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Picture of Perfect Bead Caulk Finisher from Lowes

Most people ruin an otherwise-professional-looking caulk job by trying to finish it with a finger.  News flash: moistening your finger with spit, applying dish soap, and taping off the area are “old contractor tales” that’ll leave you with a big mess.  But before you give up and pay somebody to correct your mess, you might want to give Homax’s Perfect Bead caulk finisher a try.

Homax claims that the finisher “creates a smooth and professional caulk bead every time.”  Its flexible rubber head forces latex, silicone, and acrylic caulks into cracks, while removing the excess.  And its ergonomic handle should help keep you from tiring out if you’ve got a whole bathroom to caulk.

It’s easy to use: hold the tool at a 45 degree angle with both sides of the blades making contact, then apply minimal pressure while dragging it along the caulk bead. You can alter the bead size by adjusting the tool angle.

The manufacturer claims its plastic will hold up for the long haul, but since most Lowes stores carry the ‘finisher for under $3, we’re not concerned.  Even if it only lasts for one job, it’s worth a look.

Perfect Bead Caulk Finisher [Homax]

 

22 Responses to The Perfect Bead Caulk Finisher

  1. Kyle says:

    I have this, and I still suck at it. I can never get the angle quite right. Caulk+Me=Disaster

  2. Kyle,
    I’m just curious, how well does it actually work? I have to admit I bought one on sight when I saw it, because I too can turn a small caulking job into a minor disaster area that keeps spreading through the house like the Blob. What happens when you don’t get the angle right? Does caulk load up behind it and leak out the sides? Or does it just not leave a nice “professional” bead?

  3. Yuppers says:

    They are messy to use because most people (me included) put down too much caulk in the first place and all that extra caulk has to go some where. I actually got better results with painters tape. Caulking is an art and I forgot my crayons.

  4. Yuppers nailed it. The amount of caulk you’re putting down is the key.

    You need about half as much caulk as you think you do. When you open up the caulking tube, go for the smallest opening you can – a hair over 1/8″ is good to start. Once you spread that against the two mating surfaces, see what it looks like. If you need more, you can always go back and put down another bead, and then for the rest of the job open it up just a bit.

  5. Rob says:

    Rick got it..less is more with caulk. If you use the right amount of caulk, the finger works just fine. I’ve used the tool before and it works fine and keeps the caulk off your finger but when I recently re-did our bathroom, I couldn’t find the tool and the finger worked great.

  6. John Laur says:

    Point is even if you do put down the right amount you still get a smoother bead with a finishing tool. Particularly if you are using high grade silicone caulks or doing something like sealing an aquarium (which is harder due to the chemical composition of aquarium-safe sealers)…

    Lowes used to sell little caulk-tube caps with a finishing tool on them for like 20 cents but they stopped for some reason… Too bad.

  7. Quentin says:

    I bought an item very similar to this (different brand) a few years ago and it was worse at finishing a bead than just using my finger.

    Having said that, this one does look a little better than the one I got. Buyer beware.

  8. Frank Hicinbothem says:

    This is one of those tasks that everybody thinks they can do, but they suck at. But you know what? Spend a few minutes and make a model out of some wood scraps, a two-buck tube of cheap caulk, and experiment with the bead size and your technique. It really doesn’t take much practice to get a perfect bead with a wet finger. Buying a tool to do this won’t make you any better at it– practice will.

  9. Kyle says:

    Ha, glad to see I’m not the only person that has difficulty with caulk. I have a feeling that too much caulk is my issue as well. When I used this tool, the caulk built up to the point it squirted out the sides. A 1/8″ hole? Yikes, you would have laughed at the way I was doing it…… good tips all around.

    Did anyone else see that SNL skit about caulk? I can’t help but giggle reading though the posts…. 😉

  10. Brau says:

    Yes, I too have plenty of trouble with my caulk. Stroking it with a wet finger only seems to make things worse. Caulking can be hard, if not impossible, using a caulking gun and must be squeezed manually by hand using a tube, all the while trying to complete a whole length without stopping. If you can, use a latex caulk, remove all excess, and wipe it down with a damp cloth. Like my wife always says, it’s quality, not quantity that wins out in the end, so the actual amount of caulk need not be very big at all.

