Preserving Leftover Caulk

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A common item used in home repair and improvements is caulk. It can serve a plethora of purposes and it makes good sense to always have some around for any sort of project that might arise. There are not enough fingers and toes available to count the number of times caulk has saved me, but in order for it to save you, caulk must be on hand and accessible to work.

By 'accessible' I do not mean the tube of caulk itself has to be in a place where you can find it, although that is important as well. Accessible in terms of caulk also means functional and not dried up. Since the price of caulk per tube can be high enough that you do not want to throw excess away, chances are you have a partially spent tube or two laying around your home or garage. The problem with partially spent tubes, however, is that air can get inside, drying out the remaining caulk and making it useless, or inaccessible.

When you finish a project but have caulk leftover, storing the remainder is sometimes easier said than done. One of the most common problems you might encounter is simply that the caulk at the edge of the tube will dry out, preventing you from even being able to gain access to the rest of the caulk inside, which could be perfectly fine and useful. To prevent this, you need to store leftover caulk in a manner that will keep it from drying out and thus ensuring its accessibility when it comes time to call upon it once again.

The easiest way to store leftover caulk to prevent drying out requires a long and large screw or nail (such as a 16 penny nail, for example) and duct tape. A 16 penny nail is not only long enough to occupy much of the nozzle of your caulk tube but also wide enough to maintain an opening through which caulk will be able to pass once the nail is removed. Start by inserting your nail into the caulk tube as far as at will go, which should amount to the nail head resting right at the end of the nozzle, but do not allow the hole screw or nail to disappear into the tube. Then take a piece of duct tape that is a few inches long and wrap it around the nozzle end, covering the screw/nail head and collapsing the duct tape inward to cover itself and create a tight seal.

This is a good option for preserving leftover caulk with items already in existence around your home. You can purchase specialized tools to help with this, but why buy more stuff when you can use what you have? Even if the caulk that remains in the nozzle does dry out and harden, the space occupied by the nail will keep an open channel through which could caulk can pass. When the time comes that you wish to use the rest of the caulk in the tube, removed the duct tape and 16 penny nail and your caulk will be ready to flow!

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March 27, 2014  •  09:04 PM
I thought it was really great when GE was selling those little mini-tubes of caulk, but I haven't seen them lately. I wonder if they still make them?

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