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Do You Caulk Or Paint First? (Everything to Know)

Do You Caulk Or Paint First? (Everything to Know)

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Achieving the best results for an interior paint job depends on the initial steps you take. Caulking is one of those elementary steps, and many experienced painters take it for granted sometimes. Did you know that caulking plays a crucial role in the final outlook of your house? Well, read on.

Experts recommend applying the caulk before proceeding with the painting job. Doing this will help prevent the small cracks after painting your wall.

This article will explain what comes first between caulking and painting and why it is so. We aim to help you achieve a perfect finish for your wall painstakingly. So, read on as we unpack this topic from an expert painter’s point of view!

Why Caulk In The First Place? 

For those who hear this word for the first time, caulking refers to a waterproof sealant and filler used in repairs and building works. It seals air leaks through gaps, cracks, or joints less than 1-quarter-inch wide.

Before proceeding with caulking, you must first identify the leaks and assess your wall. Caulking is also essential to preventing water damage outside or inside the home.

The common caulking compounds come in disposable cartridges that fit in half-barrel caulking guns. It is also important to consider that a poor caulking job will negatively impact the overall quality of the finished project and leave you frustrated in the end.

That is why you need to take the time to learn how the pros do it if you want your next painting job to turn out great! Continue reading to discover the place of caulking in a painting project.

Caulk Before Or After Painting?

It is important to understand the whole painting process before we factor in the place of caulking – before or after painting. So, here is a simplified step-by-step guide:

  1. Thoroughly prep the surface first by removing any dirt from the surface
  2. Fix any cracks/bumps
  3. Dry the surface completely
  4. Prime the surface to prevent the wood from absorbing the caulk moisture

The last step listed above is crucial in preventing cracks and helping you achieve the desired output. Although most painters first overlook the gaps and cracks, it is important to deal with them in these first steps.

Now, professional painters recommend caulking the walls first before painting. Since caulk adheres to primed walls, you should not skip the step. You can always paint the caulk to match the exact color that you are applying.

Nonetheless, there are instances when you can caulk after painting. It is normally rare and is used for technical purposes, such as when you want to create a white seam between a darker painted wall and a surface below. However, you should seek an expert’s opinion before doing this as it may distort the whole painting job.

Some of the places where you should caulk include:

  • Around the window and door frames
  • At siding joints
  • Any cracks or openings in surfaces

Remember that caulking compounds vary in properties and strength. You can clean the water-based caulk with clean water, whereas solvent-based compounds require a solvent for the clean-up exercise.

How To Caulk Like A Pro?

Although most of the caulking work is done by experts, there are minor cracks that may require you to take up the task. If you are caught up in this situation, below is the caulking manual that you can use:

  1. Select the right caulk and dispenser based on your project need
  2. Remove the old caulk and clean the surface for an effective caulk application
  3. Tape the surfaces using strips of blue painter’s tape
  4. Open the caulk tube and apply it to the intended surface
  5. Smooth the joint by wetting your finger and rubbing alcohol or water on it
  6. Remove the tape slowly and carefully to prevent the caulk from spreading onto surrounding areas

The next phase is to allow the caulk to cure fully, following the manufacturer’s instructions. It would help if you also considered the “dry time” before you can paint over the caulk and the “cure time” before subjecting the caulk to water contact.

If unsure about these two aspects, you should consult a professional painter. Any misstep can be frustrating in terms of time, money, and wastage of paint or caulking material.

Final Remarks

Caulking first will ensure a smooth finish and an appealing wall in the end. Ensure that you understand the properties of the caulk and paint you are using to get the best results. Many online tutorials can help you crack this task in the shortest time possible.

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