Advice from the DIY Experts.

How to Caulk before Painting for a Finished Look.

By Courtenay Hartford, The Creek Line House

Courtenay has partnered with GE Caulk to bring you this post, and has been compensated for her advice and honest opinions.

If you've ever found yourself at the end of a remodeling project and felt yourself hesitating to put the final bead of caulk in place around your gorgeous new tile work, or your beautiful new bathroom fixtures, because you were worried about how difficult it may be and that your lines may not end up looking perfectly-straight, then listen up! I have just the caulking method for you and I'm going to tell you all about it today. You'll probably also have gaps like the ones in the photo below after you finish up your tile work, so you might as well fill them in the easiest way possible!

Caulking before painting

Many of us have always traditionally applied our caulk last, after everything else in the room is done, and then agonized when things turned out looking less than professional. With some of the new silicone caulks available now, you can actually paint after you apply your caulk and have the benefit of using a product that's really easy to work with. Applying your paint after your caulk ensures that you can easily get a perfectly straight line every time and your caulk becomes almost un-noticeable! I'll be using the example of finishing off a tiled wall that meets up with a painted drywall surface.

Here's what to do:
Complete your tile work and make sure to remove as much of the excess tile adhesive and grout from the wall as you can while they're still wet.

Caulking set-up and prep

Use painter's tape to mark off the area where you want your caulk to go both on the tile and on the wall if you feel like you need some help keeping things straight! I often just like to remove as much excess caulk as I can using a gloved finger when it comes to projects like this.

Choose the right caulk! If you'll be working in a shower, bath tub or somewhere that will be hit by water directly on a regular basis, use a paintable silicone kitchen and bath caulk, if your tile is more of a trim like mine is, go for the paintable silicone window, door and trim caulk! I love this product because it's so easy to use!

GE Supreme Paintable Silicone Caulk

As far as caulk guns go, if you have to use one, it might as well be in a cute camo print! GE Silicone II Caulk supports an organization called Building Homes for Heroes® that helps build homes for military families in need. In support of the program, GE Silicone II Caulk will donate 50 cents of every tube of GE Silicone II Window & Door Clear Caulk sold at Lowe's® or The Home Depot®. You can learn more at - you'll notice a camo theme!

GE Caulk Guns

Apply your caulk in a straight bead and then wipe away the excess with a gloved finger for a nice even line.

Applying paintable silicone caulk

Allow your caulk to dry for about 30 minutes. That's all it takes and then you're ready to paint!

Painting silicone caulk

Tape off a line where you'd like your painted surface to start and then apply latex paint, or freehand the line if you're confident. If you need to use an oil-based paint over your caulk, make sure to use an acrylic primer first.

Professional looking finish with paintable sealant

There are many other great before-painting uses for paintable silicone caulk as well!

  • On DIY trim and molding work: If your pieces don't line up perfectly, no one has to know! The great thing about using silicone caulk is that it's flexible so it moves with your walls and trim as they shift with different humidity levels and it will never crack.
  • Filling small holes in walls from picture hanging or accidental dents.
  • In an old house almost everywhere before you paint a room! Around windows, doors, in random cracks that seem to appear everywhere. Silicone caulk will never pull away from walls the way acrylic can, so it's a really great option to take care of these common old-house problems. It really makes a difference!

You can see that if you're about to do any kind of painting, paintable silicone caulk is an essential product to have around, and if you're going to be doing painting and caulking, why not try applying silicone caulk first this time? You'll love the finished results!

Paintable silicone sealant