Thursday, February 28, 2013

My favorite new gadget

Hello all! How is your week going? It’s been a slow one for me…it feels like molasses or something. I’m continuing on Decrapification 2013 (yeah, I named it) and it’s going really well. Our whole front room is a pile of stuff and I’ve decided I may leave it all till I’m totally done, just to get the full effect of how much I’m purging. It feels goooood.

Today I’m sharing a gadget that I LOVE. Let me introduce you to my little friend(s) – these things have changed my life!:

how to caulk

OK, maybe that’s a bit of a strong statement, but they sure have made my life a lot easier. Throughout the basement finishing process I took on a bunch of the projects myself in order to save some money (like all the painting and installing baseboards), but I’m not always so good on the finishing touches, like caulking the trim.

I have baseboards and crown in this house that I installed years ago that are still not caulked. I don’t know what my deal is, I just get that trim up and call it done. But the thing is, the caulk makes a much bigger difference than you think. It hides all the imperfections and gaps and stuff and makes it look pretty, clean and finished.

I used a TON of it on the DIY built ins:

DIY built ins kitchen cabinets

I found those little caulking tools above last year and tried them out on all the little gaps near and on the built ins. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised – that rubber wedge makes it SO much easier and less messy.

I used it everywhere:

how to caulk how to caulk

I’ve shown you how I caulk before and how much I rely on caulk and spackle to finish up projects. They hide a multitude of sins, let me tell you.

That little corner had gaps everywhere (every house will have not perfect walls, angles, etc.) and after the caulk you wouldn’t even know:

how to caulk

I was doing some laundry last night and noticed the awful gaps behind the baseboards down there. I grabbed my caulk and little blue tool (no idea what the call it) and it was done in no time flat. See how the base is snug on one part of the wall and has a bit of a gap (mind the gap!) at another part?:

IMG_4989

Well, it’s annoying. I happens with crown occasionally too. And yes, I went from laundry to sitting on the floor caulking, that is how I roll.

Oh look, a butterfly!

Anyhoo, here’s the thing, always use paintable caulk. ALWAYS. Did I mention always? Always. You may think you won’t need to ever paint over it and then the day will come you want to and you’ll be screwed. I speak from experience (it’s not fun):

how to caulk caulking tool

I just use regular tape to close up my caulk between uses, it works just fine. Just make sure it’s air tight.

It’s hard to get a picture of using this tool (I guess I did above) but you just put a bead (or line) of caulk down the trim, then instead of your finger, you run the corner of this tool right down after it:

caulking tool

It’s BRILLIANT!! I can’t tell you how much easier it makes this process. And cleaner, so much cleaner. I take a wet paper towel and do a quick swipe afterwards to pick up any leftover caulk, but that’s it.

It takes half the time and look Ma, no gaps!:

how to caulk

Here’s a good before and after shot for you:

how to caulk how to caulk

See what I mean about making it look so much more finished? It’s such a little thing but I think it makes a big difference. I still need to paint these, but one thing at a time…

It’s a little easier and quicker on projects where the white caulk is going down on white trim. When we built the bookcases in the dining/library I was a little concerned about the caulk showing on the butcher block, so I tried out this little trick I saw on a DIY show awhile back:

how to caulk

You just lay down some painters tape – I used my green FrogTape obviously. Then you put the bead of caulk down, then swipe it (I used my blue goodness):

how to caulk

And when you’re done (I pulled it up when the caulk was still wet), you have a loverly clean, perfect line of caulk:

how to caulk

Ahhh, so nice! I used this method on every support on the bookcases and it worked great. It would be a bit of a mess to caulk on a darker surface like this without that tape laid down first. So much better!

I love sharing new tools that actually work (I guess you could call this a tool?) – I got this from a hardware store and it came with four (or five?) of the blue jobbies. It was only a few bucks if I remember right. SO worth it in my opinion.

Have you found a tool or gadget that makes life easier for you? Honestly, now that I have this one caulking isn’t that bad – dare I say almost enjoyable? It’s kind of a relaxing, therapeutic thing for me. And it’s instant gratification, which I love. :)

30 comments:

  1. OOOHH I love those built ins!! I want similar ones in my laundry.

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  2. You are SO smart! The trim in my bathroom has gaps in it.. I need to try this! Thanks for sharing Sarah! : )

    Kayla
    www.lovelucygirl.com

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  3. I love love LOVE your blog, almost as much as chocolate! ;]
    You are such an inspiration! And for ladies (like myself) who have a hubby that works many hours and isn't very handy (wink) if ya want something done ya gotta do it yahself, and all your awesome pics and info helps immensely.
    We just sold our house and our moving into a wonderful house in three weeks and even though it looks really great I still will be finding projects to do, like diy home decor. :) Thanks!!!!!

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  4. You are so funny -- "oh, look a butterfly". That's how I came to be reading your blog -- in the middle of cleaning my baseboards -- in the middle of cleaning switches and door knobs after a night of my little one having a stomach virus! By the way, as I was cleaning the baseboards, I was noticing all the imperfections and thinking I needed to learn about caulk! So, the post was very timely for me! Thanks!!

