh when I can get them to beg me to stop!!! 😂

    • Marianne says:

      Lol – I love embarrassing/shocking my somewhat-adult kids too. They may be chronologically adults, but they’re all stuck in middle-school-mentality mode (I guess this would include my husband as well). I may have to take up caulking just to have another excuse to bug them. 🙂

  25. brittany says:

    Is there anything that can be used on dark wood trim to seal cracks? I was thinking maybe clear caulk, but not sure if it would look better applied after painting the walls, rather than before as with white, to make sure the paint line isn’t wonky.

  26. Ella says:

    When you said “break the seal,” while talking about caulk….. THAT was my favorite.

  27. Benjamin says:

    Oh, you dirty talker you.

  28. Celia says:

    What if you’re allergic to latex? My reaction isn’t fatal, but it’s certainly uncomfortable.

    • Diane says:

      I would say get some disposable non-latex gloves (nitrile?) so it doesn’t get on your hands and be careful to not get it elsewhere on your skin.

  29. FionaJ says:

    I’m also from Australia, and Spakfilla is what my Dad used to call the stuff older ladies put on their face to fill the ‘cracks’.

    Ahhh, Dad jokes….

  30. Mr. Grant says:

    Thanks for the video. This worked perfectly on the crack of our table. Very helpful.

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