Caulk seals up cracks and gaps in various parts of your home.
One of the most popular uses for caulk is to seal areas in the bathroom.
Caulk prevents moisture from deteriorating the drywall and prevents the spread of mold.
A caulk gun is the most common method of applying caulk.
Not everyone has a caulk gun or enjoys using this tool to apply the caulk.
We found five methods that you can use to apply caulk without a gun.
How To Use Caulk Without Gun (Step-By-Step)
You can apply latex and silicone caulk without the use of a gun.
Both types of caulk are messy and require the use of gloves.
1. Latex Caulk Strategy
If you want to apply caulk without a gun, then you need to choose latex caulk over silicone caulk.
Latex is far easier to clean up than silicone.
You only need to wash it away with soap and water while it’s still wet.
Since you won’t be using a gun, being able to clean up the mess is important.
A caulking gun allows you to be more accurate with your movements and line.
Follow these steps to caulk with latex without a gun.
1. Choose The Right Latex Caulk
The first step is to find a latex caulk that matches the color of the wall.
Since you won’t be using a gun, you’ll need the messier edges to blend with the wall’s paint.
If the wall doesn’t have paint yet, then you’ll want to choose white latex caulk.
White is ideal for painting later.
It’s easier for the paint to cover it, and it can match your wall exactly.
2. Cut The Tip
Every tube of caulk has a long stem.
You need to cut the tip of the stem at a 45-degree angle.
The angle allows you to have better control over the caulk as you apply it.
By cutting it straight instead of at an angle, when you apply the caulk, it will only smear along the line.
You want to lead the line to create as clean and smooth an edge as possible.
The 45-degree angle allows you to do that.
3. Curl The End Of The Tube
Grip the bottom of the tube that contains the caulk.
Roll it a few times to create a curl.
This pushes the caulk towards the tip.
It gives you a smoother and consistent line of caulk that you can control.
Without curling the bottom of the tube, you’re going to need to run your hand up and down it to squeeze the caulk upwards.
The problem is that this can create gaps.
Whenever the caulk isn’t flowing out of the tip, then a gap forms.
You’ll need to go back and fill those gaps later.
By curling the bottom, you have a large amount of caulk that is being squeezed towards the tip.
The pressure ensures you’re able to create an even line of caulk.
4. Run The Tip Over The Line
Place the tip against the wall or where you need to apply the caulk.
Then squeeze the bottom with one hand and steer the tube down the line with your other hand.
The goal is to go at a steady pace.
Moving too fast can make you miss spots.
Going too slow can make certain parts of the line thicker than others.
A steady pace makes an even line of caulk.
It also ensures that you don’t run off the line.
You’re in control of its direction.
5. Wear Latex Gloves
If you’re not wearing latex gloves already, then you need to put them on at this point.
You have a line of caulk down, but you may notice that the edge is less than smooth.
You can smooth it by pouring a little bit of water on your gloved finger.
Take your wet finger and run it along the line of the latex caulk to create a smooth edge.
You may need to do this one more time, but never try to smooth the line with water more than twice.
6. Re-Apply As Necessary
Examine the line and look for areas that have missing caulk.
You’ll also want to check the thickness.
Take your tube and apply the caulk in those areas that were either missed or are too thin.
Then smooth the edge again with your finger to make it look more pleasing.
If you intend to paint the caulk, then wait until it dries.
2. Silicone Caulk Strategy
Another caulking material, silicone, is ideal for bathrooms.
That’s because it’s waterproof.
It isn’t as easy to work with as latex without a gun.
That’s because it’s harder to clean if you make a mistake.
You’ll need to let it dry and chip it off with a caulk remover if you want to clean the line and redo it.
You also can’t paint over silicone caulk.
The paint won’t adhere to it correctly.
Silicone is irritating for those with sensitive skin.
It’s also difficult to wash off.
Wear gloves when applying silicone caulk and follow these steps.
1. Choose The Right Silicone Caulk
The most important aspect of using silicone without a gun is that the color needs to match your walls.
You won’t be able to clean it as easily if you mess up.
If the silicone matches the color of your walls, then it can blend in better.
If you’re unsure of what color to use, then white is always a great option.
2. Cut The Tip
As you did with the latex caulk, you’ll also want to cut the tip at a 45-degree angle.
This will give you better control over the direction and application of the silicone caulk.
3. Curl The Tube
You’ll also want to curl the bottom of the tube as you would a tube of toothpaste.
This will push the caulk up towards the cut tip that you made.
4. Line Up The Tip And Squeeze
Place the tip against the wall or line that you need to make.
Then start squeezing the bottom of the tube and direct it with your other hand near the tip.
Use a steady pace to keep control of the caulk.
Don’t let yourself go too fast or slow.
You won’t be able to correct any mistakes you have made as easily.
5. Wear Vinyl Gloves
Although you should already be wearing gloves before you start applying silicone caulk, now’s the time when you definitely need to wear vinyl gloves.
Vinyl gloves are important because they don’t affect the chemical reactivity of the silicone.
It also won’t stick to the silicone.
Once the gloves are on, dip your finger in some water.
Then rub your wet finger along the edge of the line to smooth it.
6. Re-Apply As Necessary
Going back over certain parts of the line with more silicone caulk can be risky.
There’s a risk that certain parts of the line may be thicker than others.
Gaps may be more challenging to fill than latex caulk.
Finally, it’s easier to smear silicone, but not as easy to clean up the smears.
Carefully re-apply silicone caulk in areas that need help.
