This is another do it yourself project that you can do over the weekend. Every home usually needs to have the existing caulk replaced every 2 years or so. Each spring you should take a look around your home to inspect each window and door to see if you need to replace cracked or missing caulk. Not only will applying fresh caulk help save you cooling and heating dollars, it will also help keep moisture and even insects from invading your home.

 

Caulk is a flexible pliable sealant that you can purchase in tubes that you place into a caulk gun. One tube should be enough for a window or a door. A caulk is a very inexpensive to buy. In fact you might already have on in your workshop.

 

Prepare the Surface First

In order to have a professional seal, you will need to make sure the area you plan on caulking is clean of dirt and or debris and of old caulk and flaking paint. You can either use a damp cloth or a metal bristle brush to loosen and remove the paint. Do not power wash it off. This can force water into the cracks and cause water damage to your home.

What Kind Of Caulk Should you Buy?

The different types of caulk that is available for you to use might confuse you. Caulk is usually made of silicon latex, polyurethane and other new materials.

You should choose a caulk based on its life expectancy and how much it shrinks. Now you will see labels that say 10-year caulk and up. As we stated earlier, most needs to be checked and replaced every 2 years. But at the same time you don’t want to buy cheap caulk that will crack and shrink after one season.

You should also to see if the caulk can be painted or not. This is important for exterior work and you want to paint around your windows and doors. You should also check how it cleans up. Can you do it with soap and water, or do you need paint thinner.

A good type of caulk to use on the exterior of the house is polyurethane caulk. It remains flexible and it won’t shrink as much as other types of caulk. This should make it last longer.

Now that you have decided what type of caulk to buy, you will need to have a caulk gun to apply it. A caulk gun is very easy to use. You place it in the caulk gun and push the ratchet mechanism as far in to the tube as possible.

Once the tube is in the gun securely, you can the remove the cap and cut the nozzle to size. You should cut it on a 45-degree angle. You then break the seal by using a nail or a coat hanger to push through the seal and allow the caulk to come out.

Applying the caulk

 

Now that the seal is broken, you are now ready to begin caulking and sealing up those drafty doors and windows. Gently squeeze the trigger to the caulking gun and begin applying the caulk to the window. Gently push the gun down as you caulk, making a nice bead. Slowly press the trigger and move the gun at the same time to give a nice professional appearance. When you are done, pull the plunger back and release the trigger to prevent more caulk from coming out.

 

If you want, you can smooth out the caulk to give it a better appearance. This can be done by either dipping your finger in water and gently smooth out the caulk. You can also use a wet spoon to smooth it out too.

 

When you are all finished and the tube is empty, simple remove it and throw it out. Clean up any drips that occurred and check to make sure all the areas you wanted to seal are. Step back and admire your work. Your windows and doors will look better, plus you will now save some money on your energy costs. And you did this all for minimal cost too.

 

 

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Caulking the exterior of your windows and doors is just one way to help keep the cold air out and the warm air in during the winter. To make your home seal up even better, you should check the weather stripping around the doors and windows too.

Adding weather stripping might be the cheapest, easiest and most effective method of stopping the wasting of your energy dollars. Best of all it will only take a few minutes to do too. In just a short time, that draft that has been making your room cold can be eliminated.

Here’s a fun fact. Imagine a ¼ inch gap around a typical 36-inch front door to your home. This is the equivalent of a 9-inch square gap in the door. And you wonder why the room is cold?

Different types of weatherstripping

 

Foam tape with adhesive backing weatherstripping

The most popular selling weather stripping is the rubber or foam adhesive backed tape. This is very easy to install. First you will need to select the correct width and thickness. Once you have selected the right one, you will need to measure it first to ensure a good tight fit. After you are sure of the length you need, cut the tape and remove the backing and press the tape into place. What I really like about using this is that is the gap is irregular; the foam will fill it in.

 

Felt weatherstripping

 

Felt weatherstripping has been around for a long time. You can buy it either plain or ones with a flexible metal strip behind it. To secure felt weatherstripping to a door or window, you will need to either tack it in place, or use a good glue.

 

Interlocking metal weather stripping

 

This might be the best way to have a tight seal, but it requires some patience and is a bit expensive. One part will fit into the other to from the seal. One piece is attached to the doorjamb while the other is attached to the door. To do this installation correctly, you will need professional rabbet cutting to do this. This might be out of the budget and skill level of your average homeowner.

 

Door thresholds

 

If you open any of your exterior doors, you should see a raised seal on the floor under the door. Most door thresholds have weatherstripping built into it. It will be tubular in shape and will press up against the bottom of the door when closed. Check the condition of this threshold to see if it needs replacing.

If your existing threshold doesn’t have that tubular gasket, you can either install one, or install weatherstripping on the door itself. It is called a door sweep and it has a flexible rubber strip that will seal nicely against the floor/threshold.
Read these articles to save money on your heating costs

19 Low Cost Ways To Cut Your Energy Bill Now

Caulking Windows And Doors

Buy A Programmable Thermostat

Stop Those Air Leaks Around Your Pipes

How To Install A Programmable Thermostat

Insulate Light Switches And Electrical Outlets

Buying And Installing A Door Sweep

Insulating the Attic Door With An Attic Door Cover

Window And Door Weatherstripping Information

Change Your Furnace Filters Frequently To Improve Energy Efficiency

Use A Chimney Balloon To Stop Warm Air From Going Up The Flue

Install Air Conditioner Covers

Buy A Window Insulation Kit

How To Seal Your Ducts And Save Money

Continue Reading