What is a Caulk Tool?
A caulk tool can refer to any number of tools used for properly laying a bead of caulk to windows, sinks, countertops, or various other applications in the home. The most common caulk tool, and perhaps the most indispensable one, is the caulk gun. A tube of caulk is placed inside the caulk gun, and a metal plunger attached to the gun presses against the bottom of the tube to press the caulk through the application tip. This caulk tool is invaluable because the caulk within the tube is largely inaccessible without it. Once the plunger has been sufficiently depressed, a squeeze trigger can be used to control the amount of caulk that releases from the tip at a given time.
Before applying caulk, sometimes it is necessary to remove old caulk from the area in need of repair. To achieve this removal, a special caulk tool specifically designed for removal can be used. It is boot-shaped, and the tip of the tool can cut into old caulk in order to pull the caulk away from the surfaces being bonded together. While this particular caulk tool can prove to be handy, it is not a necessity and can be replaced by a utility knife, chisel, screwdriver, putty knife, or similar tool. A caulk tool, however, can reduce the risk of scratching of the surfaces being bonded. There are several designs besides the boot-shaped caulk removal tool, and they all attempt the same function: to use a blade or hard edge to separate caulk from bonded surfaces.
Other caulk removal techniques involve the use of a caulk solvent, which loosens the caulk from the surface without the use of tools--though a caulk tool may be necessary to separate the loosened caulk from the surfaces. Use of this solvent is cheap and easy, however, and can be used in conjunction with a caulk tool to effectively remove old caulk.
Once a bead of caulk has been laid, it must be pressed into the corners of the surfaces being sealed or bonded. A caulk finishing tool can accomplish this, creating a smooth, even surface of caulk that is more visually appealing and effective in repelling moisture. A caulk finishing tool can be any number of things: most pros recommend simply using a finger to press the caulk into the crack, thereby smoothing it out at the same time; but for beginners, it may be helpful to use a caulk finishing tool with a rounded edge that will smooth the caulk and press it effectively. When all else fails, an old credit card or similar plastic card with a rounded edge will accomplish the same goal.
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