Accessorizing Your Caulking Gun System
Caulking gun manufacturers have recognized this and crafted a wide range of accessories for specific applications.
- When placing construction sealants for expansion and control joints, manufactures offer jointing tools that allow you to properly position backing material prior to filling.
- When sealing perimeter joints around windows, doors, and other building envelope applications, there are nozzles with which you can apply sealant beads in round, triangular, oval, and flat ribbon shapes to match the architectural detail.
- For large material applications, such as firestopping, log home chinking, and offsite component assembly of curtain wall and precast concrete units, manufacturers offer loading units to fill bulk guns with minimum mess and maximum efficiency.
- When applying solid surface adhesives, use nozzles that allow quick discharge of materials.
- When injecting epoxies and urethane grouts through surface mounted or predrilled ports, you may require extensive tubing and ports.
- For non-traditional applications such as grouting and pointing of brick and masonry, many brands have designed durable dispensing tools.
Types of Caulking Gun Accessories
- Nozzles and Front Caps – You have several options when selecting nozzles and front caps. You should select metal nozzles when working on masonry and other abrasive surfaces. They are normally made of all-steel construction with zinc-plating making them resistant to corrosion. Plastic nozzles are less expensive but more importantly, you can cut the plastic to the exact size and shape needed for the bead. Manufacturers also offer several different nozzle shapes that allow you to reach corners and bends without contorting your arms or over-reaching when on a ladder. End cap reducers are handy tools that enable you to reduce the bead’s diameter on a caulking gun that is designed for larger applications. The device fits just inside the front cap. Manufacturers offer special nozzles for all types of cartridge applications.
- Cartridge Accessories – On some projects you might need to prepare your own cartridges with special or bulk materials. Manufacturers offer a vast array of sizes, shapes, and nozzle attachments of empty cartridges. There are also several styles of static mixing nozzles that enable you to properly use two-part epoxies.
- Bulk Loading Accessories – On large projects which require using caulking guns that are configured for bulk loading, manufacturers have created tools that increase productivity and reduce mess.
You should use skim (follow) plates when loading your gun from a pail. Skim plates come in two sizes – 2-gallon pails or 5-gallon pails. After opening the pail, you simply place the skim plate on top of the material making sure it is flat. The skim plate has an opening in its center into which you place the caulking gun’s nozzle. The skim plate helps keep the pail’s material fresh by minimizing its exposures to air. Often when the skim plate reaches the bottom of the pail it can become stuck. You can break the suction and remove it easily by reattaching an empty gun and pumping air underneath the plate pushing it upward.
- Loading Sleeves are shrouds you slide over the gun’s barrel prior to inserting it into your bulk material bucket. The sleeves are sized to slip smoothly into the skim plate’s center opening. The sleeve is easy-to-clean and protects the barrel’s threads from being filled with material.
- Joint Tools – No caulking gun toolbox is complete unless you have essential items such as spatulas, bucket scrapers, and backer rod insertion tools. Consider purchasing chemical-resistant, non-marking plastic caulk tooling spatulas. Some manufacturers offer these tools with an elliptical spline radius tip with which you can form a concave, hourglass sealant cross-section shape specified by
- When filling control joints on slabs or pavement, consider using a backer rod insertion tool. You can position the foam backer rod in caulk joints quickly, at a consistent depth and without puncturing. You can change out the position wheel to place the backer rod at its designed depth.
- Special Tools – There are several accessories designed to help your team be productive during the caulking gun’s use.
1. Caulk Knife – These are used to cut old caulk from joints prior to recaulking. These tools are normally 18” to 24” long and give you enough leverage to remove hardened caulk or sealant.
2. Insulation Sleeve – When working in cold conditions, consider purchasing items designed to keep the material cartridge or sausage at its best installation temperature. An insulation sleeve, made with a thick 3M neoprene rubber sleeve and lined with polyester fabric, fits on the caulking gun’s barrel. The fabric helps maintain the material’s temperature in the loading chamber. The sleeve is said to be more comfortable on the user’s grip.
3. Hot Pot – If you have a large job that must be completed in cold weather, consider using a hot pot to prewarm your material. These electric containers have a heating element that warms up and sustains sealants, coatings, and adhesives at usable temperatures, even in the coldest conditions. Most are large enough to warm a case of 10 oz cartridges, 20 oz sausages, two 2-gallon pails or one 5-gallon pail to the material’s optimal temperature in 20 minutes.
4. Contractor Tool Bag – And one handy way to help organize your caulking guns and accessories is with a heavy-duty contractor tool bag. Manufacturers offer tool bags that help professionally organize all your guns and accessories. Many are large enough to hold multiple tools, including bulk and cordless caulking guns, with several interior and exterior pockets for storing spare accessories.
While not exactly accessories, it’s important to maintain your caulking guns with the proper repair parts. White Cap can provide pistons, pulls, rods, and other components that are found in your tool. Our parts inventory extends to having the right replacement for your cordless and air caulking guns, including batteries, chargers, regulators, and hoses.