So I've never applied caulking before and need to refresh around my kitchen sink and tub.

Question: is it ok if some gets smoothed over on the actual sink and tub or does it need to fit in the crevice only?

Any tips on smoothing it over nicely and getting as little as possible on the walls and other surface?


The first thing you'll want to make sure to do is remove all of the old caulk so you have a smooth surface to adhere to.

Next you'll have to decide which type of caulk is best for your situation, because that will determine how easy it is to remove if you get it on other surfaces.

Latex is easier to clean up but susceptible to cracking over time, and silicone is superior but can be harder to work with and can't be wiped off easily.

For a smooth bead, make sure to not cut off too much from the end of the tube. Squeeze slow and steady. If you need to go back over and smooth, you can apply a little bit of soap and water to your finger and run it along the seam.

Have some paper towels ready to wipe any surfaces where you may accidentally get caulk.

Hope that helps!

  • What if when you smooth over with your finger you smooth it over on the walls and sink in the process? Does it need to be perfect and only in the space in between?
    – ohmmy
    Aug 24 '16 at 0:58
  • You can wipe it off with a damp rag if your quick and it shouldn't be a problem. But you'll want to make sure the gap is completely filled with a small edge on each side. So no it doesn't have to only be in the space, you want a little bit of a lip. I like to tape to get clean edges, really useful method. Here's a link: familyhandyman.com/painting/tips/tips-for-caulking
    – v15
    Aug 24 '16 at 1:03
  • Cool thanks. On caulking things like baseboard. Seems like it would be harder to remove the old caulk first. Can you simply just go over it or?
    – ohmmy
    Aug 24 '16 at 1:16
  • No I wouldn't do that. You need something that has a sharp edge that can rip it out. Get yourself something like this: amazon.com/Red-Devil-4251-Painters-6-In-1-Tool/dp/B00002N6IT/…
    – v15
    Aug 24 '16 at 1:27
  • Ok thanks. What would happen if someone just caulked over old caulking?
    – ohmmy
    Aug 24 '16 at 1:35

Old caulk on baseboard = clean it and caulk over it (with latex) and paint it.

Sink/tub/shower = remove old caulk and re-caulk. most silicone caulk requires mineral spirits (paint thinner) to clean it up. I dip my finger in spirits when I use my finger to smooth it.

  • Is there anything besides a finger that helps smooth it over so there's very minimal overlap between the two surfaces of the crack you're filling?
    – ohmmy
    Aug 24 '16 at 12:16
  • A finger works best. I use warm water with a drop of dishwashing liquid, instead of mineral spirits, though. Easier on your skin. The caulking skill is something one can learn only through experience, so be prepared that only 3rd or 4th time it will look ok. I'd start with a tub and not a kitchen sink, for this reason.
    – haimg
    Aug 24 '16 at 13:41

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