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Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

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  • Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

    I was watching Mike Holmes this morning and just after I went into the other room for something I heard him describing how one of the pros he had installing something had a wooden dowel in a dish of soapy water that he used to smooth the silicone caulking he was applying. Unfortunately I didn't get back fast enough to actually see it but it sounds like a good idea. I tried Googling it but the closest I found was someone mentioning that a pro that had done work for him had applied the caulk, brushed a detergent & water mix over it lightly with a 2" brush and then used a dowel to "strike" the caulk.

    Anyone tried this? If it works it would have be a lot easier than spitting on your finger before smoothing the caulk with it....
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  • #2

    Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

    No too much work. I drag my index finger on top of the tip and sticking out past the tip to form the silicon or any other caulking I do. Its less mess and very little clean up. Just use a rag to clean off your finger. Also by dragging your finger behind you need to use a smaller hole so that it doesn't glob up in front of your finger and make a mess. Once you master this its easy to do.
    nnieman likes this.
    https://www.facebook.com/gregsreinventions2016/

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    • #3

      Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

      I second what Greg said. If however it blobs up in front of your finger, it will smear the caulking on either side. A good way to clean this up is by rolling a clean damp rag to about1/2 inch or so, bend it at 90 degree and press it in the corner while moving at a quick pace. The rag will not disturb the bead but will pick up the smear on both side. Wetting your finger before smoothing will help as well.
      Chris
      I only excel at fixing my my goof ups

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      • #4

        Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

        One mistake a lot of people make is cutting too large a hole in the tip of the tube. The quickest way to make a mess is to put too much on in the first place. Start with a very small hole, you can always enlarge it if needed.

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        • #5

          Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

          My BIL is a glass installer, I do it his way: apply masking tape on each side of the joint to be caulked (goes fairly quickly), maybe an eighth of an inch on each side, then apply a SMALL bead in the corner or between the 2 strands of tape. Then smooth over with your finger (no wetting your finger). Remove tape immediately.

          Works every time (caulking is close to invisible), and if you consider clean up or fixing problems with other methods, it's a quick way to get perfect results. Over time the caulking lasts longer too because it doesn't have any deep cracks (applying only a bead) or thin edges (untaped, squishing down with something like your finger or a dowel)
          Frank
          SPCHT

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          • #6

            Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

            I get the same result every time with my method and I dont waste time with tape. If the caulk cracks your not using enough. I have never had it crack ever.
            https://www.facebook.com/gregsreinventions2016/

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            • #7

              Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

              Ive never seen caulking crack, it’s just that if you leave a round bead like most caulking manufacturers recommend, then it leaves a crevice on each side of the bead where the bead meets the wall. After a while this crevice (crack) becomes a place for mold to grow. I also find that most of the time when people run their finger down the joint it doesn’t look great everywhere and it starts to peel after a while in places.

              Its not easy to have a discussion about what looks best because we all have our standards, including the time spent on a job. To put tape around a tub it takes me a total of about five minutes, max.

              FWIW
              Frank
              SPCHT

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              • #8

                Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

                I tool large joints (over 1/4") with a piece of wood, usually a shingle or stick I find in the scrap pile although at one time I made a specially shaped tool out of pine. You whittle the stick to fit the joint you are tooling. I also mask some joints with masking tape to keep them clean. I use a jar of soapy water as lubricant.

                For kitchen, tub and tile silicone I use my finger. The beads are usually around 1/8" - 1/4". The trick to getting a nice consistant joint is to take two or three passes when necessary like you're planing wood. Just take the peaks off with the first pass, a little deeper with the second and finally a finish pass. Always have a clean rag on you and keep your tools, fingers and the tip of your caulking gun clean. It helps to have a very even, smooth bead to begin with and don't be afraid to use masking tape but don't depend on it either, you need to lay down a smooth consistent bead.

                The trick to making sure silicone bonds is to clean the substrate with alcohol and never even touch it before caulking. Even the oil from your fingers will keep silicone from bonding.
                Last edited by dave_k; 02-02-2018, 03:24 AM.

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                • #9

                  Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

                  I bought a package of three caulking tips from Princess auto once, looked like a good idea. I never had a chance to use them, has anybody else?
                  Rob

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                  • #10

                    Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

                    I have seen these tools many times for under $10.00. Never bought one but I think they would work well for a lot of guys. The head is silicone which will prevent smearing. Just waatch the 2 minutes video
                    Chris
                    I only excel at fixing my my goof ups

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                    • #11

                      Re: Anyone tried smoothing Silicone Caulk with a dowel?

                      I use a caulking tool like the one in Chris' video. I tried everything over the years and all those other methods work but I found the caulking tool to be the most consistent way. A bonus is that one's fingers don't get all messy (I don't like messy fingers!) and you don't need a bowl of vinegar or soapy water to get elbowed onto the floor or wherever it can make the most mess or do the most damage!

                      Ken

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