Good Caulk Bead Tool

I've done several caulk jobs over the years and it's always been a frustrating experience to get a good bead. I've tried various tools, some worked better than others, but none of them did the job right. Usually I resort to dispensing the best bead I can then finishing it with a wet finger. It works, but it's messy and doesn't usually work right the first time.

The Chalk Finisher, and to its right, the DAP Cap don't work. The Hyde Caulk-Away tool (red handle with white tip) works.


I determined to recaulk the upstairs bathtub and surround over the holidays. The caulk was dingy and a few places had mildew.

A while back I saw an infomercial advertising a set of PRO Caulk flexible caulk bead tools:



The squeegee idea made sense to me and I was ready to order them ( even at $20 + shipping and handling) when I decided to see what Home Depot had to offer (since I had to get a tube of caulk anyway) - I found this Caulk-Away finishing tool from Hyde:



The white part of the tool is a rubbery insert about 1/8" thick. I reasoned that it should do the job so I bought it for under $10 in a combo pack with this Caulk-Away removal tool:



The remover worked OK on the caulk that was still soft, but not so well on the dried-hard stuff which I removed with a razor blade scraper.

After cleaning the joint areas I applied a bead of high quality mildew-resistant silicone caulk.

I used the Hyde tool as instructed and it worked very well. The instructions noted that angling the tools makes a smaller bead, and it did, to a point. There's only so much variation possible with the fixed radius of this tool. Perhaps the PRO Caulk tools with their variety of round and straight sizes would do better in this regard, but I'm not that picky about the bead size so I'm pleased with the beads the Hyde tool produced (and it was a lot cheaper and I didn't have to wait for it to be shipped).

Caulk bead finished with the Hyde tool.


It's a small victory, but I'm happy I finally found a tool that creates good caulk beads. It still takes a bit of skill and practice, but it's much easier and quicker than any other tools I've tried. And the price is right.

Tangent: I pronounce caulk as "callk". I know it's supposed to be "cock", but there are already multiple meanings for "cock" (some of which are vulgar) so why not un-silent the "L" to make it sound distinct so people know for sure what you're talking about?

6 comments:

MOCougFan said...

Kris,

I put myself thru BYU managing a 75 unit Apartment complex. I did many, many caulk jobs. I always used the wet finger method. So I'm curious, after you used the new tool did you go back over it with the wet finger?

KanyonKris said...

MOCougFan - No wet finger was used in the caulking of the tub. It was quite amazing. It acts like a squeegee and pushes the excess caulk along leaving a smooth, dished bead of caulk behind.

Every 2-3 feet I'd have to stop and wipe the excess caulk off the tool. It was pretty easy to start where I left off, and with a little practice, I couldn't see where I stopped and started again.

I added a photo of the bead.

MOCougFan said...

Very impressive. I'll have to pick one of those up. Looks like a cool tool.

mark said...

I've had the best luck just cutting the tip of the tube cleanly and using that to smooth the bead. No wet finger, no tool. Of course, when I screw up, I have to wipe it all off and redo the whole thing, but I'm not managing a 75 unit apartment complex, either.

I'm with you on the pronunciation and would argue that it's not an incorrect pronunciation but rather an alternative yet still correct pronunciation.

KanyonKris said...

mark - yes, the tube tip can work well. I've done some short beads that way, but on long ones I usually falter. This tool makes it so easy, I'm not going back.

Anonymous said...

I could swear that on the infomercial for ProCaulk that the guy was pronouncing it "Proco." Anybody hear that?