Bathroom, DIY, Educational, Home Maintenance, renovation, Tips & Tricks

Tips for Caulking Your Shower Surround

Caulking your shower surround doesn’t have to be a hassle if you follow some of the easy tips below. Before you know it, you will be on your way to a beautiful, blended shower surround joint.

-Don’t use 100% industrial grade silicone caulk. It typically gives off a strong odor and requires a lot of focus and cleanup to prevent it from sticking to everything. If you must, have masking tape to frame your bead and paper towels for cleanup on hand, or use a hybrid caulk like siliconized acrylic.

-Wash the joint and surrounding surfaces with water-diluted bleach and let dry for a couple of hours before applying any caulk. This will remove and residual mildew/mold and prevent future growth.

-Use a blowdryer to heat up the old caulk before attempting to scrape it out. This will soften the caulk and make it easier to remove, which prevents scratching up the surface or joint.

-After you remove old caulk, sand the joint and surrounding surface to remove any lingering residue or texture issues. This also diminishes the need for vigorous scraping, which further preserves the surface and joint.

-After sanding, wipe down the relevant surfaces and joint one more time to remove the last of the surface level debris.

-Start from the top of the surround and work your way to the bottom when applying. This seems counterintuitive for this context, but the application angle will work better this way.

-Once you hit the mid-point of the surround, reverse starting points and start up from the bottom. The two sections of caulk should meet in the middle. This two-step application process prevents any awkward angles that could mess up your bead.


DIY, Home Maintenance, Tips & Tricks

Prevent Caulk Over-flow in One Step

With modern industry innovations, some caulking guns now come with a no-drip feature that prevents the pressure of the gun from pushing too much caulk out. However, if you are stuck with an old school caulk gun, one easy trick will prevent caulk over flow.

Just wrap your preferred caulk or sealant cartridge with brown parcel tape before loading it into the gun to prevent the cartridge expanding with the pressure of the skeleton gun.



Essentially, this means the caulk flow will officially stop once you release the trigger instead of continuing to drip. This may also help you to apply a straight, even bead. Easy and cheap!

DIY, Home Maintenance, Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks: The Trick to Fixing a Poor Spackling Job

drywall sander


If a previous spackling job left you with rough edges or an unblended texture, you can remedy this by using a drywall sander. A hand held sander is a grip-able applicator that you can set sand paper on for smoothing out surfaces. You will want to use 100-grit sandpaper to level out really rough, high-level spots and use 200-grit sandpaper (which has a more even, gentle distribution of grit) to smooth out the texture. 



If you have any low or deteriorated spackling spots from your previous application, you will need to fill them in with a new application of spackling to maintain an even level with the areas you just sanded. To prevent a poor spackling job in this new application, apply a thinner coat and go over it with big, damp sponge to even it out. 


DIY, Educational, Home Maintenance, Tips & Tricks

Bubbled Caulk: What It Means & How to Prevent It

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The Cause

Caulk bubbles can originate from trapped air in the cartridge, caused by manufacturing or air leaking in through an uncovered cartridge tip, or from trapped water underneath the caulk that is vaporizing under the surface of the film of the caulk.





Prevention Tips

– Be sure to keep the tip of the caulk cartridge covered at all times that it is not in use to prevent air seeping in.

-With any caulk application, make sure the area to be caulked is clean and free of moisture by wiping it down with a dry cloth. This prevents water from getting trapped underneath.

-Make sure you smooth the caulk into a consistent, seamless beading before letting it cure. You don’t want to leave any voids for air or moisture to get in.



smoothing caulk


Repair Options

If  it has been an hour or less since you caulked the area that has bubbles, you may still be able to smooth or tool it out a bit. Any later than that and you will have to remove the bubbled caulk and start over.

Bathroom, DIY, Educational, Home Maintenance, Tips & Tricks

FYI: Preventing “Split” Caulk

split caulk


Why is splitting caulk a concern?

Other than being aesthetically unsightly, split caulk leaves gaps for water and air to get in, which may lead to higher energy bills, mold, or water damage.


What causes split caulk?

Changing weather conditions that create inconsistent humidity can affect the flexibility of caulk but the most common cause of split caulk is using the wrong caulk formula. Acrylic caulk is more prone to crack or split over time, so it is best to use a flexible, 100% silicone caulk for areas that are prone to splitting such as the bathroom or kitchen. If paintability is an issue, use a siliconized acrylic caulk to get the best of both worlds.



The Red Devil DuraGuard™ Kitchen & Bath Siliconized Acrylic Caulk is a great choice.






