I used to cut caulk tube nozzles at an angle to get a nice bead in corners. The problem was, when I had to switch direction while caulking, the cut edge was in the wrong place to continue the bead. My solution is to cut the nozzle straight and then round it smooth on all sides with an abrasive pad or a nylon carpet scrap. Just rub the cut edge for a minute or so until it’s smooth. Now you can caulk in any direction with a nice, continuous bead. Give it a try for smoother caulking! — Brian Flynn
Four Common FormulasThese types of caulk dominate the shelves at home centers. Labels don’t always tell you what’s in the tube, so we’ve included examples of each type in this article. But there are many more brands than the ones we show. All are available in various colors and paintable.
- Acrylic Latex: $2 to $5: Acrylic latex caulks are the easiest to apply and smooth out. They’re also the only sealants that clean up with water. Look for versions labeled “siliconized” or “plus silicone.” Adding silicone to acrylic latex improves adhesion and flexibility.
- Polyurethane: $6: Poly caulks are generally tougher than other sealants, making them a good choice for driveways and other areas that take a beating. But their gooey consistency makes them hard to work with. Check the label before painting; you may have to wait several days.
- Solvent-Based: $6 to $9: Many solvent-based caulks are great for roofing because they don’t degrade in direct sunlight and can be applied to wet surfaces. But they’re gooey and hard to apply neatly.
- Hybrid: $7 and up: Most hybrid caulks combine silicone and polyurethane for top-notch adhesion, flexibility and longevity. They’re easier to apply neatly than polyurethane, but not as easy as acrylic latex. Most aren’t labeled “hybrid,” so we’ve pointed out the hybrids in the various photos. Cost is a clue: High-quality hybrids are usually the most expensive caulks on the shelf.