Easy Caulk "Press in Place" White Counter Caulk Strips, made by
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you
want a hardcopy)
Easy Caulk makes several variations of its basic product. The one I reviewed is
for the kitchen, serving as a seal for the seam between the backsplash guard
and the countertop. This is an important
purpose; without that seal, you can easily get water (or other liquids or food) down into the
countertop itself. Depending upon the material, this can mean a mold-growing
countertop that falls apart or just a wet countertop. In either case, the water
has to go somewhere and that typically means through the drawers or cabinets
below and into the floor space. So you definitely need to seal that splash guard
to the countertop.
Another advantage of a good seal is it's one more barrier to ants, thereby
discouraging them from coming into your kitchen. Of course, you still should
spray ant killer into those pipe openings then seal them with an expanding foam.
Splash guard seals come in many forms. The typical home builder or remodeler
will simply caulk the seam where the backsplash panel meets the countertop. For
those of us adept at caulking, this is the quick and inexpensive way to do the
job. Just run a bead of (typically silicone) sealant along the seam and let it
dry. If you're good at this, you'll leave a uniform bead that looks nice. The
typical home owner or renter is not good at this, and runs a poor-looking bead
then tries to fix it with a finger run along the seam. This seldom turns out
looking good or working well.
A problem with the caulk is it is subject to wear and tear. If you cover it with
a physical guard, it will last much longer. In my own kitchen, I have a metal
L-shaped guard. Each piece is cut to fit exactly that countertop length, and
it's bonded in place with an epoxy. Doing that installation required precision
measurement and cutting, plus I didn't like the smell of that epoxy. However, it
looks good and will probably last the lifetime of that countertop. Still, it was
not a project for a novice to attempt.
The Easy Caulk product fills a void between the two methods just described. It
is vastly superior to the caulking only method, but does not cost much more. It
has that professionally finished look that I achieved with the metal strips, but
is much easier to do.
Easy Caulk does not market this as a "slap it in where you need it" product. I
appreciate their honesty. The biggest part of replacing an existing seal is
cleaning off the old one. If you had silicone caulking in there previously, no
new caulking will stick (for long) unless you've completely removed the silicone
film left by the old caulking. Inadequate preparation is the number one reason
replacement jobs come out poorly.
I recommend peeling off whatever you can, then scraping with a razor to get the
surface free of particles. Then use a toothbrush and vinegar to clean. I
recommend buying two brand new firm toothbrushes (you should always use a soft
one on your teeth) for this purpose (throw them away when you're done). After
you've scrubbed with the vinegar, wipe it dry with a cloth folded to get into
the crack. Then repeat this exercise using the other toothbrush an isopropyl
alcohol. On the box, Easy Caulk recommends a different method; it will also work
The point is to remove the silicone film, not just the silicone caulk. If you
fail to do this, the seal will peel away rather than stick. And you'll
eventually get tired of various vain attempts to make it stick, opting to do the
job over. It is better to take a little more time and do the job once every
forty years than to keep doing it over and over too quickly.
When installing, always work from the corner out rather than the other way
around. Easy Caulk also mentions this on the box.
The instructions on the box might make it appear as though this product is a
pain to use. That is not at all the case. Any time you replace that seal, it's a
pain regardless of what you're putting back in its place. You must make that
place clean before trying to put anything back.
If you're going to seal that kitchen splashguard seam and don't have the skill
(and patience!) to custom-cut metal strips for that job, this product is your
best choice. Also, I don't see why it would not work for bathroom sinks. I would
not recommend it for a tub or shower, because it's not constructed in a way that
really suits that purpose. The good news is Easy Caulk has a product that is.