How To Caulk A Perfectly Straight Line

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Call me weird, but I’m so excited to share this caulking tutorial with y’all today!  When we remodeled the bathroom, there was a hideous commercial style baseboard glued to the tub. When we ripped pulled it off, the baseboard left a lot of stubborn gunk stuck to the tub. Ick.

After a lot of elbow grease and the use of a flat-head screwdriver, I got the gunk off and it was time to caulk between the tub and the flooring.

See that lovely, straight caulk line?  Ooh, la, la!

{yes, I’m officially a dork}

All you need for this project is blue painter’s tape, white caulk and a damp rag.

Carefully tape off the areas to caulk.

Caulk Straight Line Tutorial

1. Squirt some caulk in the area between the tape.

2. Smooth caulk with your fingertip.

3. Continue smoothing. {I love this part!}

4. While the caulk is still wet, slowly and gently pull up the tape.  If you wait until the caulk is dry then it will come up as well.  That, my friends, would be not-so-cool. So save yourself a headache and pull that tape up right away!

{Note:  I caulked a second layer around the tub because the caulk was a bit thin in a few places}

So, that’s how you create a perfectly beautiful caulk line around your bathroom tub!  If the caulk in your bathroom is looking old and icky, you can scrape it up and use this technique to freshen things up a bit. 🙂

Okay, so I have to know…do straight caulk lines make your heart go pitter pat? Or am I just a DIY-ing psycho? Ha!



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  1. I, too, like a neat caulk job. I’ve never used tape before, just lots and lots of smoothing with my finger and generous use of a wet rag to get it to look nice. I don’t usually notice caulk unless it’s a horrible job, and then it DOES bother me. LOL.

    1. My father always taught me to pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol into a plastic bowl. After you squirt the chalk, take your finger, dip it into the rubbing alcohol and then when you are smoothing the chalk, the rubbing alchol helps keep the chalk from sticking to your finger. Then have a damp rag to wipe the excess chalk off your finger. Works perfect every time!

      1. Omg! I’m going to have to try the alcohol trick! I can free hand a pretty steady line and I HATE painters tape, but I can’t stand the mess on my fingers.

      2. Now that is a tip I will try! I usually put hot water in a coffee cup but it cools off too quickly. Thank you so much. I LOVE THE INTERNET 🙂

        1. I was just thinking ….man I LOVE the Internet……I am caulking my whole house right now and I’m going to use the alcohol trick maybe with the painters tape idea too lol I’ve been caulking for two days I needed these ideas

    1. Darlene!!! I’m weird too… says so right here on my phone… “I AM W.E.I.R.D. Wonderful, Exciting, Interesting, Real, and Different. Girl, PLEASE!! …Weird rocks!!!

  2. Hello. My name is Colleen. And I’m a dork-who-loves-straight-caulk-lines. lol.

    To me, if the lines are straight you don’t even notice. But if they’re not straight, your eye goes right to them.

    Kinda like a clean/dirty house, you know? Great tute! I once worked w/a female paint contractor who could ‘freehand’ caulk a perfectly straight line. It was amazing 🙂

  3. Nice, not weird! My lines do come out straighter than my hubbys, but never thought of using the tape. I’ll have to give that a try in the bathroom that I am redoing now.

  4. us DIY psychos can unite! I love this post, and you have perfect timing. I’ve scraped the old caulk off my tub and need to recaulk before my housewarming this weekend. My dad had suggested the tape thing, but I was a little skeptical. Thanks for the guidance!

  5. love it! this is very practical and extremely helpful. thanks for sharing. it is fun to learn the basics from someone who just did it.

  6. absolutely love this!!!! i hate unsightly caulk lines and always wanting my hubby to redo what he has done….(i know i should do it myself), so now i can show him this and things will be heavenly again!

  7. I absolutely LOVE that you did an entire post about caulking…. and no you are not the only one to do happy dances and swoons over a nicely finished caulk job… as I have done them too! I didn’t use tape, but have heard of that trick before. I bought one of those “as seen on TV” gadgets that was on clearance that comes with a little tool for caulking. It was like $4 and came with a whole tube of caulk too…. steal.
    Nice job on the finishing of it…. it’s ALWAYS in the details whether others notice or not.

    Pamela @

  8. Oh no, straight, beautifully applied caulk is definitely something to swoon over. Most people just don’t notice or think of it, until it is horrid. We live in a rental and had them re-caulk our tub (it was mouldy) and they did a TERRIBLE job. Now I’m just itching to get the time to scrape it all off and do it myself! I’ve learned my lesson – never ask a professional to do a do-it-yourself job??? I guess not everyone has the same standards.

  9. It looks beautiful, clean and neat! We’re getting ready to do a bathroom reno so this is a most excellent tip! I’m assuming the same technique could be applied on the wall, where it meets the tub, correct? Thank you so much for this!

  10. Thank you so much for this post! My shower has needed this done for ever but I had no idea what it was called or how to do it…lame I know! Now I know how to do it and what I need! Thank you!!!!!

  11. dang….i should have waited to do my bathroom. I caulked about 2 weeks ago and my lines are nothing close to straight!! After seeing your bathroom, I may peel out what I did and re-do it….thanks for sharing!

  12. Hi – Coming over via Tip Junkie. Thank you for this! I just recaulked the tub/shower, but haven’t tackled the line between the tub and the floor yet. I have a lot of scraping to do first. But now, with your help, I know it will be gorgeous and worth the effort!

  13. That is such a wonderful tip! Thank you. I’m getting ready to caulk my bathroom in my new home and was worried about how to do it right.

