Caulking technique - smooth with wet finger or don't touch?

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AP1

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I'm ready to caulk the base of my new toilet. I don't caulk a lot, and I always debate whether it's better to use the "wet" technique where you apply the caulk then smooth it out with a wet finger (dipping in clean water often) or use the "dry" technique where you just apply the caulk, hope you get a nice finish and leave it alone.

The "wet" technique tends to leave a smoother, rounded finish. The downside is that it takes longer.

The "dry" (don't touch it) technique has a little cleaner, tighter look because the caulk isn't spread out. However, if you don't get a perfect bead all the way around, it can leave visible flaws.

In your experience, do you recommend "wet" or "dry"?
 

Smooky

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I can run a nice even bead but I almost always use a wet finger to finish it off. I fill a small pail with warm water and put a rag in the water. I don’t lick my finger, I use the warm water. I use the rag to clean my hand and sometimes I use it to smooth the caulk or clean up excess caulk. I also keep a roll of paper towels handy for when the caulking gun overruns etc.

 
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Gary Swart

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I do what Smooky does. Just try to use just enough caulk that you don't have a lot of excess.
 

Wallijonn

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Wait for Terry's reply on caulking.

Don't use Silicone. You may only wish to caulk the front of the bowl.
 

Cacher_Chick

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Use the least amount of caulk needed to seal the gap when smoothed with a wet finger. Clear polysealseal caulk is preferred by many.
 

WJcandee

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No longer a noob, but I also am not caulking toilets every day, so take this with that in mind:

(1) You don't HAVE to use Polyseamseal, but once you've been told about it, you're really missing the boat if you don't. It won't mark up your floor like caulk does, and it comes up super-easy when it's time to change the bowl for a new one. If you get the tub and tile kind, it has anti-mold features.

(2) A big tube for your caulk gun of Polyseamseal can be significantly more expensive than plain old store-brand caulk, although not as expensive as the GE silicone caulk. And we're not talking about a huge amount of money in any event. However, you might consider the smaller squeeze tube as an option.

(3) The little caulk smearer that you can put on the tip of your finger, or the kind that has a handle, is very useful and in my own personal experience leaves a nice consistent bead.

loctite-tub-tile.jpg
 
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Claythrow

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Are you caulking all the way around the toilet?

I'm not a pro but don't practice this because if there is ever a problem with leaking at the drain site you are not going to know immediately. & if it is sealed tight, you are looking at quite a mess underneath the toilet by the time you find out. I've only actually seen it happen one time, & it was because they put radiant floor heat too close to the wax ring but by the time they homeowner found out (they called me to see why it smelled) the subfloor was trashed. I would rather play it safe.

But like I said, I'm just an avid diy-er, take it for what it's worth.
 

Koa

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In super critical areas where I want exact caulk lines, very little to no overlap or in places that are seen up close regularly, I'll tape both sides of where the bead goes allowing for wherever overlap (if any) I want using the regular blue painters tape. Caulk the joint, smooth out the caulk leaving almost none on tape, immediately pull tape and depending on the joint, smooth once more. Just be aware how you're pulling the tape and what you're doing with the tape after you pull it off. I have a trash can nearby, especially with non water based caulks that require solvents for cleanup. You will need to work fast with the caulks that skin over quickly, just be organized.
 

JerryR

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I use the recommended Clear, All Purpose Polyseamseal. It goes on white and dries clear.
I tape floor and bowl base with blue painters tape
I don't caulk back of bowl
I use wet finger to make a nice bead and force caulk between bowl and floor.
I pull tape off immediately.

This week I pulled a toilet that I set last year. The Polyseamseal came off the travertine floor and toilet base with no residue, or staining. I was impressed.

loctite-tub-tile.jpg
 
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