Draw your guns.Let’s talk caulk.

As promised, this month is going to be devoted to some of the things you can quickly do to spruce up your house. The little things you never take the time to do.

Like sweep out the trundle cage in the basement. I never seem to get around to doing that.

Today we’re gonna go back to the kitchen to focus on that.

While I was painting my kitchen counter grout last week, I came to the realization that no matter how clean the grout ended up looking, the rim around my sink was still going to look gross.  You fancy folks with undermount sinks don’t have this problem.  My sink is not an undermount sink, since it was installed approximately the same time water was invented. So my sink and the area where my backsplash meets the counter around my sink is gross. Mildewy and dirty and gucky.

I had to fix it.

Let’s talk caulk. When you’re sealing in your kitchen or bathroom you want to use silicone sealant. NOT paint and trim caulking. Both are applied with a caulking gun, but caulking is for filling holes and cracks in walls and baseboards and such. Silicone sealant is for sealing up areas that get wet, like around your tub or sink.

Silicone sealants tend to stink. Deal with it. Using the wrong product will end in misery. Gooey, misery.

Keep in mind this is a quick fix.  Not a proper fix.  A proper fix would involve removing all the silicone that’s in place right now.  I didn’t do that.  I went over the old silicone.  Because as I said … this is a quick fix.

So load your gun …




Find the area in need of help …




Fill with a thin bead of sealant. And admire.




As you can see I also painted the grout on my backsplash using that grout pen I talked about last week. The whole project of painting the grount and resealing around the backsplash and sink took about an hour.

It’s not exactly a kitchen renovation, but it didn’t take 3 months and $40,000 either. And it has almost the exact same effect.  Sort of.  If you squint. From Africa.

So for now, that’ll have to tide me over. It’s one of those things you do and think, WOW. I had no idea how awful that was until I fixed it.   Like when you get a new pair of glasses, put them on and think Holy Crap!  I had no idea I couldn’t see before.  Look at all those trees.  And the monsters in them!  Those trees are covered in monsters!  Huh.  Pretty.  

Not as pretty as a kitchen renovation but still, pretty.

** There’s no such thing as a trundle cage by the way. No such thing at all. And you definitely wouldn’t use it for holding fop-fops.


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  1. Mark Puett says:

    I sell Real Estate and there is nothing like a well caulked sink and backsplash to make a kitchen look nice. I had a large project on my outbuilding and got a deal on this beauty a Dewalt 18V Caulking gun… adjustable and “backs off” when you let go of the trigger.

    Also if you get one of those caulk smoothing doo-dads.

    I hope my upload came through.

    Not an ad for any of this!!! Just sharing!!!
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Lisa says:

    Just wanted to tell you a little story. I was in the paint section of a store and a sales person asked if he could help me. I looked him in the eye and said (in what seemed like slow motion, but I couldn’t make it stop) “I’m looking for caulk”.

  3. Jay says:

    I’m now concerned because I instantly knew what a trundle cage was, and you made it up.
    A trundle bed is one that slides under the bed. So a trundle cage is a big wire basket thing for holding awkward items that you can slide under your work bench or counter, no? Where the kids’ skateboards, roller skates, knee pads and stuff gets stowed away unobtrusively in the garage.

    Clearly just me then. (blushes with shame)

    • Marthy says:

      hi there,
      Just discovered your blog and reply like the read… 2hrs in already…keep up the good work.

      I once was doing this type of work professional, trick is simple, cut the tube straight and push the silicone rather then pull. Use steady speed and steady flow. Once done the joint should look good if you have 100+ hrs of experience. If not it is not a problem. Mix 1/20 dish soap to water,dip your finger in and run it on the joint, it will look perfect.
      Hope it helps.

      • Marthy says:

        The above should read :”just discovered your. Blog and I really like the read “

      • Karen says:

        I understood. :) Thanks Marthy. (I’ve done the push thing before but just don’t feel like I have very good control that way.) ~ karen!

  4. Kelli says:

    Whew! I was really worried about those trundle cages! Crap! There’s something else to clean and I don’t even know what it is!

  5. mimiindublin says:

    Looks good to me. Btw, I like your kitchen as is, just saying..

    • Karen says:

      HI mimi. Thanks! I’m just fixing the gross stuff. Keeping the cupboards cause I like my old, authentic cupboards. The grout is falling out of the floor. The floor I’ve always hated because it was laid down by an amateur. And my sink has become stained and gross. So … out with the uch and in with the yup. That made no sense. ~ karen!

  6. Feral Turtle says:

    Looks amazing! I have never even heard of grout paint.

  7. karenagain says:

    lol caulk.

  8. sera says:

    I have no idea how I missed your original grout post. Since we just remodeled our kitchen which wiped out the savings, we have to make do with a truly ugly almond colored tile (with 70’s brown flower accent) as our bathtub surround. The grout is disgusting and chipping away. The question is, how long do I wait before I have to give in and regrout even though I want to take a sledgehammer to it?
    And if I do have to give in, how long do I have to wait to take a shower in my only bathroom?

    • Karen says:

      THAT’S the problem we have!!! Only one bathroom! Try remodelling a bathroom when it’s the only one you have! ~ karen

  9. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Isn’t your trundle cage where you all keep your hockey equipment up there..snicker..snicker..I knew someone would ask..that’s how I always tell who reads the comments first and who just scrolls on down..sorry I’m late..been sick..spent 4 hours at Emergency Room yesterday..I guess that’s Urgent Care to you..not the flu..stomach virus.. trundle cage..you kill me Karen..lol

    • Karen says:

      You had to go to the ER for a stomach virus??!!! OMG. Hope they gave you one wollop of a shot. ~ karen

      • Nancy Blue Moon says:

        Dr said a severe stomach/intestinal virus/bug what ever…I was too miserable to care after 3 days of puking and pooping my guts out..I had multiple tests and IV fluids and nausea meds..and of course had to be checked to see if I was having a heart attack because of the surgery..they couldn’t have handled it at my regular MD office..there were lots of people there with these symptoms cause of the severe flu epidemic down here..first thing they do is slap a mask on you..I’m just very happy it wasn’t the flu but still having nausea problems..

  10. Rebecca says:

    Hmm, thanks for all the tips! The bleach does next to nothing (I’m always crazy with the bleach-straight up and let it sit) I think because the funky moldy stuff starts behind the caulk. But I will try the anti-mold stuff next time. I feel the need to defend the undermount sink though. I LOVE that I can just wipe all the crumbs and veggie peels into the sink and clean it out later. Even with the nastiness, I will totally put one in if I ever redo a kitchen.

  11. Cat says:

    My mum, who used to do odd jobs for a construction company, recommends outdoor caulking products for the kitchen and bathroom. They’re meant to stand up to being wet a lot and not degrade or mould quickly, but they only come in grey and white (probably primer colours come to think of it).
    Also, use baby wipes to clean your fingers after wiping the seam, apparently that’s what the pros use.

  12. Chris says:

    ARGGH! I just got a cup of coffee and was looking forward to another funny post but no Karen you had to remind me I have to stop bleaching the old caulk around the shower and just damn well replace it. But I did learn from all your readers comments that when I get around to replacing my kitchen I will use an integrated sink instead of an undermount. Thanks everyone for enlightening me.

  13. Christine says:

    I think I might have some bad news for you. I tried the same method a while ago in our bathroom. While your sink definitely looks loads better, it probably won’t stay like that very long. In out bathroom it was only a matter of weeks until the mould on the original silicone came through the new stuff. (http://www.littlehouseonthecorner.com/caulk-vs-silicone/) In the end I had to remove everything and start over again. Ups. Fingers crossed that yours hold up better!

  14. Barbie says:

    Nice job….looks like a professional did it! Someday you will have an entirely new and fabulous kitchen. I can’t wait to see that post! :)

  15. kate-v says:

    i don’t think you’d want an undermount sink. I work in differnet households and the ones with the undermopunt sinks are always grody and mildedwy and black moldy under the rim of the counter at the edge of the sink. what do you expect from an area where it is frequently wet and never sees the light – after all it’s under the ‘lip’ of the counter top and doesn’t get much ventilation. This is a recipe for mold. I don’t think anyone ever drys the underedge – it is more or less out of sight out of mind – even though it is right there in front of you, you can’t really see it without holding a mirror up to it. this is a pooor design, i think. the top of the sink may get yucky, too but at least you can see it – it is in the open air and it gets light and your can scrub it every time you clean the sink

    • KJ says:

      Unless you are lucky like me and have a mother-in-law who checks your undermount sinks and tells you when they are dirty under there!

      • Patti says:

        HAHAHAHAHA. That sounds like my mother-in-law!

      • koo says:

        Many undermount sinks are mounted without a reveal – that is, the counter hangs over the sink, hiding the joint. These get icky because you never see them. However, some sinks are undermounted with a slight reveal, – the sink is under the counter, but the counter does not overhang the sink opening. In this case (like mine), the caulk line is completely visible. Still gets icky, but you notice! I believe that the fully hidden (no reveal) undermount sink is not allowed in commercial kitchens just because it is so impossible to keep clean under there.

  16. v says:

    My comment is going to seem really weird to most but here goes. I once got “white out” correction fluid on a blouse. I washed it countless times and could never ever remove the white out no matter what I did. For those needing white grout cover up type paint, have you considered using white out correction fluid?

  17. Mary says:

    Everything I read said you had to remove the old caulking before doing new or it would peel up quick. Let me know if yours sticks because that would save me a ton of time, lol.
    PS: We saw a mini-van on the road that was rusted out. They had filled all the holes with that expanding yellow caulk. I said “look at that van filled with caulk” and both my kiddos started cracking up. Apparently they didn’t know what caulk was and thought I said something else.

  18. cred says:

    makes me what to try bleach again- I have a problem with the bathroom tiles. I asked at home depot and the dude assured me that the clorax bleach pen would solve the problem- he lied! It didn’t do shit.
    I tried the grout pen and a grout colourant and it didn’t cover very well- the shower tile grout lines are so thin, it’s difficult to get in between. And on the floor tiles in the bath, it just didn’t cover well enough- it is more like ink than paint and the grunge (the floor tiles aren’t mildewy just dirt that won’t scrub off) shows through.
    I just tried a recipe with ammonia that the big fat liar internet said works and shockingly it really does. I have tried so many different products/recipes and spent far too much time on my knees scrubbing grout with a toothbrush that I didn’t expect it to work.
    Now I have to find a good sealer- scrub it with the magic solution and seal it up once and for all.

    • Nanette says:

      Cred, was it the recipe with ammonia and Dawn? My bathroom tile and grout are stained with soap/minerals and nothing seems to get it out. The White Out does sound like a good idea for us lazy people.

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