What Can I Use Instead Of A Caulking Gun? [4 Alternatives Explored]

Adding a bit of caulk is a helpful and inexpensive way to seal out gaps between flooring, cabinets, countertops, and more. However, you may wonder if there is anything you can use to apply caulk if you don't have a caulking gun. We researched alternative methods of applying caulk, so you don't have to let a lack of a caulking gun stop your project.

If you find yourself without a caulking gun, don't panic. Check out the following alternative tools to help you apply this substance as needed.

  • Use a shaping tool to control caulk
  • Apply caulk by hand with a vinyl or latex glove
  • Use painter's tape to surround the gap or hole to be filled
  • Paint it on with a brush or small roller

Depending on the type of caulk you are using, you may want to choose your alternative application carefully. Learn handy ways you can take everyday items to successfully fill gaps and stave off drafts, seal out pests, and adhere loose molding—stay with us!

A man using a caulking gun on the door, What Can I Use Instead Of A Caulking Gun? [4 Alternatives Explored]

Apply Caulk Without A Caulking Gun

Caulk is a waterproof material used as a sealant to fill in gaps, holes, or cracks in construction or for repairs. Typically, caulk is made up of latex and acrylic, so it shrinks after it cures. After applying caulk, you can paint it if needed for decorative purposes and to create a more finished look for a project.

Caulking bricks using a caulking gun

Common places where caulk is applied include gaps around windows to seal out drafts, spaces around joints, pipes, and doors. Applying a layer of caulk to an area helps increase protection against water, insects, dust, or air entering.

Different Types Of Caulk

It is wise to get familiar with different types of caulk; some may be more appropriate than others to seal a project.

  • Acrylic Latex Caulk or Painter's Caulk
  • Vinyl Latex Caulk
  • Pure Silicone
  • Adhesive Caulk
  • Asphalt Caulk
  • Butyl Rubber
  • Acrylic Tile Sealant

For interiors, most caulk used in kitchens, bathrooms, and around the home includes a polymer caulk or siliconized acrylic caulk. Caulk is usually squeezed out into a line to fill in a gap and pushed in as needed to create a seal. You can spray on some forms of caulk via an aerosol. Spraying on caulk with an aerosol offers control and doesn't require a caulk gun.

Do I Really Need A Caulking Gun?

Most projects around the house that require some caulk to fill in gaps, cracks, and create a waterproof seal require a caulking gun. However, if you have a tube of caulk, you can apply it by hand carefully using the back of a spoon or wet gloved finger to spread it.

A caulking gun is convenient but can be avoided if you use an aerosol caulk. Also, you can apply caulk with a brush, manipulate it with finishing tools, or block an area using painter's tape for easy clean-up and control.

Explore Alternatives To Caulk

Don't have a caulking gun around? It's no problem working with caulk using the following alternatives.

1. Use A Shaping Tool

Apply caulk by hand and then shape it or smooth it out using a tool. Consider a flexible blade to scrape the caulk or the back of a sturdy but flexible heavy-duty plastic spoon. When caulk comes out it tends to be sticky or runny, so a tool will help with controlling the material when it is applied to the surface.

Check out this shaping tool on Amazon.

2. Use A Glove To Apply Caulk

Put on a vinyl or latex glove, depending on the composition of the caulk. Wet your gloved finger with a bit of isopropyl alcohol and use it to apply caulk to the gap, crack or hole and fill it in. Smooth out the caulk with your gloved finger and clean up as needed.

It is best to use disposable latex or vinyl gloves. Caulk may cure nitrile gloves.

Check out this pack of vinyl gloves on Amazon.

3. Apply Painter's Tape To Control Caulk

Put down strips of painter's tape so it surrounds the gap or crack that needs to be filled with caulk. Since caulk is messy, any caulk that lands on the tape can be pulled up and away afterward to protect the work surface underneath.

Also, using painter's tape helps improve your control when applying the caulk directly from the tube, using a gloved hand, or with a tool.

Check out this handy 3-pack of painter's tape on Amazon.

4. Paint The Caulk On

If you don't mind ruining a paintbrush or paint roller, consider using either of those tools to apply the caulk. Squeeze out the caulk onto the roller or brush and paint over the desired area to fill in cracks, gaps, or holes. You can also put the caulk down where needed and use a paintbrush or roller to manipulate the caulk into place.

Make sure to wipe up any areas where you don't need caulk before letting everything dry. Note, if you use a paintbrush or roller to apply caulk, it will ruin the tool afterward.

How Do You Caulk A Bathtub Without A Caulking Gun?

If you need to caulk a bathtub but don't have a gun, you can still apply it by hand. Choose a caulk that matches the color of the bathtub, tile, or grout lines if possible. Otherwise, choose a caulk that has a color that complements your tub.

Choose a caulk with an application nozzle or tip that you can cut to size to match the recommended bead size. You may want to cut the tip of the nozzle on an angle for better control, snipping off 1/4-inch or more as needed to get the right bead size.

Apply enough pressure to get the caulk flowing and apply where needed. Work carefully, using your gloved fingers or a tool to help shape and fill in the space. Wipe the area clean where you don't want caulk to cure. Paint over the dried, cured caulk if you wish.

Check out this mildew-resistant caulk on Amazon.

Do You Push Or Pull When Caulking?

Whether you have a caulk gun or not, it is better to pull the caulk toward you as you move along a joint, gap, or crack. Make sure to hold the tube at a 45-degree angle and use enough pressure to release an even amount of the sealant. Pushing caulk is not recommended because it can create an uneven bead and make more mess.

Can I Recaulk Over Caulk?

It is possible to add a new layer of caulk over pre-existing caulk. However, you have to make sure that the new layer of caulk is wider than the previous line. Also, the old caulk and surrounding area need to be thoroughly cleaned, dry, and free of dust, debris, and oil. If you feel it is in your best interest to do so, remove the old layer of caulk before applying a new layer.

How Do You Smooth Out Caulking Lines?

When you want to achieve smoothed out caulking lines, plan to use a moistened gloved finger or opt for a finishing tool. You will want to drag your finger or tool of choice with enough pressure along the bead, lightly going along to smooth it out.

Do not rush or use too much pressure, which can make a mess of things. If you wish, place down strips of painter's tape as a protective guide around the caulked space for easy clean-up and to keep things neat.

Check out this caulk finishing tool kit on Amazon.

In Closing

A man using a caulking gun on the door, What Can I Use Instead Of A Caulking Gun? [4 Alternatives Explored]

We hope you feel more confident about applying caulk to your project as needed, even if you don't have a caulking gun. Applying caulk can get pretty messy, so it is important to work carefully and gather all necessary tools before starting work. Make sure to use the right caulk for the job and know how to clean it up.

Depending on the alternative tool or method that you use to apply caulk, be ready to clean your work surface and surrounding area. Learn which type of caulk is best for your project before you put any of the substance down and how to work with it. Thinking outside the box and having an adaptive mindset regarding tools and application methods can make working with caulk a breeze.

Before you go, don't skip out on the following helpful articles.

Read More: Should Wood Siding Be Caulked?

Read More: Should You Caulk Between Baseboard And Floor?

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