Custom Tinting Caulk for Repair Jobs

Tips on mixing and applying your own tinted caulk for custom touch-up work. February 21, 2011

I am looking at a large repair job - a new hotel with a huge temp swing, where the doors have started to crack and split. They are mostly splitting in the V grooved panels. There are about 180 doors and they all differ in severity. I was thinking about using a wood colored caulk. The hotel is very dark, and the doors are dark walnut.

What do you think of using the wood colored latex/caulk? I am thinking it might be good because of the ease of application and the ability to expand and contract with the temp swings. What wood caulks would you recommend? Anybody use Mohawk?

Forum Responses
(Finishing Forum)
From contributor R:
If you drop by any hardware store, you can buy DAP caulk in the squeeze tubes. The clear stuff works pretty well for this application. Don't cut the tip off yet, but cut off the bottom of the tube and squeeze out all the caulking onto a piece of P-Lam.

Get yourself some water based pigments and a stir stick and mix the pigment color(s) of your choice into the caulk. Once you're happy with the overall color, get a putty knife and spoon it back into the tubing. When you do spoon it, don't spoon it all back in, as you want to leave enough room to fold over the bottom of the tube. Once you have made that fold, wrap some quack quack tape around it so the colored caulk doesn't leak out when you squeeze the tube.

Basically what you have just conjured up is a custom colored caulk that was easy to make, easy on the pocketbook, easy to use, and real easy to clean up. This is just a suggestion on how to repair the cracking in the V groove, but if the cracking is real severe, you may need to pull out the clamps and glue and proceed accordingly.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I was thinking of how I could do that. I was thinking also of a pastry piping bag. I agree, I think I can get a much better match by mixing the latex myself, and save some money. Mohawk wants $10.35 and they only have 12 colors, and I have no idea what their colors look like, except for the web swatches. When you say water based colorant, what exactly do you mean? I have both powder and liquid dyes.

From contributor R:
Whatever works that's water soluble. You might look at the concentrated tints that you can buy at a paint store. They come in tiny squirt tubes and are available in umber and sienna and lots of other colors.

From the original questioner:
Thanks again. Nice to have you guys in my back pocket.

From the original questioner:
Just did a test door for them today and I think it is going to turn out great. I got a good color match, and it laid in pretty well for doing it with my finger. Getting it back into the tube was a pain and I did not want to lighten the color with the material I could not get out. So I think I am going to use a baker's piping bag and squirt it in that way. I am interested to see it in the am. That will tell me if I need to hit it again if it shrank.

From contributor M:
I use the Red Devil Create-A-Color Caulk Mixer - very clean and simple to use.