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  • Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

    I caulked a bathtub in my house using a cheap-o caulking gun. It was my first time caulking anything, so the crappiness of the work may well be due to the worker but I hold the tool at least partially responsible.

    Forgetting that I probably made the hole in the end of the caulk tube too big, the gun itself was terribly inconsistant with the amount of pressure it was giving. Sometimes the rod would't move with the trigger, and often the caulk tube would shift out of place.

    Since I have another bathtub to do, and this one's much more visible in the master ensuite, I went out to buy a better caulking gun. A month or so ago, I saw a Black and Decker one that ran on AA batteries. That seemed like a good idea and I wish I'd picked it up when I saw it as it was on sale for around $30. I figure that I'd never have to let go the trigger and give it another pull, wondering whether it was actually going to engage the rod. I figured I'd just get even flow while holding the trigger and it would stop nicely when I let go.

    This is what I said to a guy at Home Depot today when asking him if they had any electric ones and he just went on to laugh at me. He was a good natured guy, joking around, but basically made the point that it was really me that was the problem and convinced me not to bother with an electric one.

    Besides, the only one they had was a Ryobi for $69 that didn't include the battery or charger. Probably a good option if you're already using Ryobi cordless tools, but not for me.

    Back to the non-powered ones, he showed me three ranging from $5 to $10. I think the one I used last time wasn't even as good as the $5 ones.

    So then... I bought the $10 one and figure it'll do a better job for me.

    It seems kinda stupid of me to use it though without first checking with you guys. Why have access to a forum like this if I'm not gonna hit y'all up for info when buying a tool, right?

    So then... should I return it and buy an electric one, or do I just need to learn to do better job? What do the pros use? Electric or manual?

    As far as technique... I know that I'll use the smallest part of the tip this time on the caulk tube. Last time I used the second-to-smallest. I know to keep some water on hand to keep my finger wet when pressing it in, and to try to do each line all in one shot.

    Just want to make sure I've made the right choice on the caulking gun.

    Thanks all!

  • #2
    Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

    Originally posted by Wild Weasel View Post
    I caulked a bathtub in my house using a cheap-o caulking gun. It was my first time caulking anything, so the crappiness of the work may well be due to the worker but I hold the tool at least partially responsible.

    Forgetting that I probably made the hole in the end of the caulk tube too big, the gun itself was terribly inconsistant with the amount of pressure it was giving. Sometimes the rod would't move with the trigger, and often the caulk tube would shift out of place.

    Since I have another bathtub to do, and this one's much more visible in the master ensuite, I went out to buy a better caulking gun. A month or so ago, I saw a Black and Decker one that ran on AA batteries. That seemed like a good idea and I wish I'd picked it up when I saw it as it was on sale for around $30. I figure that I'd never have to let go the trigger and give it another pull, wondering whether it was actually going to engage the rod. I figured I'd just get even flow while holding the trigger and it would stop nicely when I let go.

    This is what I said to a guy at Home Depot today when asking him if they had any electric ones and he just went on to laugh at me. He was a good natured guy, joking around, but basically made the point that it was really me that was the problem and convinced me not to bother with an electric one.

    Besides, the only one they had was a Ryobi for $69 that didn't include the battery or charger. Probably a good option if you're already using Ryobi cordless tools, but not for me.

    Back to the non-powered ones, he showed me three ranging from $5 to $10. I think the one I used last time wasn't even as good as the $5 ones.

    So then... I bought the $10 one and figure it'll do a better job for me.

    It seems kinda stupid of me to use it though without first checking with you guys. Why have access to a forum like this if I'm not gonna hit y'all up for info when buying a tool, right?

    So then... should I return it and buy an electric one, or do I just need to learn to do better job? What do the pros use? Electric or manual?

    As far as technique... I know that I'll use the smallest part of the tip this time on the caulk tube. Last time I used the second-to-smallest. I know to keep some water on hand to keep my finger wet when pressing it in, and to try to do each line all in one shot.

    Just want to make sure I've made the right choice on the caulking gun.

    Thanks all!
    The reason you're caulking looks bad is because you're not good at it. The gun means nothing, nor will it add quality. The powered guns work the same way as the manual guns, but use less effort. They are rarely used in plumbing, but in structural caulking, which can be extensive on commercial projects.

    My advice: (1) practice and get better or (2) Hire a pro.
    the dog

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

      I've used the caulking guns (manual) for sinks,tubs,toilets etc..I find them to hard to get into tight spots.Prefer hand squeeze tubes.

      You stated you keep lots of water on hand,so I assume you are using a water based caulk.

      I didn't notice if you were using a wet sponge as your final step.You need to keep it well rinsed as you go and dont apply too much pressure into the caulk joint.

      Pre-wet your product first always helps.

