Caulking is an easy, energy-saving project that you can do yourself. It is relatively inexpensive and very effective. Not only does caulking prevent air from escaping, but also helps prevent water from entering the home. Caulking is a compound used for filling cracks, holes, crevices and joints on both the inside and outside of your home.
It is a pretty easy project and you will only need a few simple tools for the job. Check your home repair center for a “puttying tool” that will make the job easier and provide a more professional look.
• Start at the back of your house and work toward the front, so that your skill level is improved by the time you caulk places that are visible.
• Try to choose a mild day to tackle this project. The outside temperature should be above 40F for the caulk to be applied correctly. So, plan to caulk during the spring, summer or fall for best results.
• Old, cracked caulk should be removed before new is applied.
Where to Caulk –
As a general rule, caulk should be applied wherever two different building materials meet on the interior or exterior of the home. Different building materials expand and contract at various rates. Through the years, with temperature extremes and caulk drying out, cracks develop between materials. Because these cracks allow air infiltration, the cracks need to be caulked.
On the interior of your home, you can check for air leakage by moving your hand around the windows and doors on a windy day. If you can feel air movement, you need to caulk and/or weather-strip. If air is getting in, you can bet that water is getting in as well. You will probably be surprised to find how many areas are “air leaks”!
Areas to Check for Air Leaks and Apply Caulk –
1. Around door and window frames – inside and out, check window pane putty
2. Places where brick and wood siding meet
3. Joints between the chimney and siding
4. Between the foundation and walls
5. Around mail chutes
6. Around electrical and gas service entrances, cable T.V. and phone lines, and outdoor water faucets
7. Where dryer vents pass through walls.
8. Cracks in bricks, siding, stucco and foundation
9. Around air conditioners
10. Around vents and fans
11. Wherever two different materials meet
12. Around electrical line penetrations in the attic and crawlspace
13. Around sink bases
14. Around the tub (remove all old caulk first!!!!)
15. EVERYWHERE YOU MAY THINK WATER CAN GET BEHIND AND CAUSE UNWANTED DAMAGE TO YOUR HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Types of Caulk to Use –
Oil-Resin Base | This is often the least expensive. It is not particularly durable and tends to shrink and harden. It can be painted. This product is found in most stores. It should not be used for long-term application.
Latex Base | This will bond to most surfaces. It is more durable than resin-based material, and also paintable. Some shrinkage will occur. This is adequate, but not the best material available.
Nitrile Rubber | This bonds well to metal and masonry, but not to painted material. It is durable and paintable, but large amounts of shrinkage are reported. Its primary use is for high moisture areas.
Neoprene Rubber | This will bond to most surfaces and is expensive, but durable and paintable. Moderate shrinkage is reported. This is especially good for use in concrete walls and foundations.
Silicone Seal | This will bond to most surfaces, except concrete. It is very expensive and very durable, but not paintable. Little shrinkage is reported. It remains very flexible. This is an excellent caulk for most jobs.
Ben Towberman is the General Manager at Ultra Clean Service Corporation. Ben and his team specialize in projects related to emergency restoration, water damage, cleaning services and mold removal. 651-783-6306 or Ben@ultracleanservicecorp.com