Caulking is an important step in any home improvement project and is needed to prevent moisture and air from penetrating the interior of buildings. One of the most common uses of exterior caulk is to seal the openings between different types of materials, such as wood and brick. Applying caulk to a brick surface must be done carefully so as not to spread excess caulk over the surface of the brick. When the proper technique is used, a clean, professional-looking seal is achieved.
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Choose Your Caulk
For brick work, you'll need a caulk that dries clear. Silicone caulk or butyl-rubber caulk are used for outdoor areas, and both can stand exposure to rain, sunlight and other elements. Latex caulk and expandable foam caulk are not recommended for outdoor use. For beginners, choose a paintable silicone caulk that appears white when it is first applied but dries to a clear finish. This makes excess caulk mistakes virtually invisible.
Prepare Caulk for Use
Work on a day when no rain is expected and the outdoor temperature is above 40 degrees. Caulks should be applied at different temperatures, so read the directions located on the caulk tube. Use sharp scissors or a knife to cut 1/4-inch off of the end of the caulk tub at a 45-degree angle.
Place the caulk tube into a caulk gun and twist the top part of the gun in a clockwise direction until it is snug against the bottom of the caulk tube. Some caulk tubes work on a spring so that instead of twisting you simply pull the rear portion back and insert the tube into the gun.
Small Test Patch
Before going all in on a project, choose an inconspicuous spot to test the caulk. Hold the caulk gun at a 45-degree angle with the surface of the brick. Release a small amount of caulk onto the test patch and rub into place. If you are satisfied with the appearance, use this as your starting place.
Apply Caulk to Bricks
Press the trigger of the caulk gun and spread a layer of caulk along the brick in a single motion. When you reach the end of the surface, release the trigger on the caulk gun to stop the flow of caulk.
Place your finger over one end of the caulk and press down slightly. Run your finger along the entire length of the caulk line to smooth it into place. This creates a professional looking finish as well as pushes the caulk into small crevices.
Paint Over Caulk
Once the caulk has dried completely (check the packaging for recommended drying times), you can paint over the caulk as needed. Apply the same color of paint to the caulk as was used for the material that is placed against the wood. Using a small craft paint brush dipped into paint makes the job of painting the caulk much easier.
Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.