Using caulk to seal cracks is a great way to prevent the loss of cooled or heated air in your home. With a little bit of know-how, caulking is easy to do and may make a big difference in the comfort level of your home and the size of your utility bills. Here is a beginners guide to caulk.
Types of caulk
There are two basic types of caulk; paintable caulk, which is usually acrylic based and is most often used around windows and doors to seal air leaks, and silicon caulk, which will not hold paint and is most often used to seal water leaks around sinks, toilets and tubs. The acrylic type, when properly applied and painted, will be nearly invisible. Both types of caulk, when used correctly, can last as long as twenty years.
Getting ready to caulk
Before you start to caulk, it is important to give the area a thorough cleaning and allow it ample time to dry. Any dust, mildew or moisture will prevent the caulk from tightly adhering to the surface. If you are caulking an area that has already been sealed with caulk, be sure to completely remove the old caulk first.
Caulk should be applied slowly and as evenly as possible. Once applied, use your fingers or a caulking tool to press it into the crack and smooth the surface. Ideally, only a small amount of caulk is left outside of the crack. Excessive amounts will not help to seal the crack and will leave unsightly bulges.
Painted caulk can be cleaned the same way you would clean any other painted surface. Silicon caulk can be cleaned with mineral spirits or mild bathroom cleaners. Avoid using abrasive cleansers on any type of caulk as this will shorten its lifespan and leave gouges and pits that will promote the growth of mold and mildew.
If you would like more advice than is offered by this guide to caulk, or if you have any other heating or air conditioning questions or problems, contact us at Roth Heating and Cooling.