For every person keen to do their own home improvements, knowing how to use a cartridge gun (sometimes also called caulking gun) is essential. It makes DIY much easier and yields long-lasting results. Follow our basic guide to cartridge guns and get started with confidence!
Knowing how to use sealants is a must for any DIYer, as it comes in handy for a number of jobs around the house. It can be used as a sealant, adhesive, or a filler. To reduce the mess, sealant typically comes in disposable plastic cartridges or cardboard, with an applicator and plunger (or gun).
The perfect all-purpose silicone sealant for most jobs is UniBond Universal Sealant. Its special formula is designed for a wide range of surfaces both inside and outside the home. Its ability to repel moisture and mould make it ideal for fixing leaky downpipes, gutters, toilets, baths, and kitchens.
If the colour or texture of the sealant doesn’t quite match the surface, no worries! Some sealants can be painted over or sanded to blend in.
A good sealant job makes a huge difference in how your job looks and functions. If done correctly, it will look good and, more importantly, prevent leaks that can cause expensive damage to a building’s structure.
Most professionals use smooth-rod dripless cartridge guns. They are easy to squeeze, giving more control while applying sealant. The spring-loaded mechanism creates pressure with minimal force, allowing for neat and precise application.
Home leaks mean money leaks! Making sure your windows and doors are sealed up tight will also save on your electricity bill.
Here’s how to load a cartridge gun. To start, cut the tip from the cartridge above the screw thread, remove the nozzle cap and then trim nozzle diagonally to fit the joint width and, finally, screw the nozzle onto the cartridge. Insert the cartridge into the cartridge gun. Apply the sealant by pressing the trigger. This will push the plunger and the sealant towards the surface where the gun is aimed. If you’re new at it, we recommend practicing on a box or other disposable material before tackling the real job.
Here’s how to apply sealant in 5 easy steps.
- Prepare the surface. Remove old sealant by using a scraper or peel it away with your fingers or tweezers. Remove any stubborn residue by using sealant removal spray and a damp cloth.
- Taping. Using painter’s tape, tape both sides around the space you want to fill. This is to ensure you stay within your boundaries and avoid creating a sealant line that’s too big.
- Apply sealant. Cut the tip from the cartridge above the screw thread, remove the nozzle cap and then trim nozzle diagonally to fit the joint width and, finally, screw the nozzle onto the cartridge. Insert the cartridge into the cartridge gun. Press the tip of the gun firmly towards the point of application and pull the trigger to release the sealant. For an even look, move the cartridge gun smoothly along the line. Try not to stop or remove the tip until you’ve reached the end.
- Smooth down. When you’ve finished applying sealant to the area, smooth over the sealant line using an appropriate tool.
- Peel. Remove the masking tape slowly, pulling away from the joint.
Some silicone sealants require treatment with special chemicals to remove their residue. Always check the manufacturer’s instructions. It is best to use a bleach-based cleaner to sanitize the surfaces before applying new sealant.
What you need to get started
Be prepared from the start with this shopping list of necessary tools for your sealing job.
- Cartridge gun and cartridge
- Straight razor or putty knife
- Silicone sealant remover
- Cleaning cloths
- Surface cleaner
- Painters or masking tape
- Smoothing tool