How To Properly Caulk Your Home’s Exterior
The question of whether to caulk or not to caulk your home’s exterior is a big one around a household. The simple answer is YES! But when it comes down to it, you need to consider where you are caulking i.e. interior or exterior, how much movement you expect as well as what you hope to achieve i.e. closing up unsightly gaps, blocking drafts or waterproofing. On that note, below is an easy-to-follow caulking guide.
Choose the right caulk. When sealing around your home, you need caulk that ensures air and water stays out of your home. A permanently waterproof, flexible and shrink-proof or crack-proof elastomeric caulk is what you will need for a long lasting seal. Acrylic caulk often shrinks and cracks after a while and you should therefore avoid it. If cracks occur, they can lead to water leaks which in turn lead to growth of mold, water damage as well as higher utility bills.
Clean the surface. All the loose particles, dirt and old caulk should be cleaned and removed using a wire brush meant for masonry and concrete applications or caulk removing tool. Once done, be sure to wipe the area with a clean cloth. Proceed to apply masking tape on all sides of the joint. This will help create a straight edge. Remove the tape immediately after caulking.
Prepare the tube and seal. Cut the nozzle to the desired bead size then using a sharp, stiff wire or a similar object, pierce the inner seal. Insert the cartridge into the caulking gun. You can now proceed to seal any and all unsightly cracks in and around your home. To control the rate at which the caulk leaves the tube, squeeze the caulk gun with even, consistent pressure.
Smooth the caulk seal. Within seconds of applying the caulk, use a wet caulk smoothing tool or your finger to smooth the caulk seal. This will help achieve a clean, smooth bead of caulk.
Store the tube and clean. Squeeze the caulk until there’s barely any coming out of the tube. Be sure to replace the cap, wipe your hands then wash them with soap and water. Use mineral spirit to clean around the silicone caulk or soap and water to clean around acrylic caulk.
Now that you have sealed all the cracks, you should make sure that your home is checked for any cracks at least twice every year. This will allow you to get ahead of the problem before it gets out of hand.