If you’ve just added or replaced your kitchen backsplash, you know how much it can add to your kitchen’s aesthetic and revitalize the entire space. Before you start to use your new beautiful kitchen, however, you’ll want to commit to one last step that will ensure that the cabinets and walls won’t suffer from any unwanted moisture damage: you will want to caulk around your kitchen backsplash.
Our kitchen countertops get a lot of wear and tear over time. They also serve as a landing place for moisture throughout the day, which, if not wiped up, can seep into gaps behind walls and appliances. Over the years, moisture buildup can lead to larger problems in the walls and cabinets, so it’s important to caulk along the kitchen backsplash before using the area.
Why Updated Caulk Matters for Your Kitchen Backsplash
Even if your backsplash looks good and is either cleaned regularly or was recently renovated, adding sealant is crucial to maintaining its long-term health (and yours!). You’d be surprised how much water regularly collects in kitchens over time in out-of-the-way spaces. It’s even more important to know the potentially harmful impact of that collected water over time.
If water seeps through old cracked caulk or an unsealed gap along a backsplash, it can build up in the wall and create extensive damage to everything around it and can potentially penetrate deeper into the structure of the house itself. Water that sits in dark places for a long time is also the perfect place for mold to grow, which can cause serious health concerns to adults and children alike.
Clean, new caulk also provides a finished edge to the backsplash and can help polish off a new space. And before you close your eyes to envision a pasty white line of caulk that’s messy and smeared, think again: not only will this guide show you how to create a smooth bead of sealant along your backsplash, but it will reveal how you can caulk in any color imaginable.
How to Install Caulk on a Kitchen Backsplash
To get ready to recaulk a kitchen backsplash, you’ll want your tube of caulk, a good caulking gun, a utility knife and razor blade, and a rag with some water.
A note on good caulk for kitchen use: Make sure that your caulk is water-resistant and that it will hold up over time as joints naturally expand and contract due to changes in pressure and temperature. You don’t want a caulk that will crack or break its seal after only a year of use!
Step 1: Remove Old Caulk
To get started on a backsplash that already has caulk, use your utility knife to cut out and remove the old caulk from along the joint. Once you cut it out, you may need to use a razor blade to scrape away any remained pieces sticking to the backsplash or the wall.
Once all chunks of caulk are gone, clean the joint to get rid of any remaining caulk dust or smaller pieces. Wipe it down if necessary and make sure that all surfaces are completely dry before applying new caulk.
Step 2: Apply the Caulk
Prepare the caulking tube by slicing at a 45-degree angle about ¼” from the end of the tip so that a small bead of caulk can be extruded.
Once you have loaded the caulking tube into your gun (unless you are using a squeeze tube, which you can simply apply by hand), place the tip of the tube in the center of the joint with the short side of the cut tip facing the gap. Steadily move the tube along the joint while squeezing out the caulk. For a smooth bead, make sure that you are pulling the tube along and not pushing it.
While you need enough caulk to cover the joint, try to keep the bead minimal to avoid making a mess. The less caulk used, the more the job will blend in with the overall backsplash without standing out visually.
Step 3: Smooth the Caulking
Chances are your new caulk bead doesn’t look perfect. Don’t worry! Instead of trying to scrape it into place or wipe some of it away, you’ll want to simply use a damp rag to wet your finger and run it gently along the caulking. The water will help your finger smooth the surface and make it look uniform without sticking to your skin.
Even if your caulk bead looks great after you apply it, continue to smooth it with your finger to increase its adhesion to the backsplash and to the wall. Once the caulk is smooth to your liking, congratulations! You officially have a finished backsplash.
Best Caulk for Kitchen Backsplashes
Now that we’ve covered caulking technique, let’s talk about appearances. Caulk traditionally comes in a limited range of colors that don’t always fit in perfectly with the color scheme of a backsplash or overall kitchen. Some latex caulks are paintable, but taping off an area to avoid getting paint on walls or tile nearby is can be a tedious, time-consuming process.
Sashco's Color Solution: eXact color®
We’ve made a product that simplifies the caulking process and saves you time while improving your project design. With Sashco’s eXact color®, you’ll never have to worry about whether or not caulk will match surrounding colors, and you won’t have to spend hours taping off every nearby surface. Instead, you’ll be able to precisely match your caulking job to a paint color that fits in with the design of your kitchen or of any other space that needs sealant. In just a few minutes, you can mix your caulk to an exact paint or pigment color before applying it in one simple step, saving you time and improving the aesthetics of the overall space.
All you need to match eXact color® is your paint or stain of choice. The eXact color® product comes with a syringe that allows you to directly add paint before shaking the tube itself to mix it together. Once you add and mix a thickening agent, you’ll be ready to go! The process only takes a few minutes and saves you time and the hassle of coming back to paint.
Design and Performance
Don’t plan on sacrificing quality to get the appearance that you want. eXact color® uses the same powerful adhesion technology that we use in our Big Stretch products to create a long-lasting seal that can withstand constant moisture over time (although we wouldn’t recommend it for areas that experience complete submersion). It can also be used for gaps that are up to 2 inches wide, transforming an awkward space into one that seamlessly matches its surroundings.
Caulking Your Kitchen Backsplash
Installing caulk along your kitchen backsplash will help prevent moisture from building up and causing long-term problems with mold and water damage down the road. It can also provide a nice clean line to finish the project nicely. Best of all, it won’t take you long, especially if you have a product like eXact color® that allows you to match the sealant to the color scheme of the entire space without messily painting over it.
Whether you’ve just finished a new kitchen remodel, want to replace old yellowing caulk, or need a customized color for sealant in other spaces of your home, eXact color® simplifies the process without falling short on adhesion and long-term elasticity. Find it at a supplier near you to give it a try! For questions or concerns, reach out to our customer service team today. We’d love to hear what you think!
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This month's training tip comes directly from a question we received recently.