How to caulk wide gaps
Photo 1: Install backer rod
Use foam backer rod into the gap with your fingers. Set the rod 1/4 in. lower than the surface of the concrete.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
Photo 2: Fill and smooth the joint
Fill the crack with urethane caulk. Snip the opening of the tube at a 30-degree angle, making the opening the same size as your gap. Use a smooth, even motion, filling the crack flush with the surface, beveling it if it's against the house. Smooth the caulk in wide joints with the back of an old spoon. Wipe the spoon clean as needed with a rag and mineral spirits.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
Cracks and gaps in concrete are more than just an eyesore. Water can get into the joints, freeze and then expand, making the cracks even larger. Gaps against a house can direct water against the foundation, leading to more problems. Once a year, go around your home and fill these gaps and joints with urethane caulk to prevent problems. The caulk is available at contractor supply stores, well-stocked home centers and hardware stores. For gaps and joints more than 1/4 in. wide, install foam backer rod to support the caulk. You want the rod to fit tight in the joint, so buy it one size larger than the gap.
A word of advice: Keep the urethane caulk off your bare hands and clothes; it's the stickiest stuff you'll ever touch. Wear disposable gloves when you're tooling the joints. If you get some on your skin, quickly wipe it off with a paint thinner–dampened cloth.
How to caulk narrow gaps
Photo 3: Caulk narrow cracks
Caulk cracks 1/4 in. wide or less without using backer rod. Draw the gun down the crack, smoothing the caulk with the tip as you go.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
Skip the backer rod and apply caulk directly to cracks narrower than 1/4-in.
Required Tools for this Project
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
- Caulk gun
Required Materials for this Project
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.
- Foam backer rod
- Mineral spirits
- Urethane caulk