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DIY home improvements are all the rage, considering how homeowners can learn a new skill and save money on labor.
Caulking windows is a simple task that homeowners can easily do themselves.
However, there are certain do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when you’re learning how to caulk. Here are the rules for caulking windows followed by the pros.
Buy the right caulk
All window caulks are not made equal. For example, interior and exterior caulk are very different. Let’s take a look at what types of caulk are best suited to seal your windows.
Caulking windows from the outside require a caulking material that is capable of expanding and contracting. It should be able to deal with temperature changes, rainfall, and the sun’s rays without cracking or falling off. What you need is an elastomeric latex caulk.
Silicone caulk is another option that is long-lasting as well as expands and contracts without disintegrating. However, the material requires a skilled hand to apply and is not easy for greenhorns to work with.
For caulking inside your home, you need a non-toxic caulk that holds paint well. What you need is a high-quality acrylic latex caulk for interior windows.
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For humid rooms
Humid rooms, such as bathrooms, are high in moisture content and warm. For rooms like these, you need a caulk that is both waterproof as well as mold resistant.
For these situations, experts advise using siliconized latex caulking, a material that gives you the durability of silicone with the ease of application that latex brings with it.
Always get rid of the old caulk
If you want your window caulking to be efficient, remember to never cover up existing caulk. Running a bead of fresh caulk over deteriorating, old caulk will not stop the deterioration. Instead, it will cause the new caulk to pull away as well, leaving you with an untidy-looking window.
Instead, always scrape off old caulk using a steel putty knife. Then, clean any existing debris out before applying new caulk.
Get the right caulking gun
There are two types of caulking guns: the thumb release type and the less expensive ratchet-style caulk gun. Out of the two, always choose the thumb release variant.
The other model will keep oozing excess caulk until the ratchet-type handle is twisted.
The thumb release one is easier to use since it stops running a bead the minute you press the release.
How much of the caulk tube tip do you cut?
You need to be careful how much of the tip of the caulk tube you cut. Cut off too much, and you get beads that are much too thick for your seam.
While some tubes come with markings for you to choose the width of the seam, others are unmarked. The safest thing to do is to just cut off a little at the tip and then check the thickness of the bead. If you need it to be thicker, you can always cut off a little more.
The right way to handle a caulking gun
The ideal way to handle a caulk gun is by using both your hands. Your dominant hand should be used to hold the gun and operate the trigger, while your other hand supports the gun.
Keep your wrists straight and move your elbows while operating a caulking gun. Bending your wrists would change the direction of the gun, and in effect, change the appearance of the bead.
The right way to apply the caulk
If you’re running a vertical bead, always start from the top and work your way down. Keep your wrists steady while bending your elbows and knees to maintain consistency.
However, never run a continuous bead either horizontally or vertically. The correct way to do this is to come in a line until the middle of the seam, and then start from the other end and meet the first bead at the center.
That way, you can maintain a steady hand, and get a uniform bead.
If you have textured siding, running a bead along the siding will prove to be difficult due to the uneven nature of the surface. Instead, run the bead along the window edge instead. You will have a good-looking bead, and the seam will still be sealed.
The right way to smooth a bead
Once you’re done applying a bead of caulk, never try to smooth the entire bead in a single movement. This will cause the excess caulk to accumulate and run off the side of the seam.
The way the pros say you ought to do it is to start with a section around six inches off the bottom. Once that section is done, move up another six inches and repeat the process. Sticking to this method will give you a professional finish. And since it takes caulk a couple of hours to dry, you ought to have plenty of time to adhere to this.