Caulk your way to a draft-free life
Caulking seals cracks and joints to keep drafts and moisture out of your home or business. Apply it wherever two unmoving parts of the building come together, including:
- Around window sills and door frames
- Where wood siding meets a concrete foundation
- Around chimneys
- Water faucets
- Intake and exhaust vents, etc.
Types of Caulking
- Oil-based caulks are the cheapest but least durable and should be used only in narrow cracks.
- Butyl-based caulks are medium-priced and fairly durable.
- Acrylic latex caulks are medium-priced, fairly durable and easy to work with.
- Silicone-based caulks are the most expensive and the most durable.
- Oakum, caulking cotton, sponge rubber or fiberglass are good for filling large cracks or holes. Then apply regular caulking in the smaller cracks.
Amount of Caulk
As a guideline, you'll need about half of a caulking cartridge for each window sill, two cartridges for a two-story chimney, and about four cartridges for a foundation sill. If it's your first time caulking, buy a little more than you'll need so you can practice before starting the project. Cut the nozzle to make a bead just big enough to cover the gap.
Preparing and Storing
Before starting a caulking project, remove any old caulk, clean the surface and allow the area to dry. Don't caulk if the temperature is below 40 degrees. When you're finished, store the remaining caulk by putting a large nail in the nozzle hole, then wrapping the nozzle with aluminum foil.