If you’ve only applied sealant using a gun, you might not know how to make it work without one. Maybe your gun broke, or you need a quick fix and can’t get to it right away. Is it possible to use silicone sealant if you don’t have a caulking gun?
To use silicone sealant without a gun, simply apply pressure to the bottom of the bottle with a hammer or similar tool. This will work as a sealant gun but give you less control over the flow of material. You can cut the tube nozzle depending on how thick you want the adhesive to prevent overflowing.
This article will walk you through applying silicone sealant without a caulking gun, describing everything from cleaning the surface, cutting the sealant, and spreading it out. It’ll also introduce some of the best sealants to do this, plus the best caulking guns, in case you fail to proceed to the methods.
How To Use Sealant Without a Gun: Step-by-Step
Silicone sealant, like the name suggests, sticks things together. You can use it to seal up gaps in your wall or bathtub or even to fix drafty windows.
Usually, a sealant is applied with a caulking gun, which controls the flow of this adhesive material as you apply it, and prevents you from making a mess. Caulking guns are fitted with a lever that twists and pushes on the bottom of the sealant tube, keeping you from pressing down too quickly on accident.
How, then, do you use sealant if you don’t have a gun? The answer is much less complicated than you may think! This step-by-step guide will walk you through how to do it.
1. Clean the Area
First, clean up the area that you’ll be sealing. If the surface has never been caulked before, wipe it down with a wet cloth or rag to eliminate any debris. Wait until it’s dry to continue sealing it.
In many cases, however, you’ll be removing a layer of existing sealant or caulk. If that’s the case, you’ll need to chip away the old sealing first.
- Cut out the old seal by using a razor blade or some other sharp object.
- Wipe down the area you’re going to seal with a rag soaked in rubbing alcohol.
- Clean the whole area with a rag soaked in water.
- Wait until the area is dry.
Once that’s done, you can press foam tape around the gap to protect your floor from getting any caulk on it. You can get a six-pack of Scotch Painter’s Tape on Amazon, which will last you a long time.
It’s tempting to skip the tape if you’re convinced that you won’t make a mess, but when you’re not using a caulking gun, the chances of an accidental slip-up with disastrous results are much higher. Play it safe and use tape.
2. Cut the Nozzle
When you’re ready to apply your sealant, go ahead and cut the nozzle on top off. Be careful not to squeeze on the bottle as you do this! You want to avoid making a mess.
The spot where you cut the glue bottle will determine how thick or thin the line of sealant you apply would be, so be conservative at first. A line too thin won’t be effective, but a thick line will quickly get messy and difficult to finish up.
According to the National Capital Poison Center, even though silicone itself is nontoxic, other additives in caulk can make it dangerous to accidentally ingest. To avoid any unfortunate accidents, make sure to clean up any spills and wash your hands immediately after handling the caulk.
3. Apply the Sealant
It’s now time to apply the sealant to the area you want to close. To do this, you’ll want to find a long, round tool that will fit at the bottom of the sealant bottle and allow you to press down on it. The handle of a hammer will work well, so will a small rolling pin or similarly shaped objects.
Place your nozzle at the gap you’re filling at a 45° angle—so not quite straight on. Squeezing the sealant in at a direct angle will make the bead uneven.
Make sure you have a steady hand when you apply the sealant! The advantage of caulking guns is that they give you much more control over how quickly the sealant comes out. However, if you’re careful with your make-shift caulking gun, you can easily get a clean line of sealant.
When you’re done, take a look at the item you used to push down on the sealant and wash it off with warm soap and water before it dries off. If you work slowly and steadily to apply the sealant, you shouldn’t have too much residue on the handle.
Finally, finish the seal by smoothing it out with a finishing tool. Brush any dust off and close up any air bubbles. You can also wet your finger and smooth it out that way, but only do this if you’re sealing an area under three feet long.
If you don’t have a finishing tool, this Reecola 5 in 1 Caulking Tool is a cheap and all-encompassing tool that comes with various extras and a bag of finger gloves to protect you from sealing yourself.
Finally, remove the tape surrounding the sealant job. Let your seal dry before placing pressure on it. Now you don’t have to worry about grime getting into that gap!
Best Silicone Sealants and Caulking Guns: Recommendations
A caulking gun is nice to get a good, even seal, but a quality adhesive is critical! Here are some of the silicone sealants on Amazon:
- Gorilla Silicone Sealant: This sealant dries to a clear white color, making it perfect for bathrooms. It’s resistant to mildew and mold.
- GE Silicone All-Purpose Sealant: This caulk boasts of being permanently weatherproof. You can use this sealant outside without worrying about cracking.
- Loctite Clear Silicone Waterproof Sealant: Unlike the other sealants on our list, this caulk comes in a squeeze bottle, meaning you won’t need to use the head of a hammer to apply the sealant.
If you tried sealing the deal without a caulking gun and found that you couldn’t get a clean line, or you simply made a mess, you may want to bite the bullet and simply buy one. Here are some caulking guns you can buy, available on Amazon.
- Albion Engineering Caulking Gun: This gun is designed to handle high-viscosity caulk, so you don’t need to struggle against the thick, goopy silicone.
- Newborn Caulking Gun: The gator trigger comfort grip helps you feel as comfortable as possible when caulking. The rod will automatically retract after the trigger is pulled, so you don’t accidentally drip sealant anywhere.
- Red Devil Extreme Duty Caulk Gun: This gun is much stronger than the others listed, with a 26:1 thrust ratio and handling 950 pounds of force.
If you don’t have a caulking gun but need to seal up a gap in your house, you can use silicone sealant without a gun. By pressing the handle of a hammer or some similar object at the bottom, you’ll get a clean seal even if you’ve never done it before.
Of course, even if you find that this method works for you, you may just want to invest in a caulking gun at some point. They’re inexpensive, sturdy tools that you’ll find yourself reaching for again and again.