Caulking Windows and Doors to Save Energy

Article Posted By: Home Depot Staff

The  cracks and gaps that inevitably open in every homes are a big source for heat loss in the winter. We’ve shown you some easy ways to discover indoor air leaks. Here’s how to fill them. Caulking windows and doors is an easy DIY project that you can accomplish in an afternoon.

There are a few types of caulking compounds available. They are latex, silicone, polyurethane, and hybrid. These will make it easy to accomplish a variety of sealing jobs.

  • Latex caulk is cost-efficient, easy to work with, and can be painted. It is perfect for doors or windows and cleans up easily with soapy water.
  • Silicone caulk has superior flexibility, durability and adhesion. It is great for doors and windows, areas exposed to moisture and areas exposed to direct sunlight. However silicone products can’t be painted as it is engineered not to have anything stick to it.
  • Polyurethane caulk is superior in adhesion and fairly durable, however, it can be tough to work with. Most of these caulks are engineered for exterior use and can be applied to damp surfaces.
  • Hybrids offer the best of all worlds. They can be painted, can be used on damp surfaces, and they provide a durable seal.

Most caulk tubes come in  a 10 ounce cartridge and are applied with a caulking gun. Some latex and silicone products come in a smaller squeeze tube.

Before you apply a layer of caulk, you will need to remove the old caulk. You can do this using a scraper or utility knife. You will want to make sure you clean any debris or dirt from the area and allow it to dry thoroughly.

To load the caulk gun, pull back the plunger and load the tube into the chamber, with the bottom end going in first. Then squeeze the trigger until the plunger makes contact with the tube. Then remove the tube and cut the tip at an angle to the desired bead size.  You can use the pin on the caulk gun to puncture the tube seal if needed. Replace the tube and you are ready to get to work.

To start, squeeze the gun and apply pressure until the product gets to the end of the nozzle. In order to make sure that the gap is covered, you will hold the gun at 45-degree angle and squeeze the trigger as you push the gun away from your body.

When you come to the end of your seam, you will release your trigger and push the tip into the corner to cut off the caulk. Then you will twist slightly as you lift the nozzle.

To smooth your line you can run your finger along the bead or use a professional tool. Just make sure to check what method you should use with the type of caulk you apply. Once you are finished, make sure to cap the nozzle as most caulks can be stored and used at a later date.

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