Mike Holmes’s Tricks of the Trade: Caulking, Shimming & Grouting
By Mike Holmes
Sometimes window and doorframes don’t fit securely when you’re installing them. And if there’s a gap on either side the whole thing can shift, and it might not open properly. So a pro will shim the frame. But shimming isn’t easy. Some people think you just stick a piece of wood in and throw in some nails. But you really need to get the whole cavity tight with shim. We do that by inserting shims into the gap—usually 2-3—to get it really snug. Nail them in place through the frame and cut off any pieces sticking out so that they’re flush.
When it comes to caulking, something that separates the pros is “tooling” the caulk, or smoothing it out. Pros will have a container with them that has a soap and water in it. After applying an even bead of caulk they take a tool—usually a piece of wood—dip it into that solution and run it along the caulking. Dipping that tool in soap and water makes it very slippery, so it doesn’t grab the caulking. There’s the difference between someone who knows how to do proper caulking to someone who doesn’t. That’s why you hire the pros.
When we grout, the first thing we want to do is make sure the grout’s in and all the gaps between the tiles are completely filled. The second: Wash the tiles off lightly – be careful you don’t wash the grout in the cracks away. You can actually start washing excess grout off in about 15-30 minutes after you grout. You also want to make sure you don’t leave excess grout on the tiles for too long. It can be very difficult to remove it once it fully dries. Always check the package for instructions and drying time. When you start wiping the tiles take the top layer off with the right amount of moisture in the sponge. And wipe it two ways—up and down then across. It really builds up the forearms—it’s a great exercise. So it’s a trick, a real technique—just sponging your grout.
Holmes Makes It Right,
Renos & DIY,