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  5. You can also use those little samples of laminate countertop that you can pick up in the kitchen section of any home improvement store. They have a nice rounded edge. And they're free. And you can toss them and get more if they get gross. ;)

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  6. So THAT'S how people get their baseboard/drywall interface so smooth. I didn't realize that until I read this post. I have many tubes of caulk at home (long story involving a project that died a-borning), and now I know how to do something with it that will make a big difference in how I feel about our house. Thank you!

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  7. How do you fill the gaps if your baseboards & trim are stained an oak color?

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  8. They are actually called caulk applicators. There is a removal tool, too.

    Here's an article with more info about the different product specs (angles, etc): http://www.toolsnob.com/archives/2009/08/dap.php

    I think now you can get generic ones less expensive than the original.

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  9. I just had to second your recommedation to ALWAYS use paintable caulk. The previous owners of our house used clear, unpaintable caulk. The room used to be painted red, but I repainted a much lighter color. Unfortunately I can't paint the caulk, so there is a line of red all around the tile work where you can see the old paint through the caulk. So frustrating. Good thing I don't like the tile either, so it will get fixed eventually. :)

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  10. oh my goodness im off to get one NOW! i still havent finished our stairway because i was tired of caulking. i did just finish caulking the bathroom though and wondered why there was nothing that made it easier:) thank you so much!!

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  11. Who ever came up with Non-paintable caulk? Seriously! We ran into it in our last rental, and didn't realize it until after we'd started painting, and it wasn't working. NIGHTMARE. Definitely, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS go for the paintable caulk. :)

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  12. Very cool! Wish I had known about these before :( I always just use my finger, and have a wet paper towel ready to wipe it off!

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  13. I'll have to put that on my list to pick up - need to do a bit of caulking here, too. I swear by those little widget glass scraper thingies. They are indispensible (sp?) for changing out the tags on your windshield. I also use them to remove tape off jars with a little windex. And you can buy refills of the blades, which last a loooong time. (:

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  14. It is so funny that you are talking about this today. My hubby and I JUST bought one of these on Saturday so we could caulk the board and batten treatment we put up. We couldn't decide if the tool would be helpful or if it was just a gimmick. Afterall, it says, "as seen on TV" on our packaging. We haven't used it yet, but now I am feeling really good that we bought it! Yeah! :) -Katie

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  15. Thank you so much for posting this! The shower in my master bathroom needs a touch-up and I've been debating on whether or not I could DIY it. I think I could, but the finger smooth method just didn't seem like it would work for me. I should've known that there was some sort of tool out there to help a girl out! I will be heading to the hardware store today to get these and the other stuff I need. Thanks!

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  16. It's a kitchen tool...I really like fresh pineapple, and the Williams.Sonoma pineapple slicer/corer makes cutting one a breeze.

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  17. How do you avoid the caulk bleeding onto a textured wall? Does the tool make this easier than the finger method? Thanks!

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  18. I find it amazing that something so small Can make such a huge difference

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  19. I have a couple of those too! They truly do make a difference, especially in the clean up time. I don't have nearly as much caulk on my hands and on uneccessary areas.

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  20. I like these, too. I use the tape, as well, against the tile floor and the colored walls. Another tool I just bought today is a self centering tape measure. Who knew?

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  21. I chuckled when you said you have places that you haven't caulked from years ago, I am going to share something that will make you shake your head and shudder....I painted our kitchen this summer. I did it two days before my niece's wedding (the one that I was pretty much decorating for and singing in and hosting people.) I was running late for either the rehearsal or something important for the wedding and had about TWO INCHES (that's it) left of trim at the top, but I knew I had pushed it too much already trying to finish it. Umm.....six months later, if you look above my kitchen cabinets, you can still see a nice few inches of bright yellow contrasting against the blue that I painted. YEs, so proud of myself. ;) I may just leave it for a few more months just to make all my guests feel completely at home. :)
    Miss you, friend.

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  22. I love finding new tools to make life easier. I found a tool my husband already had--an electric buffer he used to wax our cars. I use it to buff the furniture I paint. It saves so much time and does a great job and I don't have to kill myself buffing.

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  23. I am going to have to get one of those blue things! I have been using plastic putty knives for a while now, but it doesn't have all the extra angles that I think would really help caulking certain things. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. I'm just reading your blog for the first time and I LOVE it! You're so creative....and FUNNY! Just started a blog of my own recently. Please check it out if you have time!

    Susan
    simplymodernhome.com

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  25. I found one of those thingies at lowe's in the clearance section, and bought it because, well, it was in the clearance section. Haven't used it yet, but I will now! :)

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  26. Lead me into the light! Where can I buy one of these amazing tools?!!

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  27. I just did a ridiculous amount of caulking recently and wanted to scream (I have long fingernails)....wish I had that little tool. BUT....there is more caulking in my future so I will definitely be on the hunt for it! Thanks for the great tip!

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  28. Julie, I got mine from Lowe's I believe -- but I bet you could find them at most hardware stores. :)

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  29. Hi I just wanted to send a note telling you how thankful i am for your blog ...this post especially.....We just bought our home in october and while it doesnt need a whole lot of fixing up...it does need our personal touches...anywho i read this post a few days ago and and began to notice the same thing around our house, i pick up this handy tool and a few other things you reccommend and got to work....Thanks again

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