No doubt you have felt the chill of drafts around a window or door. A quick check shows that the door is closed tightly and the storm window is in place. However there is still a definite cold spot around the window or door and in the air. One reason can be the cracks which develop around windows and doors in the sealer or caulk. Put in place to stop air and water from entering the home it can harden and crack with age and weathering. Before the cold really takes hold, winterize your home against these drafts.
Most doors and windows will have trim boards which accent the look of the door, both inside and out. Check these boards to make sure the caulk has not cracked or pulled away from the siding or frame of the door or window. If cracks and breaks are found, clean out any loose or easily removable material and apply a new seal. The technique is described below. It is important to seal the inside and out to insure no air is leaking through.
Caulk and Sealers are Your Friend
One of the least understood and most important aspects of a proper paint job as well as sealing your home, is the proper application of caulk. Many have had such bad experiences with caulk that they now avoid all contact with it. Every handyman and home repair specialist uses this one tool at least once on almost every project. so lets see how the pros do it.
Proper caulking is simple, and the only tools needed are a good caulk gun, a tube of caulk, a rag or sponge, and one finger. While proper caulking may be something of an art, it’s one that can be learned in a few minutes of practice.
Small Investment, Big Payoff
Good caulking begins with a good caulk gun, not one of the ninety-nine cent varieties. But it doesn’t have to be the most expensive either. Expect to pay about $5 for a medium quality caulk gun.
The next tip is literally the TIP of the caulk tube. Cut it at about a 45° angle; cut the hole too large and you’ll waste caulk and make a mess, too small, and sufficient caulk won’t pass through to do the job. But the size of the crack you’re filling will partially determine the size hole. For most jobs I use a hole about 1/8’’ and for larger jobs, 3/16” or more. You’ll have to experiment to determine what size works best for you and the surface on which you’re working.
Begin by holding the caulk gun at an angle to the work to be caulked. Squeeze the trigger slightly to allow for an even flow of caulk; pull the gun backwards as the caulk fills the crack. Do this for about 3 feet and then release the pressure on the gun (most guns have a thumb release at the end where the rod comes out the back). Then use a wet finger to smooth the caulk in place. Use a wet rag or sponge to remove the excess caulk from your finger (if you applied the correct amount, you’ll have only a trace), and continue. If your joint looks clean and neat, continue; if it has too much caulk, you may wipe it with your sponge or rag. But don’t apply too much pressure or you will remove the caulk you’ve just applied. Practice, as in other tasks, does make perfect; and a little experimentation will let you join the ranks of the professionals.