Spring Cleaning: How To Fix Cracked Caulk

Okay.  This project is NOT exciting and creative, but it’s what I worked on over the weekend, it does take an hour or less, and it goes a long way toward sprucing up your space and restoring beauty to your home.  If you notice as you are doing your spring cleaning that some spaces that look like this:

How To Fix Cracked Caulk

… it’s time to fix your caulk.

I am sharing this today because I had NO idea how to fix mine, I just knew it definitely needed to be done.  My husband is not really the handyman-sort, so I decided to ask around how to do it.  Turns out, it’s extremely easy.  The guys at my day job had all kinds of tips for me when I asked for advice!

First of all, every home is different so I want to be clear that what I’m talking about is fixing your indoor silicone caulk.  If yours is fairly rubbery (or seemed to be, at one time) these tips should work for you.  Some of the tips will work for outdoor caulk too – but as that’s not a project I’ve tackled, I hate to advise you on that.

See, over time, the silicone can get a little brittle and separate due to your house settling, heat and cold, etc.  This happened to us over the past 9 years.  I think it’s really easy to overlook when you see it very single day, but take a look around and see if you notice any spots in your house that need a facelift, because it’s just a $5 project that can make a big difference when it comes to first impressions.

What you will need:

  • Silicone caulk.  If it’s in an area that will look funny if you add white, buy the paintable caulk.  It may come in a few different colors at your hardware store – you may find just the right shade to match your area, but white is generally a safe choice.  (I would advise against clear, since the whole point of filling a crack is NOT to see it anymore.)  You can get a giant tube and gun if you have a whole lot to do, or if you’re going to be fixing cracks outdoors, but for minor interior projects, a small tube should suffice.  Read the tube; it will tell you what areas that formula works best in (kitchens, bathrooms, etc.)
  • A screwdriver, putty knife, and/or utility knife.  This is for removing the old caulk.  It will depend how old/degraded the stuff is that you’re taking out and to which tool(s) will end up working best for your situation.
  • Optionally – gloves.  This really just depends if you’re willing to get messy.
  • Shop towels or junk towels – you will need a damp towel on-hand to wipe up excess that you’re willing to throw away when the job is done.  Old T-shirts actually work really well for this purpose too.

First, remove the old caulk.  Depending on how old it is, it may be really easy to remove, or it may be more difficult.  In a lot of cases, just prying one end out with a screwdriver or putty knife will allow you to peel out the whole strip.  If it gives you trouble, you may have to cut the old caulk out.

How To Fix Cracked Caulk

Once you’ve cleaned out the old stuff, add the new.  Cut a tip on your tube that is *just* smaller than the crack that needs to be filled.  Angle your tube against the crack, and squeeze an even amount into the crack.

Now, use your finger (gloved, if you want, because this stuff is pretty sticky) and smooth the line down, pressing the caulk to fill the entire crack.  Special tools for getting a nice concave line might exist, but your finger is actually perfect for this job.

How To Fix Cracked Caulk

Wipe up any excess (it’s good to have a few shop towels on hand – this was my first time ever and I had a little bit more mess to wipe up than say, a contracter would), wash your hands, and that is it!  And the thing is, if you really goof when you attempt this the first time, you can just wait until it dries, and strip it back out (same as when you removed the original old stuff), and start over.  So there really is no worry here of, what if I do a bad job, or what if it takes me a few tries to get the hang of it.  It can be re-done if your first attempt is less than perfect.

The particular formula you buy will tell you how long it needs to dry/cure. If you need to paint it, make sure you are using paintable caulk, and the tube will tell you when it’s safe to do so (this one that I bought can be painted in just 30 minutes).

Now just admire your handiwork!  I have to say, I’m pretty darn proud of tackling it myself.  I fixed spots in the living room and bathroom while I had to tube out, too. :)

How To Fix Cracked Caulk

Adrianne

Comments

  1. Kirsten says

    Great tips! My hubby isn’t a handyman either, so a lot of the advice I get comes from guys at work, too – LOL. This is easy enough to do the whole house in a weekend – thanks for the tip!

  2. Ro says

    Another tip on caulking is to clean the area with alcohol to clean the area first . then do the calking.
    when I do this I put a little alcohol on my finger when press out. I also can be used to clean up screw driver or what ever tool you use.
    I have been doing this for many years and it works.

  3. says

    Goo tip. I filled the caulk on my counter top along the window. The Texas drought & heat has done a job on the caulk all over. I started repairing the joints between ceiling and walls this winter. It’s pretty easy too, but you have to stand on a ladder!

  4. Inga says

    What helps as well not to stick to your finger when you smooth it out is to get small cup and make mixture of soap and water. And then you tip your finger/fingers in it and start smoothing and it won’t stick to you so easily.

  5. says

    That seems simple enough. It is almost too bad that you can’t use this to seal cracks in the foundation. We have a few cracks in our foundation that need a patch job. It would be helpful to know what to do for those types of cracks. If they are DIY easy or if you need a professional to come help out.

  6. says

    Another tip on caulking is to clean the zone with liquor to clean the zone first . at that point do the calking.

    when I do this I put a little liquor on my finger when press out. I likewise can be utilized to tidy up screw driver or what ever instrument you utilize.

    I have been doing this for a long time and it works.

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