3. Painter’s Tape
No matter if you’re using silicone or latex caulk, another method you can use is painter’s tape.
This can help keep the area tidier.
It’s ideal for those who don’t trust their aim or ability to follow a straight line.
Follow these steps to use caulk without a gun and use painter’s tape instead.
1. Apply Painter’s Tape
Cut two strips of painter’s tape and place them parallel to one another.
There should be a 1/4-inch gap between them.
If you’re caulking a corner, then place a strip of painter’s tape on each side of the corner.
If you’re caulking a seam between a vertical and horizontal surface, then place the painter’s tape vertically above the seam, and horizontally below the seam.
The seam should fit inside of the 1/4-inch gap.
If the seam is larger, then expand the gap to allow the painter’s tape to rest on either side of it.
2. Cut Tip Of Tube To Match Width
Take a pair of scissors and cut the hole to match the width of the gap.
In most cases, the size of the hole should be 1/4 inch.
Otherwise, measure the size of the gap, then cut the hole to that size.
If the gap is larger than the original hole, then only cut the tip to open it.
Do not cut it to size.
3. Run Along The Line With Caulk
Place the caulk in the gap between the two strips of painter’s tape.
Then squeeze from the bottom and steer at the top.
The painter’s tape will catch any beads or streaks that attempt to move past the gap.
If the gap is large, then you’ll need to run two lines of caulk down the gap.
4. Smooth Edge
Make sure you are wearing gloves to do this next part safely.
Then wet your thumb with water and run it along the edge to smooth it.
Don’t pass your thumb over the edge twice.
If you had to run two lines of caulk through a large gap, then use your thumb to smooth the two lines together.
5. Peel Off Tape
Before the caulk dries, remove the painter’s tape.
The tape will take off any strands or beads that leaked onto it.
You’re left with a line of caulk that’s straight, smooth, and has zero messy strands or beads running off of it.
4. Paint The Caulk On
If you don’t mind messy caulk, then you can always choose this method to paint the caulk in place.
This method is affordable and effective, but it will be messy.
Follow these steps to use caulk without a gun by painting it in place.
1. Buy Caulk
For this method, latex caulk is the better option.
You can paint it to match the rest of your wall.
Latex caulk is also easier to clean.
While this method is messy in itself, you can always clean some of the mess if you use latex caulk instead of silicone caulk.
2. Get Cardboard And Painting Tools
You’ll need a large piece of cardboard that you’re going to use as a palette.
Instead of mixing colors on the palette, you’re going to spread your caulk, like paint.
You’ll also need painting tools.
You can use any kind of tool.
Brushes, toothpicks, rollers, and even your fingers are acceptable provided you’re wearing gloves.
Keep in mind that this method will ruin your brushes and rollers.
Use tools that you don’t mind throwing away when you’re done.
Step 3: Cover The Area
You’ll want to cover the area as much as you can to avoid the caulk spreading to where you don’t want it.
Tarp down the floor and around the area where you’re caulking.
4. Squirt Caulk On Cardboard
Cut the tip so it’s completely open.
Then roll the bottom of the tube and squirt the caulk on the cardboard.
You’ll want to paint it fast, so you should squirt enough for the job.
5. Paint The Line
Use the painting tool to collect the caulk on the cardboard.
Then brush the caulk into the seam or gap.
You’ll need to cover it a few times to create a thick layer.
Because caulk starts to dry as soon as it’s out of the tube, you’ll need to work fast to apply enough to create a thick sealer.
This can take a lot of time and may require a lot of caulk.
When you’re done, the line of caulk will be in place.
You can try to clean the edges and smooth the ridge of the caulk with water and your fingers.
5. Aerosol Caulk
While most homeowners tend to use caulk in tubes, it isn’t the only type of caulk on the market.
Aerosol caulk also exists.
This type of caulk is similar to a spray can.
You spray the caulk into the gap or seam.
This method is also messy and requires preparation beforehand.
Follow these steps to use caulk without a gun by using an aerosol caulk.
1. Buy Aerosol Caulk
You’ll find several different brands that carry both silicone and latex aerosol caulk.
Choose a brand that you trust.
One example is DAP Easy Caulk.
Some aerosol caulk cans also come in different colors.
Try to find one that matches your walls or the area where the caulk is going.
2. Clean The Area
Before you can spray the caulk, the area needs cleaning.
Remove any pre-existing caulk and scrub away mold or mildew.
You’ll also want to remove dust and debris that may be lurking within the gap or seam.
3. Press The Trigger
Hold the can towards the line or seam that you intend to fill with caulk.
Then press the trigger.
Using aerosol caulk is like using Easy Cheese.
It may come out suddenly and crackle because of the built-up pressure.
Clean up this mess, and then press the trigger again.
It will come out smoother the second time.
Run the can down the seam while holding the trigger down.
Move at a steady pace to keep the caulk from piling upon itself.
Aim right for the center of the seam.
4. Use a Caulk Remover
Once the line is in place, you can use a caulk remover tool to scratch or scrub away excess caulk.
You can use the tool to shape the line.
Press gently on the tool if you’re using it to smooth the edge of the caulk.
Pushing too hard can make it cut into your line and remove parts of it.
5. Smooth As Needed
If the line still needs smoothing, then you can wet your finger and run it down the ridge.
Apply gentle pressure to smooth the line.
There are several different ways you can use caulk without a gun.
These methods may be messier than with a gun, but they can apply caulk just as effectively.
Consider the methods above and follow the steps to caulk your next bathroom or window without a gun.