Any time you’re working with caulk or marine adhesive, you’ve got a chore on your hands that can get messy real quick if you don’t take the necessary steps before busting out the caulk gun.
First, choose a caulk that suits your purpose and read about its cure times and cleanup methods on the side of the tube.
Once you know the product you’re working with, mask off the seam with painter’s tape. Press down the edge of the tape near the seam and leave the excess loose to facilitate easy peeling off. When you need to make curves, you can use small pieces of tape to create a curved tape line.
Keep a garbage bucket nearby so you have a place to drop caulk-covered paper towels and tape into. You want to keep cleanup to a minimum. Tear paper towels into smaller sections so you can use a fresh piece with each wipe.
Once you have your caulk line taped out, use enough caulk to fill the seam knowing that you will have to wipe some excess caulk out, but don’t go crazy.
Wear latex gloves for all of these projects and you should wear two gloves on the hand you use to wipe off the excess caulk. This will keep you going quickly in case the top glove tears. Time is of the essence. Smooth the caulk bead down so any excess on the tapeline is very thin.
How far you can caulk at one time before peeling the tape depends on how long it takes the caulk to cure. In this job I was using silicone which skins over quickly so I would caulk about three feet at a time. If the caulk skins over, then pulling the tape will mess up your bead.
Pull the tape at an angle and away from the seam.
If you have a mess up, don’t try to fix it while the caulk is wet, that almost always makes things worse. Again, it depends on the cure time. Longer skin times are more forgiving. I will usually fix any mistakes after the caulk cures by cutting out the bad spot and feathering in a new section.