  14. here’s another tip. Have a egg cupful of washing up liquid diluted with a little water close by. Dip your finger in it before touching the caulk…. this makes the caulk slide under your finger and it makes it easy to wipe off your finger,. Also you dont get lift at the end of the line …

  15. Thank you, thank you for this idea! I was just eyeing my ugly bathroom caulk yesterday!

  16. I just finished a horrifically messy caulking job in my bathroom… too bad I didn’t google “neat caulking job” /before/ i started! 🙂

  17. Myra,
    Thank you so very much for the tutorial! We recently painted our bathroom & the builder had used clear caulk around our garden tub. I tried every thing I could think of to get rid of it…we tried to paint over it & the paint would just evaporate! Very frustrating…I never thought to caulk over it. My brother-in-law suggested that to me last month & I remembered seeing this post! I did it last night & my husband was VERY impressed with what a pretty & neat line it left…he said he has never been a good caulker! Guess it will be my job from now on-THANKS to you…lol! Love your blog & your home, too!

  18. Oh my gosh, I am the worlds worst caulker !! This tip is going to be awesome next time I caulk. Why didn’t I think of this before? I have had so many disasters my husband has had to fix. He will be happy about this too!

  19. Hi great job! Another trick to get perfectly smooth lines is to put sunlight dish soap on your finger before smoothing out the caulking. It works so well. I highly recommend it!

  20. I love this idea! I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this. I will definitely be using this technique in my new home! =)

  21. Wow! I !am so excited about this! I am going to rip out the not so nice looking caulking job that my husband did and do it right, I don’t have to worry about hurting his feelings because he will never notice

  22. I’m in love!! My husband attempted to recaulk our bathroom years ago and lemme tell ya it looks like the caulking gun exploded! i cannot wait to scrap it off and try this. thank you so much for sharing!!

  23. I love this! I have never been able to get it to look very good – perhaps there is hope!

  24. I have been meaning to re-caulk the grout where the back splash meets the counter in the kitchen…this is a BIG project that will take forever (I thought)…I am so glad I saw this, I will be done in no time! Planning on using a clear caulk- hope it looks just as nice!

  25. Found this using a google search. So, so helpful! Great step-by-step photos! Thank you for this great post!

  26. I’ve owned 21 apartments for over 25 years so I’ve done a LOT of caulking and NEVER thought of this. THANKS SO MUCH! I’m actually off to caulk around a tub today and I know this will make a huge difference in how it looks.

  27. I think this is a wonderful idea — one of those perfectly obvious ones that someone else has to point out! I LOVE IT! Great job, I am new to your blog and I think I could spend all day here (but the hurricane is blowing overhead and the power may go off).
    Thanks for sharing!

  28. I learned about having some soapy water closeby to finish off the caulk from a construction supervisor when I bought my 1st home. This way you have more time, with dipping your finger into it, say if you need to add a bit more to finish off the thickess. I also used the tape trick fter learning to use it for painting. But here’s an extra tip for those who want to get rid of the old caulk: use a hairdryer. I have it in my left hand, while I scrape it off with aplastic

    1. oops, darn tablet…anyways I usually use an old credit card to avoid damaging the surface, or a tiny square bread fastener..whatever feels best!

  29. Great post, nothing more satisfying than a good caulk.

    I’ve been told by a builder friend to never to use your finger bare in the bathroom though, as it introduces bacteria which encourage the growth of mould.

    So, I’d recommend either a spoon, or (if, as it sounds, you also like the squiggly satisfaction of the caulk under your finger) use cling film to cover your finger first. Also results in a less messy finger afterwards!

  30. Thanks so VERY much! I recently redid our vanity top and the ugly caulk line is more than hideous! I am going to get the painters tape tomorrow! Yay! Now if only it would dry quicker than three days. 🙂

  31. I can’t believe that there are so many neat caulk fanatics out there! All this time I thought I was the only one. I just love this tutorial and will save it a very special place to use over and over again! Thank you so much!

  32. Very clever! I can see why you were so excited to share this tip! It’s exactly the thing I would be excited about.

  33. This is amateurish way to do this. I have learned from my contractor how to do it and to get nice beveled straight line (no messy fingers). Get a piece of wedge wood.On a thinned part calculate how much you want to have the width of the caulking.Apply generously the silicone, than with the wedged part push silicone. As you were doing this excess silicone will stay on the side, do not touch that until next morning when it is so easy to remove.No tape no licked fingers.

  34. I think DIY’ers are perfectionist to begin with so I love that you take great pride & exuberance in your work! So NO! you are not a DIYing psycho for if you are, I’m your VP 😉 I know I love when a great project turns out great and is even sweeter when it turns out better than expected or believed could be. Keep up the awesome projects, tips and joyful creations. Well done ♡

  35. Wow, I have tried to get the caulk just right a million times! I can’t believe I never thought of this! It’ll come in handy when I finally do get around to finishing my bathroom. Thanks so much for writing!

  36. Hi, I too am a dork and get excited about these types of things! Thank you so much for the tip, definitely going to use this! Then I’ll do a little happy dance when I see what I have created, lol!

  37. What a waste of time, waste of ALOT of caulk and a waste of tape. Just cut the tube as wide as necessary for the gap joint seam reveal etc and IF YOU HAVE TO lick your finger and swipe it down. Better have used silicone caulk… wouldnt wanna be wiping a big mess of that nasty stuff around with my finger.

  38. None of you people could freehand caulk a damn thing to save your own lives. Youd end up with more caulk on your clothes and hands then the ugly gaps youre caulking… which will be showing again when the framing shrinks and swells and opens those miters.

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