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Common Household Remedies Request

Man, I hate caulk.

But painting a hallway that hasn't been painted in 30 years in an Old House that settles.... I need caulk.

So there you are. This isn't even a request, really; just a highly compressed rant.

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CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

The key to working with any kind of silicone caulk, in addition to having a good caulking gun and cutting the tube correctly for your application, is to keep your finger tip(s) wet with rubbing alcohol as you smooth it out (or, I'm told, spritz the bead with GE Caulk Smoother or a non-ammonia aerosol glass cleaner before running your finger over the bead) and have dry paper towels handy to wipe up the excess from your digits every time you pull it away from your bead and an alcohol damp cloth ready to rescue your hand, nose, and anything else that unexpectedly gets contaminated with caulk, and have a cup of alcohol to dip into so you can get right back at it if you're doing the wet finger instead of the spritz method. (What you do about the alcohol stinging if you have cuts on your finger tips, I don't know.)

Actually, they tell you not to but you can use water on your fingers to smooth out the silicone bead but, absolutely, the crack you're filling has to be bone dry before you start.

Submitted by lambert on

But man, alcohol in an enclosed hallway? Yikes!

* * *

That said, the ease of application from a caulking gun still beats any other application method, to my mind... I don't think I'm going to be spackling long runs...

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

And if you're feeling especially ambitious, plaster of Paris is the best. It's actually not that much more work than compound or spackle. Personal story: The deep crevices in my very old apartment that I meticulously filled and sanded (before painting) 15 years ago have only *just* started to expand.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Since the post isn't specific, I'm guessing you are dealing with a host of issues. First things first, surface preparation: get rid of all dust, bumps, previous paint drops and irregularities and sand smooth all joints and surfaces. Go over everything with a drywall sanding pole so that you don't have irregularly smooth or rough areas. Second, there isn't any alternative to caulk for baseboard, trim, and dissimilar material joints. For that, use a standard, high-quality acrylic/latex caulk. Stay away from silicone which CANNOT be painted. Third, regarding cracks in plaster, drywall corners, holes, etc. After doing surface prep, if you have huge, long cracks, if you have plaster, you will want to open them up to something solid, and coat them and the surrounding area a wide area of Plaster Weld (a product that drys pink) and then fill the larger holes/cracks (anything over 3/16-1/4 inch) with the standard (not light) Durabond 90. It is called "90" because that is the working time. You use Durabond because it is much stronger than regular thinspread joint compound, won't shrink, and won't crack. You have to be careful with it though, and not make it proud of the surface, because you can't sand it. After it is dry, cover the crack with fiberglass tape and several coats of thin spread joint compound, which you sand between coats. You need to do thin coats because any painted surface under the joint compound is too non-porous and bubbles will form in thicker joint compound spreads.

For long hairlines, just skip the Durabond step, but DON'T skip the plaster weld or fiberglass tape, or you are just going to have a crack again in no time. Joint compound has ZERO strength. For nail holes, make sure there isn't a proud surface and give them as many thin coats of joint compound needed to make them flush. If you have a "dimply" plaster surface, once you repair cracks and nail holes, you may have an irregular surface, which is why pros will often thin coat the entire wall with joint compound. If you don't care about that, and feel it enhances the rustic nature, then you don't care about that and feel it enhances the rustic nature!

CMike's picture
Submitted by CMike on

...this is what I have at the top of the tile wainscot in one of the bathrooms here and I painted on it. It's been a while so I don't remember for sure.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

Never caulk drywall or plaster cracks. Only use caulk between baseboard and trim, and plaster, drywall. Those 8th inch cracks should be ok if you used fiberglass tape over them and faired them out with joint compound (spackle). Durabond is only necessary for 1/4 cracks.

If you want heavy duty caulk (outdoor use level), use a quality urethane like Sikaflex or 3M product before silicone, but for painting with latex indoor paint a good quality latex should last as long as the paint does. Always use a quality, name brand caulk no matter what kind you use.