Monday, June 9, 2008

Review of GE Caulk Singles: sad sink, happy sink

hand in glove
First off I have to tell you about the total disaster of my caulking project about two years ago. I will quote from my blog entry at the time. If only there were photos, because I had caulk all over me, the floor, the kitchen sink, and the backyard where I dumped the whole enormous mess. My partner laughed at me so hard. Here's what I wrote back in 2006:

A bit of googling led me to think that caulking around the baseboards would help. I went to the hardware store, where I bought a cool-looking caulking gun and some brown silicone gunk in a tube, a putty knife, and a dust mask. Picturing the gunk flowing beautifully as I squeezed the handle of the totally butch looking caulking gun... How hard could it be?

At the checkout counter the guy commented. I said it was "for a project." "Welp! I sure hope you have some HELP for your project!" the dude said. I shot laser beams of feminist rage at this jerk. Tcha! Whatever! I would caulk everything in the entire house before evening!!!

Moved the bunk bed. Cleaned everything from behind it. Pried up the baseboard quarter rounds with a crowbar, which was kind of tough. Though I mostly wore gloves, my hands got INSTANT ECZEMA from the dust. Or mold. Or both. Then I could not even get the tip of the caulking tube thingie off for about 15 minutes and had to use pliers. Then tried to pierce it, but nothing pierced... and then the caulking gun sort of exploded the tube thingie, from the back. So it's lying outside on the patio table leaking silicone gunk slowly out its behind.

Two words... duct tape.

So the baseboard gap is now slobbily duct taped. My lungs hurt like hell. My fingers are all messed up. I want to go to bed and die. Moomin's room is a mess.
The caulking gun looked like a cross between a bazooka, a speculum, and a Barbie doll's scoliosis back brace. It scared the heck out of me and as you can see from my description, the tube of caulk completely exploded. I couldn't squeeze its trigger hard enough to make the gun work properly.

Now for the good part!

I figured I'd try caulking the cracked tile around the hot water faucet of my bathroom sink. It's been bothering me for FOUR YEARS. I could hire a handyman from my beloved contractor site, LaborFair, but maybe with the caulk singles I could save a ton of money and do it myself!

Just, please god, no caulking gun / torture implement!

So, I got the free sample of the Caulk Singles. It looks like a miniature Capri-Sun juice box or a tube of cake frosting. Definitely "keep out of reach of children".

caulk, scrub brush, rag

It had instructions on the back of the tube. Oh joy! They're the sort of "DUH" instructions that you instantly realize you don't need at all, like the instructions on shampoo bottles. They were like, "Tear off the little tab, squeeze out some caulk, you're done." Not hard! It did dawn on me after I read the instructions that I should clean off the moldy disgusting surface of my sink tiles. I laid out a rag, the tube, and a scrub brush. caulk instructions

Oh, the other thing I realized with the "Tear. Squeeze. Toss." instructions was that with the horrible caulking gun (aka the Torture Instrument of Doom and Humiliation) I had a giant Appliance that I had to store somewhere. (Actually I confess I kept it under the sink for a while and then just threw it away.) This... not only easy to use but I don't end up with a giant piece of metal I have to store somewhere forever.


Here you see my problem. My sink is totally upset. It would make realtors cry and whimper about water damage.

Sad, sad sink

So I bravely tore off the little tab and then realized I should maybe wear a latex glove. There were some right under the sink in a drawer. I use them for dying my hair purple.
caulking action shot

I squeezed some caulk into the cracked tile. It was just like frosting a cake. I smeared it around with my finger to get it into the cracks. Unlike frosting a cake, I recommend against licking your fingers.

This whole process took about 3 minutes.

Halfway through minute one I realized that the tube thingie and my finger couldn't quite
reach into the corner. I grabbed the nearest handy implement, which was the wrong end of a pair of tweezers. That worked great. Then I returned to the finger smearing, and ended up with the tiles looking like this:
caulking done

I took off the glove to take the photo, and then realized while cameraphoning up to Flickr that there is a spot in the upper left that needs a tiny bit more caulk. I squeezed more caulk into that spot and smeared it around with my bare finger. It washed right off my hands, luckily.

Then I thought I'd let it dry and come back to look at it. But, was too impatient. After about 2 minutes I scraped the extra caulk off with a clean corner of the rag and my own fingernails. It came right off. I managed to avoid messing up the still-wet caulk in the tile cracks.

Now it looks awesome!

Happy sink can has caulk

My only complaint is that now, that one tile looks so much nicer than the others, I want to buy about 10 of the caulk singles and fix up the entire bathroom. The good part is that without having to wrestle with a caulking gun, I feel like I can do it myself and it's a quick evening project, not an entire Saturday blown on home repairs.