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DIY: Perfect Silicone Beading

Are you installing a new basin in your bathroom? Or, perhaps the silicone beading around your existing bathroom fittings or kitchen counters needs to be replaced? How do you get perfect silicone beading? Silicone beading is something that should be almost invisible. It’s usually only noticed if there’s something wrong, such as mould or low-quality initial installation.

In my experience, budget friendly holiday accommodation is usually where one sees the worst examples of silicone beading. The lumps and smears trap dirt making it look worse.

I know you don’t want this in the sanctuary of your own bathroom. So, how do you get that perfect silicone beading? Here are some tips and tricks from Kevin and Louis.

Perfect silicone beading between countertop and tiles
Perfect silicone beading. #lifegoals

Materials Required

As with any DIY job, you need a few tools.

  • If you’re using a large tube of silicone you’ll need a caulking gun
  • Paper towels (aka Carlton roll or similar)
  • Masking tape
  • Your hands
  • Silicone sealant of choice to fit application

Process for Perfect Silicone Beading

And this is the process:

masking off back of toilet before adding silicone beading
For best results, mask off the area
  • Ensure the area in question is clean of dust and old silicone beading, excess grout, etc.
  • Tape the sides of the gap that is to receive the fresh silicone, leaving about 2mm on each side of the gap
  • If using a large tube with a caulking gun, prepare the nozzle for the silicone by cutting it a slight angle to best suit the application
  • Run your caulking gun along the gap, leaving a nice even strip of silicone
  • Run your finger along the wet silicone to wipe off the excess. You may need a few runs. Wipe the excess off on the paper towel. On the last run, go slowly and smoothly in one continuous run so as to not develop any ridges.
  • While the silicone is still wet, carefully remove the masking tape
  • Run your finger along the strip once more, carefully and in one fluid motion in order to remove the tiny step on the edge caused by removing the masking tape
Near invisible silicone beading behind beautiful tap
The goal: Invisible beading that doesn’t detract from your fittings.

Health and Safety

Silicone and acrylic sealants are a mild irritant for your skin. Should you decide not to wear a glove while following the above steps, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after completing the job. Make sure the space in which you are working is adequately ventilated.

8 thoughts on “DIY: Perfect Silicone Beading

  1. Nice job. In my experience a little trick that can aid in getting a better finish is this: On the final smoothing wet your finger first and lightly smooth it over. The water acts as a lubricant and it won’t affect the silicon seal at all since it’s already waterproof. Your finger must be clean and free of silicon first so wiping or washing your hands before this process is essential. Then, using water freely, gently smooth it over with the wet finger. It’s still a messy job but it does help.
    Another one is to follow the instructions – run the nozzle of the caulking gun **against** the direction of travel of the nozzle, the idea being to force the silicon into the gap rather than simply over the surface.
    The smell of the acetic acid in the silicon suggests that you should eat fish and chips whilst working – they go well together.

    1. Oh yes, you are right! I should have thought to mention the water trick as an optional extra. Thanks for the additional tip for our article. Kevin sometimes does this and sometimes does not; I should find out why 🙂

    2. Definitely right about the Fish n Chips part!
      I secretly enjoy that acetic acid smell when I caulk (albeit done extremely rarely if almost never)!

      1. Lol! We’re all going to be eating fish and chips for dinner now 😉

  2. Expertly done. Well done. I did some silicone beading recently and ended up with it all over my hands – and that stuff doesn’t wash off! I thought I was going to have silicone on my hands for the rest of my life. It wore off after a day, thankfully, but I hope (and expect) that Kevin and Louis had a less messy experience.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience! The big question though: Do you think you’re now more prepared should you need to do this again?

  3. Excellent advice thanks, just a small typo:
    Tape the sides of the gap to that is to receive the fresh silicone,
    I think the first ‘to’ isn’t necessary.

    1. Thank you for picking that up. I have corrected the typo. 🙂

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