There are many uses around your home for acrylic caulk. If you have decided to use it for one of them, whether you are sealing a window or closing an air leak, you should be able to do it easily, assuming you have the correct knowledge and plan accordingly. What follows should give you everything you need to get started.
Step 1 - Choose the Job Carefully
Acrylic latex caulk is good for some projects but bad for others. Because of the likelihood of this type of caulk shrinking and crack over time, it will eventually leave the surfaces open to water damage. It is, however, designed to work well with paint, making it a great type of caulk to fill a drywall corner where the ceiling meets the wall. You can also use it for caulking windows, or sealing off any smaller holes exposing the inside of your home to the exterior. However, for high moisture environments such as bathrooms, you are better off using silicone caulk.
Step 2 - Setting Up
Preparing your caulk tube properly is an important part of applying acrylic caulk. If you prepare your tube incorrectly, it becomes easy to apply too much caulk. This makes a mess that can be difficult to clean up and is quite wasteful. Even more importantly, it gives you a bead of caulk that is hard to control and apply accurately.
For a good, easy to work with caulk tube, cut the tip of the tube off with a very sharp utility knife or scissors. Aim to have a hole that is 1/8 inch across. However, err on the side of having too small of a hole, as you can always cut off more later.
Additionally, cut the tip of the caulk tube at a 45-degree angle.
Step 3 - Applying Caulk
Practicing on a piece of scrap material first is a good idea, especially if this is your first time operating a caulk gun. Try the following techniques out somewhere that does not matter before actually working on your home. When you are ready, try them for real.
Hold the caulk gun at a 30-degree angle to the place you are attempting to seal off. Squeeze the trigger slowly and evenly, and attempt to deposit an even bead of caulk over the crack or seam. Try to move your caulk gun away from the surface as you squeeze rather than towards it because pushing can smear the caulk, making a mess and leaving you with not enough excess to work into the seam. Do this as quickly as possible. You do not need to be completely accurate.
Step 4 - Finishing the Job
Get your index finger damp with a mix of water and dishwashing soap to keep the caulk from sticking to your finger. Gently slide the tip of your finger along the seam to simultaneously push the caulk into the crack and even off or remove the excess caulk. You can use this technique to remove imperfections in your caulking job by gently pushing the caulk that builds up ahead of your finger into areas that did not receive enough. Remove excess caulk from your finger regularly and keep your finger wet with the soap solution.
It is important to do this as soon as possible after applying the caulk because the longer the caulk sits, the more it will dry forming a skin over its surface and making it more difficult to work with.