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I have a granite kitchen countertop with a tile backspash. The grout in the joint where the tile abuts the countertop is crumbling, and I'm planning to scrape out as much as I can and replace it with sanded caulk.

I'm thinking of putting down masking tape on the countertop and the tile leaving only the joint exposed, to make cleanup easier. Is there any reason NOT to do this?

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Don't do it. Simply it isn't worth the time and the results vary.

  1. Will your tape be exactly right? Probably not.

  2. Will you be able to give a bit of granite for the caulk to bind to?

  3. Will you be able to flatten the caulk on that side to stop right before the tape? (or you have a bump)

Caulking shouldn't be a messy thing. Use your fingertips and you get as many swipes/tries as you want. Your counters should be wiped as you go along and should get really nothing on them.

  • OK, that sounds reasonable. Is there a trick to cleaning up the light haze I always seem to get on the smooth surfaces? – Jim Garrison Jan 18 '17 at 18:23
  • Don't get the grout on the granite. Cutting your tip at a good angle and for the tip spread to be the right size is the key for ease. I use my fingertips to press the caulk. My hands are usually an absolute mess but I get nothing on the surrounding surfaces - and I consider myself an extremely messy person. – DMoore Jan 18 '17 at 18:59
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    Yes....don't do it. Tape is useful for painted edges, and with that, you have to pull the tape when the paint is still wet. Both caulk and especially grout will be too resistant for the tape to be pulled cleanly, leaving ragged pieces of tape and possible broken edges of grout. – Knob Scratcher Jan 18 '17 at 22:16
  • I'm accepting this answer. I tried it both ways and found that a simple finger pass followed by a damp rounded-corner sponge was all that was necessary. I suppose some masking tape might help a little with that technique but as you say, it doesn't seem worth it. – Jim Garrison Jan 31 '17 at 23:02
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Actually, I think that's a great idea, and I'd tape both faces. I'd then apply a very small bead and tool (finger) it out once. Then I'd pull the tape and tool it again. You're likely to have a few spots where you apply too much caulk, and it'll come off with the tape. Your second tooling will remove the tape lines.

  • Why would you have too much caulk if you applied a very small bead the first time? – DMoore Jan 18 '17 at 23:46
  • Bubbles in the tube, stop and start, change of direction, inexperience. It happens. An ounce of prevention and all that. – isherwood Jan 19 '17 at 3:02

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