Caulk a Countertop and Backsplash
LESLIE: Bill in Michigan, what’s going on in your kitchen?
BILL: I’ve got a Formica counter with the Formica splash drywall. The counter fits into the exterior wall of the house and in the winter time the backsplash separates from the drywall by about a quarter of an inch, so the caulking is all pulled away from the drywall. And it was one of those projects that I kept putting off and putting off and then, this late spring, I went to re-caulk it and it had sealed back up.
TOM: (laughing) The mysteriously moving countertop.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Interesting. (chuckling)
TOM: Well, you know, what’s happening here is, you know, in the winter, things dry out and you get a lot of expansion and so it’s just pulled away. So I think timing here is key. (chuckling) But a …
LESLIE: (chuckling) Do it in the winter when it’s got the space.
TOM: Yeah, and then it’ll compress in the summer and you won’t have to worry about it.
When you do this caulking, one thing to keep in mind is because this is in a kitchen area, you want to use a caulk that has a mildicide in it. DAP makes a caulk, for example, that has Microban, an antimicrobial additive. It’s sort of like the Intel Inside in the caulk. And it’s smart in that it doesn’t grow any mold because, once that area gets wet, it’ll turn nasty looking.
LESLIE: And make sure, when you’re going to put that caulk in there, that you clean that area and the space with a bleach and water solution just to get rid of any mold or mildew that might be growing in there. And then, let it dry really, really well before you go ahead and put that caulk in there because you don’t want any mold to grow behind it. This way, it’ll get a nice clean seal.
TOM: And Bill, if you have any areas that have large gaps in it, you want to stuff those gaps first. If you can get some of the flexible foam rod you can shove it in there or just take newspaper and roll it in there because you don’t want to have a really, really thick wad of caulk. You just want to have about – caulk that’s about a quarter of an inch thick; not any – not any thicker than that or it’s not going to dry properly.
You know, for years I worked in new construction while I was growing up and I put a lot of kitchens in and, of course, the last thing you do is caulk that countertop. And man, we had to caulk some pretty wide gaps. I think that I daresay I used a (chuckling) spackling knife and a caulk gun together more than once. (laughter)
Bill, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.