How to Use a Caulking Gun?

How to Use a Caulking Gun?

Table of Contents


What is caulk?

Caulk (or caulking) is a flexible material for sealing air leaks through cracks, gaps, or joints between stationary building components and materials.

What is a caulking gun?

A caulk gun is used for dispensing caulk, adhesives, or other sealants. With this tool, it is easy to fill in cracks around a bathtub, window, door, etc.

Sealing off such cracks with a waterproof filler is a simple and at the same time effective way of preventing not only leaks, but also mold and bugs as well. In addition, with caulking, less air will pass through the cracks around your doors and windows. As a result, you will lower your energy bill.

In this article, you will learn how to prepare the area for caulking and how to use a caulking gun. Ready? Let’s start!

Things You Will Need

First things first, let’s figure out the essentials for caulking.

Elements of a Caulking Gun

Now let’s consider the parts a caulking gun consists of.

Elements of a Caulking Gun

  1. frame/canister tray - the long element that protrudes from the handle for holding the caulk tube;
  2. handle - is used to hold the tool;
  3. trigger - part of the handle - is squeezed to force the rod down the frame;
  4. plunger - the flange (at the end of the rod) that pushes the bottom of the tube up in order to dispense the caulk;
  5. rod - the long metal bar running the length of the frame.

Some caulking guns also include a tip cutter - a small hole in the handle with a clipper inside. Using it, you can easily snip off the tip of the caulk tube.

Using a Caulking Gun - A Step-By-Step Guide


Step #1 - Remove the old caulk

Remove the old caulk

It is important to avoid building a new layer on weak foundations. To clean off the old caulk, you can use a putty knife. Put the sharp edge of your knife at the base of the old caulk and push the knife forward. Keep pushing until you get rid of the caulk. As simple as that! A utility knife will also do the job. If you are dealing with silicone caulk, just raise one side and pull the strip out with needle-nose pliers.

Step #2 - Wash down the crack

Wash down the crack

Get a bucket with hot water. Using a rag, wash the crack with rubbing alcohol + disinfectant. After that, take another rag soaked in hot water and make the crack clean. Finally, use a piece of cloth to dry it off. In case there is some caulk or dirt, lift it up with a plastic scraper.

Step #3 - Apply painter’s tape for more precision

Apply painter

Stick one strip of the painter’s tape above the crack and another one below the crack. This way, the caulk won’t contact with the areas you want to leave untouched. Remove the tape immediately after using silicone caulk so it doesn’t get stuck.


Step #1 - Press the release button

Press the release button

Press a small trigger on the back of the caulking gun to loosen a steel rod running through the frame. Pull the rod as far back as you can and hold it using the other hand. You can also ask someone to help you if necessary.

Step #2 - Load the caulking tube with the nozzle facing away

Load the caulking tube with the nozzle facing away

Insert the caulking tube into the frame, holding the steel rod back. The nozzle should be facing away from you. First, insert the flat end of the tube into the back of the caulking gun. When the back end hits the back of the gun, the front end of the tube should be lowered downwards. Note that the tube should be level and snug.

Step #3 - Using a metal rod, pierce the tube

Using a metal rod, pierce the tube

Push the back of the metal rod into the caulking tube if the latter one sits securely inside the frame. The hook should plunge deep in the back. The hook will keep the caulk in place and help the trigger work properly.

Step #4 - Cut the front of the nozzle at a 45°angle

Cut the front of the nozzle

Using a pair of scissors, cut the nozzle so the caulk comes out at the needed width. In case you are going to work with small cracks, the nozzle can be cut closer to its end. For large cracks, cut the nozzle close to the tube. If you are not sure, cut the nozzle near its end, you can always adjust it later. Match the size of the hole in the tip to the width of the seam/crack you need to caulk.


Step #1 - Pull the trigger & practice beforehand

Pull the trigger and practice beforehand

Hold your caulking gun at a 45°angle with the nozzle facing downwards. Press the trigger of the caulking gun moving the tool steadily in one direction over a sheet of paper. Note that the caulk should come out steadily. If you move the caulking gun too fast, the result will be uneven. In case you move the tool at a very slow speed, the caulk will be unworkable and clumpy as well. Look for the golden mean.

Step #2 - Hold your caulking gun at a 45°angle to the crack

Hold your caulking gun

Use both of your hands for it. Put one hand by the trigger and hold the end of the caulking tube with the other hand. Tilt the tool 45° and the caulk will flow towards the nozzle.

Step #3 - Push the caulk into the nozzle by pressing the trigger

Push the caulk into the nozzle by pressing the trigger

Right after you push the trigger, the caulk will be pushed out of the nozzle by the steel rod. Make sure you press the trigger firmly and steadily.

Step #4 - Move your caulking gun along the crack

Move your caulking gun along the crack

With the caulk steadily coming out of the nozzle, move the tool down the crack. When you can’t squeeze the trigger, just release it. As soon as it springs back in its original place, you can start this procedure again.

Step #5 - Smooth over the caulk

Smooth over the caulk

Even out the caulk using a heated metal spoon. You can heat it in hot water, for example. All you need to do is slide the spoon (the curved edge) over the caulk and you will get a smooth caulking line. Alternatively, you can use your finger instead of the spoon, just wet it beforehand.

Step #6 - Peel off the painter’s tape & let the caulk dry

Peel off the painter's tape and let the caulk dry

Remove the tape slowly but surely. After that, leave the caulk to dry. The time you need to wait is specified on the tube with the caulk. Typically, it is not less than 24 hours.

Final Thoughts

How to use a caulking gun for the first time? Now that you’ve read this article, we hope that you have learnt a thing or two about your caulking gun use. In case you don’t have this tool, choose from the best options on Mega Depot!

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