How to Use a Caulking Gun

A young woman standing on a ladder outside her house while using a caulking gun to repair a leak.
A caulking gun is a tool used for sealing up gaps and cracks in the home. kali9 / Getty Images

A caulking gun is a tool that holds a tube or cartridge that's filled with material used for sealing up gaps and cracks in the home. Caulk can be made of silicone or latex, and is used to bond a wide range of materials like metal, glass, wood and ceramic. Caulk usually comes in a tube. You need a caulking gun to get the caulk out of the tube. The gun will help you regulate how much caulk is released at one time, and will also makes the caulk come out exactly where you want it [source: Do It Yourself].

Here's how to use a caulking gun.


  1. Press the release at the rear of the gun with your thumb, releasing the plunger at the back of the gun.
  2. Pull the plunger all the way back. Put the tube into the gun, with the nozzle in the front.
  3. Push the plunger tightly into the back of the tube, and remove your thumb. The gun is now loaded.
  4. Cut the tip of the cartridge so that the hole matches the size of the gap you want to fill.
  5. Push a nail or pin through the hole to puncture any inner seal.
  6. Hold the gun at a 45 degree angle along the gap you want to seal.
  7. Squeeze the gun's handle or trigger slowly while drawing the gun toward you. When you can't squeeze the handle any more release it. It will automatically spring back. When it is in its original position, you're ready to squeeze again. How hard you squeeze the trigger and how quickly you move the gun will determine how much caulk is applied at each spot. Remember, more caulk will come out at the end of each squeeze.
  8. You can smooth out the caulk with your finger when you're done [source: Jhtianyi].

Caulking Gun FAQ

How does a caulking gun work?
A caulking gun is a handy tool used to fill in cracks and gaps within your home. The nozzle should be in the front and as you push the plunger tightly, the caulk will come out in a bead.
Can you caulk without a gun?
The simple and quick answer to this question is yes, you can easily caulk without a gun. But the results you get from caulking without a gun won't be as smooth and effective as they are with a gun.
Are there different types of caulking guns?
There are three different types of caulking guns: a ratchet rod caulk gun is the one that most home users will use. A smooth rod dripless caulk gun is one of the more popular caulking guns. The electric gun is best for frequent users.
How do I choose a caulking gun?
There are a number of things to look for when purchasing a caulk gun. You should consider the type of the gun you buy, along with the efficacy of the results, the efficiency of the output and the power input required.
Do I really need a caulking gun?
You do not really need to use a caulking gun for small tasks at home, but if you're a frequent DIY enthusiast, these guns are best to save time and get desirable results.