Tip for Smoothing Silicone Caulk
By: Joe Truini
100% silicone caulk has great adhesion and flexibility, making it the best choice for caulking around a bathtub, but it’s so sticky it can be hard to spread out evenly.
To make it easier to spread silicone caulking:
- Put denatured alcohol in a plant mister type spray bottle.
- Use a caulking gun to apply a bead of 100% silicone caulk to the joint.
- Apply a fine mist of denatured alcohol to the caulking bead using the spray bottle.
- Use your finger to smooth the bead of caulking with your finger before the alcohol evaporates.
Watch this video to find out more.
- How to Caulk Around a Tub (video)
- Tub Caulking Tips (video)
- Caulking Around a Bathtub (video)
- Homeowner’s Guide to Caulk (article)
Joe Truini: I’m caulking this tub with 100% silicone caulk. And I like using 100% silicone for two reasons. One, it’s got great adhesion—it sticks to almost anything. And it’s really flexible, so over time it won’t break free.
Now, the downside of 100% silicone is it is not water soluble, so you’ll have to clean up with a solvent. And also, it’s so sticky that when you try to smooth it out with your finger, sometimes you can either pull it out of the joint or leave a really rough surface.
So, here is the trick, and this works great. I learned this trick from a reader, Herman. And what he suggested is using denatured alcohol. You put it in a little pump sprayer like this, a little plant mister, and just very lightly mist the surface.
That’s all you need, just a little light coating. And that allows your finger to just glide right along. Look at that. How perfect is that? What you end up with is a perfectly smooth bead, each and every time.