Caulk gun? what am I doing wrong?

by 1cs1267

I'm a senior, attempting to use caulk gun for the first time. Have my "cannister" of caulk, cut the top off ... nothing will happen. Takes all my strength to "pump" the caulk gun handle. Only caulk that is coming out is a small amount from the bottom of the cannister. Do I have a defective gun, cannister of caulk or just don't know how to operate such a simple device? Thanks

  11 answers
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Sep 10, 2021

    Hi there! You need to break the inside seal of your caulk "cannister" - its not just cutting the top off, if you look inside, there a seal that needs to be broken. A little flat headed screw driver pushed in there will do nicely :) Many caulk guns even have a little piece of steel on the end of them that swings out that looks a little like a nail (or really big needle) that's meant just for that task. Many of them have a hole in the handle too for cutting the head off the canister. Good luck :)

  • William William on Sep 10, 2021

    Ok. Not the gun or the caulk. Once the tip is cut you have to insert something long like a nail or thin screwdriver down the tip and puncture the seal. Some guns have a hole for cutting the tip and a fold away rod to puncture the seal. That is why caulk is coming out the bottom. You will need to clean that up.

  • Mogie Mogie on Sep 10, 2021

    Step 1

    Inspect the caulk tube. Poke the metal prong on the front of the caulking gun into the caulk tube, if your gun has one. Use a screwdriver or similar impelement if your gun doesn't have a prong. Remove it to see if any caulk is present. Often, the tip of the caulk at the front of the gun will harden in place and once it's removed, the caulk will flow normally. If no caulk is present when you remove the prong or screwdriver, however, the tube is empty or the caulk inside is dried and unusable. Reinstall a new tube of caulk.

    Step 2

    Test the trigger and plunger. Remove the caulk tube and try to manipulate the plunger by depressing the trigger. If it does not move, reset it by pulling the plunger release bar back and try again.

    Step 3

    Clean the caulking gun. If there is a caulk buildup on the gun around the trigger, plunger, or plunger release, soak the gun in mineral spirits or wipe it down with a rag soaked in mineral spirits. Allow it to dry and test again.

    Step 4

    Test the plunger spring for tautness. Caulking gun plungers are manipulated by a spring. If the spring becomes loose or strained, it will no longer push the plunger with sufficient force. Unfortunately, if the spring is the problem, it cannot be replaced or repaired and the gun must be replaced.

  • Janice Janice on Sep 10, 2021

    Great advice already provided, you may still have the same probablem as some of us diy-er's though. Seems most tools aren't manufactured for those of us with rather small hands! We're able to find a few tools in smaller sizes but so far I haven't located a smaller-reach caulk gun. If anyone knows of one, I hope they'll chime in here. :)

  • Once you get it open, if you're still having issues, you might want to look into a different gun that might be easier to grip.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Sep 10, 2021

    Some Caulk guns have a full down pin used to pierce the seal. Before you actually mount the tube.

    You might look for that.

    Hope this helps!

  • There's a seal that needs to be broken. Use a wooden skewer.

  • Seth Seth on Sep 10, 2021

    If you do not use the entire tube of caulk, and let it harden in the nozzle, you will find the same thing happens when you go to use that tube again. It will squish out the bottom because the nozzle is clogged. If the tube does not come with a screw on cap, make sure you cover the opening and use something to poke through the hardened caulk the next time you use it before you start pulling the trigger.

  • Deb K Deb K on Sep 11, 2021

    Hello, you need to pierce the seal inside the tube, most caulk guns have a piercer attached to them for that purpose, see the poker on the side of the gun in the picture, but a bamboo skewer would work too, hope this helps.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Sep 13, 2021

    You need to pierce the caulk larger. Normally on your gun there is a long pin that is designed to poke a hole in the caulking tube after your cut the tip off. If you didn't get a gun with that on it, you can use a nail.