The kids are back in school, meaning fall is just around the corner, it’s time to prepare your home for winter before the cold weather sets in. You may be planning on freshening up your exterior paint, or you simply want to seal up the gaps around your windows before winter. In either case; follow these window caulking tips for a professional job that will last.
Preparation of Exposed Surfaces
The most important step to ensure a quality, long-lasting, caulking job is preparation. Of all of the window caulking tips, this is likely the most significant. Remove any loose debris with a bristle brush, or pressure wash any heavily soiled areas. If there is existing caulking in place, it must be removed if it is loose or cracked. You can use a putty knife to scrape old caulking. You may also need a utility knife to cut out portions of the remaining caulk.
If you are installing new windows or a new door assembly, you must complete all sanding before you apply the caulking. You can also prime the exposed wood before you caulk.
Application of New Caulking
For external use you should use a Paintable Silicone Caulk for longevity. The silicone caulk is more durable than acrylic caulking. The key word here is “Paintable” if you use conventional silicone caulk your new paint will peel off on the first windy day. For the interior of the windows feel free to use acrylic caulk as it is easier to apply and will clean up with water when first applied.
To apply the caulking cut the tip of the nozzle on an angle. Insert the wire probe into the nozzle to pierce the tube seal. Apply an even bead by exerting a steady force on the gun handle. While the caulk is still fluid, use a caulking applicator or wet your finger to smooth out the surface of the bead. This will make it much easier to paint and result in a more professional looking job.
Allow the Caulking to Dry Before Painting
You MUST allow the caulking adequate time to fully cure before you even think about painting. For most conventional caulking the rule of thumb is 24 hours. This is especially true for acrylic caulks. There are a few high-end caulks on the market today that are paint ready in just 30 minutes like the GE Silicone II. This same product will also provide protection from rain in just 3 hours.
After the caulking cures, and before you start painting, conduct a thorough inspection of your work to ensure there are no remaining gaps. Pay particular attention to the point where 2 joints meet. Climb the ladder to look at the top edge of all of the windows.
New homes settle overtime and all windows and doors are exposed to the weather as well. Make it an annual habit to inspect the caulking around all windows and doors and repair or replace as necessary.