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Caulking Drywall: Tips and Tricks

If you’ve got thin cracks in your drywall, you don’t necessarily have to break out the drywall compound to mud the area. Caulking drywall is a much faster and easier way to repair those hairline cracks.

In fact, you can save time and money on your home renovation by caulking drywall corners in areas like closets, laundry rooms, and mudrooms.

However, you should be aware of two things before you start caulking.

No matter what type of caulk you’re using, the caulked part will look off and the paint will be easily discolored.

Secondly, caulk will not last unless the environment temperature is stable. If you are caulking in an area where the temperature is changing significantly, within a year or two you will have to recaulk it.

Now, discover our list of tips and tricks for caulking drywall in your home.

Buy Fresh Supplies for Caulking Drywall

If you’re tempted to grab an old tube of caulk that you’ve had for a while, don’t. Caulk becomes useless once it dries out, and chances are, that old tube is pretty dry. You need a fresh tube in order to get the best, smoothest results.

Select a Paintable Variety of Caulk

When you purchase the caulk, be sure that it’s the type you can paint over. Not all types of caulk hold paint well. Some DIY home renovation experts swear by paintable silicone caulk since it allows the paint to adhere smoothly.

Others claim that the silicone caulk cracks much faster, and they recommend high-quality acrylic latex caulk. Ultimately, your goals determine your choices in this case. Before you make a purchasing decision, you may want to read this article for a better comparison.

Check the Quality of the Drywall Crack Repair Caulk

When you’re caulking drywall, don’t skimp on quality to save money. Cheaper forms of the caulk might crack or fall out more quickly, or they may permit greater air leakage, which in turn will contribute to a general lack of airtightness in the home.

If you have too much leakage, the house won’t be as energy-efficient, and your property value could dip lower.

Another factor to consider is the safety quality of the caulk. Most caulks are flammable, which adds a risk factor to their use when you’re patching drywall. If possible, purchase fire-rated caulk that offers similar protection to standard fire-resistant drywall mud.

Apply the Caulk to the Drywall Cracks

Caulk usually comes with easy-to-use instructions printed on the tube. All you need to do is snip off the end and begin squeezing out the caulk. Test the substance first on a disposable surface so you can be sure it’s the right color and consistency; then apply it to the drywall crack.

You can use your finger to press the caulk into the crack and then smooth it out with a paddle or scraping tool. Before the caulk completely sets, give the wall a quick wipe-down to remove any excess or overflow.

Drywall cracks are very common around windows and doors due to the added use and moisture in those areas. You can caulk along the edge of a door frame or window frame and use your finger to push the caulk along the crevice and smooth it out. Be sure to wash your hands after caulking drywall.

After the caulk sets and dries completely, you can touch up the caulked area with paint. Be sure that the color of the paint is precisely the same as that of the rest of the wall, or the newly caulked area will look odd.

Consider Caulking Drywall Corners

If you’ve just built or renovated a room or finished a basement, you may be dreading the long, arduous process of taping and mudding the corners of the room.

Before you delve deep into that project, consider caulking drywall inside corners, especially in areas that aren’t as visible, like closets, downstairs bathrooms, basements, pantries, and other areas. Caulking those seams is faster and easier than mudding them with regular drywall compound, and you can achieve an equally attractive result.

Some home renovation perfectionists might frown at you for caulking drywall inside corners—but if you use high-quality caulk and you do the job well, there’s no real reason not to do it. What matters is the look of the finished product and the longevity of the work.

When it’s done right, a decent caulking job can last well over a decade or more. And chances are, no one who sets foot in your home will ever know the difference.

Hire a Professional for Serious Drywall Cracks

If your home has severe drywall cracks, you may need to bring in a professional for a consultation. You’ll need to ascertain the underlying cause of the cracking before you proceed. Your house could be suffering from moisture damage, foundation issues, or weight-bearing stress, in which case you may want to address that root cause before you patch the cracks.

For minor cracks in drywall and for corners in low-traffic areas, caulking can be a time-saving, effective solution. Explore the different types of caulk available online or at your local home improvement store, and be sure to purchase a high-quality variant that will last several years and give your room the tight seal and smooth look that it needs.

Sarah Byrd