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ARCHIE ADAMSEditor-in-Chief of the Handy Home Master
Do you find cold air wafting into your house in winter? Do you find hot air leaking in warmer months? Are you worried because your electricity bills are rising and still you are not getting the results you want? Air leaks can waste a lot of energy and your hard-earned money. One of the quickest and easiest ways to save energy and money is to seal all cracks and openings. Caulk is a material used to seal joints in structures and pipes. Use this on windows and see the difference. This article will give you a guide on how to caul windows successfully.
Choose the Right Caulk Type
You should be careful while choosing the right type to use. For different areas and different kinds of structures, specific types of caulks are available in the market. Sealing a window is different from sealing a bathtub. Some windows require exterior, and some need interior work. Let us look at some of the most commonly used ones:
Painters or acrylic caulk
This is perhaps the most frequently used and also the cheapest caulk you can get. You can use this for covering small holes and cracks and then can paint over them. You can also use it on wood, drywall, masonry, and other porous interior building materials.
It is also straightforward to apply and use like a painter’s caulk but will last much longer. You can use this for outside sealing. It is not very flexible so you cannot use it where expansion and contraction can be an issue.
Acrylic Tile Sealant
This comes in small tubes which you can squeeze like toothpaste. This is good for simple patchwork and small repairs. It is mold and wet resistant but does not last too long if put in high-use areas like a tub or shower.
Siliconized Acrylic Sealant
This combines the ease of acrylic with the strength and durability of silicone. It is also tougher to clean it up but makes a strong sealant for materials like glass, metal, tile, etc.
For windows that receive a lot of rain and have a problem with mildew, this is the best option. It lasts for a long time and works well on non-porous surfaces. It is flexible and strong and not very easy to clean up.
This can stick to just about anything. It lasts for a long time, and you can clean up quite easily as well. Some adhesive caulks are also water-resistant and good for the exterior of windows.
This is good for areas where the fire is a major hazard. It prevents the fire from spreading. You can use this in window frames where there are electric lines.
Latex is easier to work with and easier to clean. If you are wondering how to seal a window from the inside, then this is a good option. The main characteristics of this are:
- Easy to apply and replace.
- Easy to clean up.
- Good with wood, masonry, and drywall.
- Easy to paint over this.
- Its smell is not overpowering.
- It can weaken in extreme temperatures or harsh sunlight.
- It does not last very long.
This is a combination of silicone and latex and has good qualities of both types of caulks. Learn how to caulk windows with this. It has the ease of latex and durability of silicone. Let us look at some important features:
- You can use it on different surfaces like glass, metal, ceramics, etc.
- Combines durability and strength with flexibility to give you perfect results.
- Mildew and mold resistant.
- Dries quickly.
- Most caulks are paintable.
- Takes some effort to clean up.
- It can get a bit messy while applying.
This is most suitable for areas that are water-prone. Silicone is best for windows in a bathroom. You can use it on a variety of non-porous surfaces. How to apply silicone caulk is different from latex. Some main features of this are:
- Even after drying it maintains some flexibility which prevents it from cracking.
- Very highly waterproof.
- Once dry, it is mold-resistant and easy to clean.
- Excellent for smooth surfaces like glass and ceramics but not for masonry.
- Difficult to apply.
- Requires a solvent for clean up.
- It will not be possible to paint over this.
- You need to be careful while using this because it is difficult to get it out of clothes.
How to Find the Leaks?
Sometimes window seals break or create gaps due to aging or exposure to rain or sunlight. It allows the air inside your home to escape and also the rain to seep in. Before you can seal these leaks, you will have to find them. Take a look at some of the things you can do to find leaks.
- Check all areas where two different materials meet. Go outside and check window corners and frames.
- Carefully check window panes for cracks.
- Examine the existing seals thoroughly. Look for any gaps or cracks.
- Shake your windows and check whether they rattle. If they do, it is a clear sign that frames are not secure.
- If you can see daylight around a window frame, there is a leak.
- Do a little test with a currency note. Put it on the window sill, and if the window closes without any problem, then there is a leak.
- Another test you can do is, on a windy day; hold a lit candle close to the window. If the flame wavers, then you know that air is seeping in.
Prepare the Windows
Before you start caulking, it is a good idea to go around your property and find out exactly where to caulk windows. This is important for you to know how much time you will be spending on this. You cannot do it in a hurry, or the results will not be satisfactory. If you are wondering how to caulk windows in the best way, then read on. Preparation of the surface of the windows is perhaps the most important step when it comes to caulking.
- Make sure the surface is completely clean. There should be no dust. Wash with cleaning agents and use a scrubber if necessary. Rewash to make sure there is no dust.
- You should repair any chipped wood or any cracks in frames first.
- Replace or repair any rotten wood before you start.
- After washing the surface, make sure that it is completely dry before you start.
How to Apply Caulk?
It is a good idea to first understand the caulking process. As important as it is, you should also know where not to caulk around windows. It will not seal properly if you don’t apply it correctly. Use a caulking gun to apply it or you can directly use a tube. Let us give you some caulking tips.
- For small space the tube is perfect. Cut a small hole at the end of the tube. Make sure that a thin line comes out.
- For bigger gaps, it is better to use a gun. Cut the tube or cartridge according to the size of the gap.
- Only use the amount required. Ask how much to caulk windows before you put the excess. Wipe excess caulk with a cloth.
- Apply steady pressure to the trigger or tube and fill the gap with an even bead of caulk.
- For a neat and professional-looking finish, smoothen the bead of caulk. Lightly drag a finishing tool or putty knife over the bead to smooth it.
- Caulk usually dries in about 24 hours. Wipe away the excess with water and a damp cloth or with a caulk remover before it dries. You will have to cut or scrape the excess dried caulk.
How Important is Weather When Caulking Windows?
How to caulk windows is not a very difficult thing, but the weather is a crucial factor. Extreme temperatures are not good. In freezing temperatures, caulk will not cure properly. If it is too hot, then it may not adhere to the surface. If it is raining or snowing, you will have to be careful and make sure the surface is completely dry before you start. Ideal weather with a moderate temperature between 40° F and rising and 90° F falling is perfect for caulking.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
If you are doing this for the first time, you may not get the result you are looking for. Don’t lose heart and try not to make these mistakes. You will find that soon you are good at it. These are common mistakes people make:
- Not selecting high-quality material. You get what you pay for, so choose well.
- Not selecting the right type of material. There are many varieties, and depending on factors like the surface, exterior or interior, and, weather, you should pick the most appropriate.
- Not removing the old caulk completely before you start. Find out how to recaulk windows and do it properly.
- Not using the correct applicator gun or tube. Find the best caulking guns in the market.
- Don’t apply too much.
- Don’t skip tooling. Smoothing or tooling is important. It gives the whole job a professional look. Visit HandyHomeMaster.com for more information and some great tips on caulking.
Now, when you’ve read this article you can create a comfortable environment at your place and do this job professionally. We hope this post was quite helpful for you! You are welcome to leave comments below! Share your valuable experience with us!
- 1 Choose the Right Caulk Type
- 2 How to Find the Leaks?
- 3 Prepare the Windows
- 4 How to Apply Caulk?
- 5 How Important is Weather When Caulking Windows?