Paul Durkin

How to Neatly Apply Silicone in 8 Easy Steps

Published: 12 November 2013 | By Paul Durkin
Tips for Neatly Applying Silicone

Aside from adding the finishing touch to your sanitary ware, silicone will fill any gaps and provide a watertight solution.

Applying silicone is messy, sticky and very difficult to get right. If done incorrectly, however, water may seep down between the wall, causing mould, rotting and flooding.

To ensure you achieve a professional, neat, seal every time follow the 8 steps below.

What You Will Need:

  • A silicone gun.
  • A stanley knife.
  • Cardboard.
  • Your finger (all will be explained later).

1. Prepare the Area:

Before beginning, you MUST remove any existing silicone – This can be easily done with a stanley knife.

It is of the utmost importance that the area is dirt free as any oil or grease will interfere with the way the silicone bonds. To ensure you get a thorough clean, use some turpentine.

2.  Apply Masking Tape:

This is the key to ensuring you achieve a professional finish - Apply masking tape to both edges of the joint with an approximate width of ¼”.

This will allow you to set the desired width of the silicone; if you fail to do this, when you smooth the silicone in step 6 you will find it extremely hard to ensure a consistent width.

3. Prepare the Silicone Tube:

Using a knife, cut the tip of the tube at a 45⁰ angle, making sure you keep the hole fairly small to achieve a controlled finished.

Then simply pop the seal on the tube (a nail will help you do this) and load the tube into your silicone gun.

4. Test, Test, Test!

If this is your first attempt, you’d be a fool to rush in without practicing. So before starting, test the pressure and flow on something you can easily bin (like a piece of cardboard).

Remember: Silicone should flow, not drip or squirt.

5. Apply the Silicone: Applying a Silicone Seal

Your silicone gun should be held at a 45⁰ angle, just above the surface, so that you can watch it flow.

Move the gun in a steady stream along the required area and avoid stopping until you reach the end.

Once you reach the end, release the trigger on the gun and quickly pull away to avoid any strings.

6. Start the Tooling Process:

Tooling is simply running your finger along the silicone to create a smooth bond between that and the object. Be careful not to apply too much pressure and make sure it's consistently smooth as you go.

Top Tip: To reduce friction and make the process easier, dip your finger into a mixture of warm water and washing-up liquid.

7. Remove the Masking Tape:

Only remove the tape you applied in step 2 once you are happy the silicone is smooth. Don’t wait until it's set to remove the tape as this can create rips in the silicone.

Then, along the edges that were covered by the tape, smooth the silicone with your finger. If you forget to do this, you risk exposing the edges to dirt.

8. Leave it to Set:

To form a secure, watertight, bond it will take approximately 24 hours to set.

Tips for Siliconing a Bath:

  • Before siliconing fill the bath approximately ¾ full with water, then run a bead of silicone along the wall edge.
  • Leave the water in the bath for 24 hours as this will give it time to settle into place.
  • If you silicone first, when you fill the bath with water it may drop and create cracks in the silicone.

Sealant Strips: The Easier Method

If the above seems too challenging or time consuming, then I’d recommend using a sealant strip as they allow you to quickly fill the gap between your sanitaryware and the wall.

To use one simply cut it to the length required, place it into the correct position and then seal in the top and bottom with silicone.

Fitting a sealant strip is often the best method as they allow you to seal wider gaps and it's easy to ensure you have a consistent width. If your gap exceeds over 2cm, for instance, then using a sealant strip is the only option.

If the easier option takes your fancy, then here’s a list of our bestselling seal strips: