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Maintaining Your Caulking Gun

The right caulking gun will help you place the perfect bead, economically dispense product, and enable you to have a safe and productive work site. 

Maintenance on your caulking gun dispensing equipment is consistent with how you should take care of any manually operated tools. By incorporating these simple steps, your caulking gun will be ready when you are.


Post-Use Maintenance

Good maintenance starts by wiping down the gun with a damp cloth when the job is finished. You’ll find that any material on the piercing rod, barrel, and handle is much easier to remove when it hasn’t cured.

You might need to use a solvent for some stickier materials. Be sure to check the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on the products you’ve used for suggestions on the best cleaning solutions. Read all warnings and labels on your solvents, chemicals, and cleaners before use, and try to work in a well-ventilated area away from any open flames.

If the material has hardened or built-up, don’t submerse the gun in a tub. Rather use a flexible wire brush. Don’t be too aggressive when cleaning, as you don’t want to leave deep scratches on the gun’s exterior.

When cleaning a caulking gun configured for bulk or sausage packaging, check the barrel’s inner surface. The sides must be clean and smooth, with no rust or cured material. Check your gun’s operating instructions regarding the type of material you should use to lube the barrel’s inner surface to prevent buildup. Many caulking gun manufacturers sell a barrel brush for steel barrels that makes cleaning easy. But be careful not to use a wire brush on Teflon™ coated or aluminum barrels.

Don’t forget about the caulking gun’s moving parts. By cleaning the plunger, squeeze trigger and spring mechanism, you’ll be assured of good performance at the next use. Also, be aware that powered caulking guns have specific inspection requirements with respect to their batteries and air components. 

If you are using sausage packaging in your caulking gun, look at the empty package. You should find a small, compressed ring of the sausage wrapper that is easily removed. But if you find that the wrapper skin has slipped behind the piston, it could be an indication that the piston is worn or damaged. If the piston is nicked, bent or the edges are not tight against the inside walls of the barrel, replace it. When replacing the piston, be sure to check with your White Cap expert for the right replacement part.

Pre-job Inspections

Before heading up on your platform to begin work, take a few minutes to check out your caulking gun.
1.   Is the drive rod parallel to the carriage and on the center line of the carriage?

2.   Is the front cap of the carriage perpendicular to the drive rod? 

3.   Does the disk that pushes against the back of the cartridge fit nicely on the front cap when the rod is in the forward position?
4.   Does the cartridge fit into the carriage? The cartridge should be held in the back and fit nicely in the front cap of the carriage. Holding the cartridge in the back keeps the cartridge secure in the carriage while dispensing material. 

5.  When using a bulk gun, are the leather pistons oiled and not excessively worn?
6.   Before loading your caulking gun, check the outside of the material packages you are about to use. If cartridge and sausage packaging is dirty or out of round, your caulking gun won’t work properly. Make sure there is no dry or wet sealant on the outside of the sausage skin. Also remove any paper adhesive labels. 

Periodic Bench Maintenance

Depending on the type of caulking gun and its frequency of use, you might want to set aside some shop time to take a closer look at the tool’s condition. The most important place to start for caulking guns configured for bulk loading and sausage packaging is the plunger. 

Whenever your piston cups become dirty, stiff, or dried out, they should be removed from the gun, cleaned, and soaked overnight in motor oil.  

When reassembling the pistons and supporting washers back into the gun, don’t overtighten the rod nut as this can squeeze the leathers too tightly against the barrel.  
Caulk Gun on Construction Jobsite

Most guns use a soft leather plunger that is tough and durable, and provides low friction, and excellent chemical resistance. If you are experiencing blowby or excessive piston wear, there are solutions for a smoother operating gun.

Many caulking gun manufacturers offer a wide array of plungers made with different materials that can be matched to your particular application. These materials include impregnated leather, nitrile rubber, nylon, Teflon™, Hytrel, polyethylene and poly plastic.

Your local White Cap has all the tools and supplies you need to keep your caulking guns operating smoothly. These supplies include wiping cloths, cleaning solvents and brushes, in addition to all the replacement parts you may need.
Should you need any repair parts, check in with your White Cap service center. They have an inventory of the items you need to keep your crews on task and on time.


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