  11. Yuppers says:

    Another thing that helped was shell out a little extra cash and get a good non-drip caulk gun. Forget the $2.99 special. Makes all the difference.

  12. DaveD says:

    So do you guys go for those cordless caulk guns?
    Also, what’s a good way to save unused caulk other than the old nail in the end? That doesn’t seem to work well for the long haul…..

  13. KMR says:

    Take an empty cereal box, cut out a small square or rectangle, then shape one of the corners to the desired shape that you want to give the bead of caulk and run your cereal-box-caulk-shaper-scraper along the wet caulk. Works great. When too much excess builds up on the cardboard square, throw it away and cut another.

    I’ve been doing this for years, I’m sure other people have too… and it works extremely well. Cereal box cardboard is nice and thin and fairly rigid, making it ideal for this job.

  14. stellabotamy says:

    less caulk definitely the trick. willing to try one more gizmo.
    As for saving leftover caulk, after using nails and capping products ( you know those rubbery things) found something in my kitchen worked … really worked.
    That Glad Press ‘n Seal tightly covering (wrapping) the end after pushing the caulking to the very tip. Saved me money during my lazy summer painting schedule.

  15. Dan says:

    I got something just like this (plastic handle, rubber squares to press on the caulk) and it made a huge difference.

    Yes, as some people point out, if you have way too much stuff down, it’ll squeeze out the sides, but it does so in a _controlled_ fashion, so you can scrape it up with whatever you have handy. With a finger, it tended to go all over the place.

  16. Tim says:

    DaveD “Also, what’s a good way to save unused caulk other than the old nail in the end? That doesn’t seem to work well for the long haul….. ”

    I use electrical tape. Clean off the tip, start by taping tightly over the angled end of the tube and then a few wraps over that to seal it. I’ve kept tubes for months that way.

  17. David S says:

    I am repainting my house right now, and, as part of prep, I’ve been doing a lot of caulking. Last time I was picking up more caulk, I sw this tool on the rack, and , remembering having seen it here, I picked one up. Three bucks isn’t too much to lose if it doesn’t work, right?

    Well, I’m officially a big fan. It makes a beautiful bead, and caulking has gone from a messy job I avoid until I absolutely can’t to something that I just do.

    Thanks Toolmonger!

  18. DIY Dan says:

    I’ve tried one these before, but I have better luck using my finger. When I am ready to do some caulking (usually around wood trim or finish carpentry) I grab a big sponge and get it wet. Then after every bead of caulk, I wet my finger on the sponge and run it down the fresh bead, pushing pretty hard. Then wipe your finger clean on the sponge and keep going. This has worked really well for me, my only complaint is that my finger/hand get a little tired after a while.

  19. Mel says:

    Homax claims that the finisher “creates a smooth and professional caulk bead every time.”

    Most of the “professional” caulk jobs I see (commercial buildings) don’t look as good as my finger-struck joints.

  20. I think the biggest amateur mistake is stopping the bead when you get tired and/or need to change position. Back pressure will keep it coming after you stop squeezing, you have to do a little planning on when to stop and slow down as the flow slows.

    Lots of rags and a trash bag near at hand to throw them away is a big plus too. Nothing quite like the mess from stepping on a caulk covered rag and walking around for a bit.

  21. dave says:

    not sure if this works for all materials, but i find the best way to keep silicone sealant after opening is to do nothing at all. the sealant itself seals the end of the tube – the key is to leave a bit of extra sealant oozing out of the end then once it goes hard you can use it to pull the plug of silicone out of the nozzle. laziness works.

  22. dennis says:

    I thought I had found a tool I could not live without. One of those inexpensive ones that outperform any other and I would keep in my toolbox forever. the first 20 feet of caulking was the nicest, smoothest job I have ever seen, then….the rubber end of the tool began peeling back from the handle and the tool was ruined. So it’s back to the finger and a wet rag.

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