Educational, Home Maintenance, Tips & Tricks

Home Winter Woes & Their Prevention: Part 2

So you’re strolling along your driveway, minding your own business, when the sole of your shoe catches a slick sheet of ice and you end up on the other side of town with a bad headache and a heart bent on retribution (Old man winters has it coming!). Okay, so maybe tripping up on a bit of ice isn’t the end of the world, but it this winter characteristic along with other cold-weather perils, can be a safety hazard and major irritation. Below, a continuation of winter woes and prevention tips is listed.




Snow Laden or Icy Sidewalks & Driveways


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Obviously, you can’t expect to prevent snow or ice from occurring naturally (and if you can, I salute you, because you are most likely an X-Men), but you can prepare your walkways to some extent to tolerate the inevitable elements. To start, fix small damages, like cracks or chipping, from freezing rain and snow before they morph into serious destruction. It’s also a good idea to start sealing your sideways and porch steps as early as possible, using a quality masonry & concrete acrylic sealant. Sealing maintenance extends the life of your concrete walkways as it fills in the porous openings that can absorb water, which can freeze and cause damage.  When winter precipitation occurs, avoid using sodium chloride/salt to melt down the snow as this will also damage the underlying concrete. Instead use calcium chloride which gets the job done damage-free.

Winter Storms



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As mentioned in the previous section, you can’t actually prevent a storm at its source, but you can be extra prepared for spontaneous, hindering winter storms with a survival kit. This survival kit should have quantities pertaining to about three to four days of health, comfort, and safety. In addition, the kit should include a working radio, water, medicine, food, seasonal items (blanket, flashlight, long pajamas, etc.), as well as entertainment (books, cards, board games, etc.). It’s best to keep this kit dry, as portable as possible, and updated throughout the year.
























































Solomon, Christopher. “6 Winter Home Perils: How to Stop Them Cold.” MSN Real Estate. MSN, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2013. <;.

Educational, Home Maintenance, Tips & Tricks

Home Winter Woes & Their Prevention: Part 1

It may be the time of year “when the world falls in love” but that doesn’t keep mother nature from throwing a curve ball or two when you least suspect it. Before you take another bite of aunt Grelma’s fruit cake and watch another marathon of holiday films, you should make sure your home can resist the elements effectively. Below, common winter home issues and suggested tips for prevention are listed.

Tree Branches Falling on the House


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Fallen trees and tree branches are capable of extreme and costly destruction. To prevent this occurrence, it’s best to check your branches for cracking, V shaped limbs (which are less sturdy and prone to breaking, and any branches that hang near the roof. It may be that you just need to do a light pruning around the perimeter of your house or it may be severe enough to require a professional. When ice and snow storms start to hit town, it’s best to “bounce” your branches with a rake to loosen up any coated ice and snow. This will prevent excess weight from exacerbating the problem.

Ice Dams



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Indoor heating keeps us all warm and cozy during the winter months but the escaped heat from it causes the upper part of the roof to melt any lingering snow or ice, which gathers into the eaves of the roof. This gathered water then freezes into a dam and the consequential water within the dam entrenches the roof shingles, causing damage.  The first step to preventing this is to simply check your gutters and make sure they are draining properly before any snow or icy weather hits.  This may require cleaning them of any obstructing debris or buildup.  The second step involves preventing heat from moving into the attic and heating the roof. You may want to seal up (using a multi-purpose sealant) any open air paths between the house ceiling and the attic or increase ceiling/roof insulation. Over the course of the winter months, it is best to keep snow off the lower four feet of the roof with a roof rake.

Chimney Fires

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Chimney fires are not only damaging and costly, but can also be fatal. This problem usually stems from the buildup of unburned materials or creosote, that move up the flue, get stuck there, and eventually catch fire. Unfortunately, the prevention for this peril requires a professional chimney sweep inspection annually in addition to recommended regular cleanings. In addition, only use wood with reduced creosote buildup, install a solid fireplace screen, and have a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergencies (water extinguishing can damage the fireplace further).

Frozen Pipes





Every year, millions of homes are ruined by pipes that freeze and burst. This can mean hundreds of gallons of water damage that can be costly or impossible to fully repair. To prevent this chaos, start by insulating your exposed pipes with mainstream foam wrappings or even newspaper and sealing any air leaks around vents, pipes, and electrical wiring that exit the house with caulk or insulation (Try Red Devil’s Window & Door Acrylic Caulk). Then, disconnect all hoses and turn off (if possible) all water supply to the outside faucets. After the water supply is turned off, the faucet should be left open to prevent any internal water from freezing. When winter weather hits, open cabinet doors under the bathroom and kitchen sinks to allow heat to be allocated to the wall pipes, keep the garage door closed, and avoid setting the thermostat below 55 degrees fahrenheit.



Solomon, Christopher. “6 Winter Home Perils: How to Stop Them Cold.” MSN Real Estate. MSN, n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2013. <;.