      Most of the time you can just Sponge it all off and start over.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

        ive never used a electric caulking gun, so cant comment. manual ones serve me ok.

        you could try masking tape to keep the sealant from getting everywhare, i do it that way.Its a bit time consuming but neater in the end.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

          An electric caulking gun is not going to improve your ability to apply caulking. The most important thing is applying an even and steady bead and tooling it to look good.
          I like using the small tubes in tight areas like tubs and showers.
          Last edited by Newman; 03-04-2007, 02:01 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

            i use a good gun it cost about $20. when doing caulking i find the best tip i can give is, less is more. you don't need a alot of caulk to make a good seal and it just looks cleaner with a fine bead.

            fastplumber out

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

              Thanks guys! That's pretty much exactly what I expected.

              drtyhands: It's silicone I'm using. I keep the water on hand because I was told to put down a bead of caulk, then wet my finger and run my finger along the bead to set it into place.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

                I will run painters tape sometime, when I see that I have a super finicky customer, works darn good. Just figure out your distance I will go about 3/8", upper and lower area. Then apply your caulking, peal the tape off, be careful not to let the tape touch your work, don't peal up but away from your work. Do not let the caulking dry, when tape is off, wet your finger or use wet sponge and give it one more super lightly smear. What happens when you peal off the tape it leaves a lip sort of, and you want that part flatten down, good luck... To me the added time and expense with the tape is well worth the effort since the customer is going to say, Nice Job There! Works every time.
                Great Link for a Construction Owner/Tradesmen, and just say Garager sent you....

                http://www.contractorspub.com

                A good climbing rope will last you 3 to 5 years, a bad climbing rope will last you a life time !!!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

                  I used tape on my first tub as well, but the tiles weren't entirely even all the way around so there were places where the tape couldn't lay flat so it didn't do much good.

                  I'm sure that contributed to the less than decent result.

                  I didn't care so much on that one since the reason I was caulking was purely as a stop gap. My whole predicament with the shower I'm building was due to a failure and the tiles coming off. On the second tub, I could see the tiles starting to loosen and the last thing I wanted was for that one to fail before the first one is done. Water was seeping in at the seam because the caulking was way beyond the need for replacement.

                  Now at least the damage should stay as it is rather than getting worse.

                  It's kinda funny because this whole house is in really great shape. It's just the bathrooms that seem to have had half-assed work done on them 10 years ago or so that contributed to the problems I'm having now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

                    ww. the first mistake was using silicone, save that for the girls

                    dirtyhands had it right. use a water based latex or a water based latex with silicone.

                    when caulking old work, the most critical step is preping the exisiting surface and joint. you need to scrape away all of the old mess from the joint.

                    try to use as little amount of water to clean out the joint.. or use air or a hair dryer to blow it out and dry the joint. too much water will cause the joint to run and weaken the bond to the surface and joint.

                    keep in mind that the finished joint is what you'll be looking at. the real important part is to get the caulking into the joint. that's where your finger or a good bead pushed into the joint is required.

                    apply a good bead of caulking into the joint using a push method. meaning the wet caulking will be at your hands as you move forward. a pull method is not going to apply the bead you need.it will be decorative, but not forcefull enough to push itself into the joint.

                    the art is in the finish. a finger, no glove, is used to force the bead into the joint and fill the voids. a damp sponge, also known as a mason sponge, grout sponge, $2.00 at home depot. is then used to feather the joint smooth and clean. the object is to keep the sponge clean and damp, not soaked. this step will give you the pro finish. start from 1 side and pull the sponge towards you in a slow even pressure. too hard and you wipe away the caulk, too soft and and you smear it all over. keep the sponge clean. you can use all the sides to keep it clean, prior to washing it out.

                    also there are colored caulks and sanded and non-sanded caulks.

                    i use color when the grout is not white. use smoothe on smoothe grout, typically 1/8'' and smaller joint and sanded caulking when the joint is bigger or the grout is sanded.

                    remember prep is most critical to get a good fininsh and proper seal.

                    you will have good luck with caulking guns on flat work, around tubs and showers. and squeeze tubes around toilets and sinks. i use 95% squeeze tubes by "dap" and "polyseam seal"

                    keep the silicone for the pros who do shower doors. by the way, mineral spirits is used to clean silicone. not water.

                    rick.

                    hope this helps. prep,prep, and more prep.
                    phoebe it is

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

                      Whoa... this is news to me.

                      I bought GE Silicone II. Seemed to be the right stuff. Their website seems to be down right now, but here's another mention of it:

                      http://www.factsfacts.com/MyHomeRepair/caulk.htm

                      Should I return it and get something water based?

                      I'll go look for that grout sponge at HD...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

                        The problem I have with the silicone is completing the job in a timely fashion while controling it in the grout joints.

                        I have seen some really nice silicone applications.
                        Both silicone and water based caulk are used,they also both breakdown over the years.So if I dont need the strength that silicone provides (shower door assembly),my preference goes towards the w/b caulk because it's easier to prep for re-application when the time comes.

                        As for as water closet goes,I would hate to have to R/R one for drain cleaning with the silicone technique applied and try to match.

                        This is only my preference.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

                          I rarely use silicone. I like this stuff for tubs/shower...

                          http://www.polyseamseal.com/products...-Ultra-Sealant

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Electric Caulking Gun: Worth the money?

                            I use a regular 5 dollar caulking gun and painters tape with water based caulk. Does a great job, but be warned - it takes a lot of time!

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