Caulk a straight line |For what it's worth

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Caulk a straight line

Have you ever procrastinated a job on your to do list because it just seems like it's going to be a mess?  Yes, me too.  I finished putting down the vinyl floor months ago but had not caulked around the edges.  Around the entire small bathroom renovation.  The good news is that someone told me an easy method to get a straight caulk line.

easy straight line caulking tools

Each time I entered that bathroom the unfinished edges glared at me.  Still the task stayed on my job list.  I marked off other jobs above and below the caulking.  Then I was shopping in my favorite hardware store for a tool to make the caulk smooth without using my fingers.  A nice young sales person asked if I needed help.  After I explained what I was about to tackle and my fears he gave me some advice and sold me the smoothing tool, caulk, caulk gun and some painters tape.  At least I had the supplies.

needs caulk

With the holidays looming ahead I really wanted that bathroom finished and looking great so it became my priority.  This morning I awoke determined.  I had taped off a test area to see how it worked.  Can I just say at this point what a silly nilly I was to put it off?  Yep, silly nilly. 

How to tape for straight caulk lines

I thoroughly cleaned the floors and baseboards wiping the edges down so it was completely dry.  Next I used some blue painters tape to give myself a straight line along the floor edge.  Then I did the same thing along the tiled wall for a clean top edge.  

Bonus tip:  Use short 2 foot pieces of tape.  

Using short pieces of tape made it easier to maintain a straight line and when it comes to clean up it's easier to control the messy bits of wet caulk.  With the edges taped leaving a fill area for the caulk I cut off the tip on the tube of caulk.  

Bonus tip:  If you've never used this kind of caulk dispenser you might not know (I didn't) that you have to stick something like an ice pick or long nail in the cut off tip to break a seal inside so the caulk will come out.

Pull the metal handle back and drop the open container of caulk in.  When you squeeze the handle (like a gun- thus called a caulk gun) the caulk will ooze out.  It's pretty easy to control this way.  By the way, I've used those plastic tubes to repair some spots in the past and this type container is WAY easier.

How to caulk with taped edges

Gently squeeze until a small steady stream of caulk starts oozing out.  Pull the caulk gun down the line until you get to the end of the taped area.  There should be enough caulk to cover the fill area but not a huge mountain of caulk.  

Use smoothing tool for consistent caulk with less mess

Now hold a paper towel in one hand and the smoothing tool in the other.  Keep a trash can handy to toss the messy stuff away.  Hold the tool at the same angle as you glide along removing the excess caulk.  Wipe the tool clean every foot or two on the paper towel.  Discard the paper towel and get a new one as needed.  When the area is completely caulked slowly pull the tape away.  I was amazed and quite proud of the perfect straight lines left behind.

Peel away tape to reveal smooth straight caulking

One procrastinated task off the list!  Yay.  Now tell me about your success story.

These are the tools I used and a handy link to Amazon is included.  I get a very small commision from Amazon, but there is no extra cost to you by linking through this blog post.



  1. This is awesome Jeannie! I've tried caulking a bit and end up with it all over my fingers and a big mess. What a great way to do it neatly! Thanks so much for sharing this method.

  2. Looks like a good tip - I too made a HUMONGOUS mess when I tried to caulk the bathtub myself. I didn't realize how sticky that stuff was until WAY too late!

  3. Great tips Jeannie! I'm sharing it on Pinterest! Thanks for linking up to You're gonna love it!

  4. Oh for pete's sake Jeannie, this is genius! I do all of the caulking at our house and it's hard work. This will save me so much time and mess. Thanks!!!!!

  5. This looks great! I have some caulking I need to do soon, so I'll be using your tips! Way to go!

  6. What a great idea! Thank you for sharing it on SYC! Jo

  7. Great tips! That is the type of caulking gun we use, but I have never heard of the smoothing tool. Looks like it works great! Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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