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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How to Caulk the Outside of Your Home and Save Energy

Caulking does two big things: it keeps heated or air-conditioned air inside, and it keeps summer heat and winter cold outdoors.

To help improve energy efficiency and lower utility bills, make sure the outside of your home is sealed against the elements with caulking.

Caulking should be used where windows and doors meet the walls, wherever two different construction materials meet, and wherever to different parts of a house are joined.

Check these possible air leaks on the outside of your home:
  • Between siding and window or door frames
  • Between siding and drip caps, such as those above sliding doors
  • Beneath window sills at the siding
  • Where chimneys and stocks meet the roof
  • At all corners in the siding
  • Between any protrusions and the main part of the house
Caulking compounds may be bought in bulk for use with a full-barrel caulking gun. However, you’ll probably use disposable cartridges for use in a drop-in caulking gun. Caulking come in various materials and grades. Speak to the professionals in your hardware store to determine the right grade of caulking for use outdoors.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure you get a continuous bead of caulking to seal all cracks. Use filler material before caulking on all cracks more than 3/8-inch wide.

There are a few important points to remember:
  • Remove all old and crumbling caulking before you attempt to repair or replace
  • The caulking bead must be wide enough to adhere to both sides of the crack you are filling
  • Your fingers, putty knife, and a razor knife or screwdriver are your most valuable caulking tools
Don’t try to do your entire home in a day. Be thorough. Take your time. Clean up as you go: Many caulking materials are difficult to clean once the have had a chance to set up.

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