Every man has his own personal Waterloo- something he will never master, no matter how hard he tries. He might come to terms with it, or die in the attempt. For me, Waterloo is spelled C.A.U.L.K. I just can’t do it. I’ve tried a dozen times with the same result– blecch. It looks like silicone cake frosting on whatever I am working on. It doesn’t matter what kind of caulk or what I am trying to seal. My bathtub seams look like stucco.
Four years ago, when I caulked my old siding, people on the street were coming up to me and asking, “How’s it goin’ there Rembrandt?”

Two weeks ago, I had new siding put on my house, and I stayed home to watch the workers do the job. I heard the guys cursing in in both Spanish and Polish as they spent about an hour scraping and cutting off about 50 pounds of latex caulk in huge globs from around the windows and doors. It looked like the old siding was glued to the house. It was like a tug-of-war. I stayed inside while they worked in teams- tearing the super-glued aluminum away from the window frames. I was afraid to show my face- for fear that they would tear me apart.
After they left, I got a look at the new siding job. There was a perfect uninterrupted 1/4″ bead of caulk on every seam on the house. I figure that there is at least 1/8th of a mile of immaculate caulk on the house. The guy who did it probably deserves the Nobel prize for tuck-pointing.

Unfortunately, there was a single rotted piece of wood trim that my insurance did not cover, and it was up to me to replace. No problem. I can do THAT! I have a half-dozen types of saws. I can miter cut wood backwards and upside down. I take the old trim down, cut some new pieces to size, assemble and paint them, and get them up in place. Bang-zoom-pow. All I have to do now is lay a 12 inch long 1/4″ wide bead of caulk in a straight line- in the gap between the new trim and the edge of the siding. Should be a done deal. Hah! 15 seconds later, I have a scale model of the Appalachian mountains stuck to the side of my house. This is where the experts say that you should put a drop of light oil (or soapy water- or alcohol- I’ve tried them all!) on the tip of your finger and just zip smoothly along the seam for a perfect job. Hah again! This is where the caulk goes EVERYWHERE- on my hands, on the clean-up rag, in my hair, in my shoes- all over — except for about half of the space I am trying to seal. So I have to do it again, this time doing the Rocky mountains- and now there’s loose caulk coming out of the OTHER SIDE of the house.

But I got it done. The trim on that side of the house looks like it’s got goiter, but it isn’t going to leak anytime soon– I hope.