Toolipedia: Caulk Gun

Everything you wanted to know about caulk guns.

Caulking gun with labeled parts | Construction Pro Tips

What is a caulking gun?

A caulk gun is a tool that dispenses caulk, adhesives and other sealants. The parts of a caulk gun include: (create numbered callouts for the following)

  1. Frame/Canister Tray
  2. Handle
  3. Trigger
  4. Plunger
  5. Puncture Tool (option)
  6. Hook
  7. Tip Cutter (option) (not in our photo)

Caulking guns are used by siding installers, framers, plumbers, and many of the other trades. Canadian Theodore Witte of Chilliwack filed for a patent on his “Puttying-Tool” in 1894. Early caulk guns had a barrel that needed to be filled from bulk sealant. Standardized disposable sealant cartridges began to appear in the 1940’s. The standard caulk gun holds a tube/cartridge that contains about 10 ounces of material.

How is a caulking gun used?

  1. Cut the tip off the tube of sealant
  2. Puncture the seal down inside the tip/spout
  3. Pull the plunger back
  4. Insert the tube into the caulking gun canister tray
  5. Pull the caulking gun trigger to dispense the sealant

Caulking caps and tube tip extensions are available.

What are the different types of caulk guns?

  • Caulking guns that handle 29-oz. tubes/cartridges
  • Pneumatic (air) powered guns
  • Battery powered guns
  • Sausage guns, that required a pliable tube (sausage) of sealant
  • Guns with two canister trays for dispensing two-part sealants and epoxy

 What makes a good caulk gun?

  • Heavy duty construction
  • A plunger with a hook on the end (handy for working off a ladder)
  • Anti-drip action where the pressure from the plunger is released after pulling the trigger
  • Puncture tool that retracts out of the way to avoid getting sealant on hands

Newborn makes a solid caulking gun for a decent price.

Meet in the middle | Construction Pro Tips

Caulk gun tip:

Meet in the middle: When you have a long bead to run and you can’t get it done in one shot, don’t start again where you left off. Instead, use the caulking gun and start at the other end and meet in the middle. It’s hard to continue a bead once you’ve stopped without creating a glob. Also, try to keep the meeting place somewhere other than eye level.

Harrison Kral
After spending his college summers pouring concrete and building decks, Harrison Kral decided to find a way to put his insider knowledge of construction to use…. just in an air-conditioned setting. He’s an established writer and editor in the DIY space who has written extensively on the home building industry, the housing market, and general DIY trends.