Sir Caulks-Alot — One Beer Project

caulk_gunYou may remember the wall, the closet organizer, the garage storage shelves and the towel bar trauma 1 through 3. Well, I’m at it again. Despite multiple home-improvement debacles, I still believe I can repair home ills. I think it’s my dad’s fault because he can repair anything and I believed I inherited that talent. Not so. I know exactly what I want and I have an idea for repairing it, but plans and result rarely align. Regardless the perpetual and frequent setbacks, I pursue an idea and invent a project. This time it was a caulk job – the garage door.

I laid out my tools:

  • silicone
  • caulk gun
  • wipes
  • backer rod
  • brush
  • scissors
  • beer

Such a simple repair. I bet even a project-challenged architect could master it and on this occasion…I did.

I knew exactly what to do.

  1. Arrange your tools so you can see them or keep them close so a visually-impaired person could find them. This is in case you drink the beer before starting the repair job.
  2. Use the brush and a wipe to clean the area to remove any deleterious substances. That means clean the surfaces so the silicone will stick.
  3. Install backer rod. The backer rod is a closed-cell material inserted in deep or wide joints to create a cavity the caulk can fill without stressing the material.
  4. I broke a sweat so I drank 1/3 of my beer.
  5. Snip the tip off the silicone tube. Snip it at a 60 degree angle and wide enough to fill the joint or 1/4″ in my case.
  6. Press the trigger on the caulk gun to start the silicone flow, place the tip in the joint and while steadily pressing the trigger, drag your caulk gun along the joint
  7. I drank another 1/3 of my beer.
  8. Dampen your finger and tool the joint.
  9. While I let it set, I drank the rest of my beer.

Did you know most painters and installers incorrectly install caulk? They often use caulk to cover joints, but caulk is supposed to cushion joints so materials move without impacting the weather resistance. The most common installation error is three-point bonding which makes the caulk joint fail. Caulk is designed to bridge the gap. That means you want it to bond on the joint sides, but not the back or bottom of the joint. If it bonds to the back and materials move, it will pull apart. the best practice is to to use a bond breaker (like tape) or a backer rod to prevent the caulk from sticking. Your joint will last longer.

Anyway, either simplicity, competence, or the beer made my home improvement caulk job a success, but I learn from every project and here’s what I learned from the caulk job.

  • use gray-colored silicone for outside to blend better with concrete and aluminum.
  • drink two beers one before and one during.

Maybe this is is the firstof many successful projects. Next on the list is door shims, caulk the tubs, outdoor grill, stone patio, nonpermeable window sills and relocating those rocks. That sounds like many ills. Is there a doctor in the house to keep this architect from hurting himself?