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Caulking Can Make a Dramatic Impact When Sealing Air Leaks at Home

Perhaps small, quarter-inch-or-less gaps in your home's outside walls, windows and doors don’t seem significant. However, if you have a gap even half this large around every window in your home, you could have a considerable hole in your home’s outer envelope. Put a stop to air leakage by caulking these openings.

What is Caulk?

This flexible material is used for sealing stationary gaps predominantly found around windows and door frames or where building materials meet. (Weatherstripping is used to seal gaps in moveable joints.) In addition to sealing air leaks, caulking also prevents water damage when applied around ceiling lights and plumbing fixtures.

How to Choose Caulk

While most types of caulk come in a disposable cartridge that fits a standard caulking gun, they are available in a wide variety of strengths and properties. Read labels carefully to ensure you purchase the right type for the job at hand. When deciding how much to buy, consider that it takes about a half-cartridge to seal one door or window.

How to Apply Caulk

Caulking is a do-it-yourself job you can complete in one afternoon. For the best results, use these tips:

  • Clean the areas you plan to seal, removing any old paint or peeling caulk, to ensure lasting adhesion.
  • Apply the caulk to all joints, holding the caulking gun at a consistent 45-degree angle to force the material deep into the crack. This helps prevent bubbles.
  • Avoid stops and starts so the caulk is applied in a continuous, unbroken stream.
  • Ensure the caulk sticks to both sides of the gap. Reapply if necessary to get enough material into the gap.
  • Release the trigger before you pull the gun away from the gap to avoid extruding too much caulk. An automatic release caulking gun simplifies this step.
  • Push any oozing caulk back into the crack with a putty knife.
  • Smooth out the applied caulk with the back of a spoon or your moistened finger for a quality finished product.

For more caulking tips, please contact Sobieski Services, Inc. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).

Image Credit: techsavvyed


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