Home insulation won’t be effective without considering the effect of interaction between the outdoor and indoor environment. Generally the windows, doors and some of the vents in the house are the areas that cause major heat loss whereby the air whether hot or cold from outside will interfere with the indoor environment through these places if they are not sealed properly. These areas are critical to be sealed or caulked to prevent heat exchange between the outdoor and indoor environment.
The thing about caulking and sealing these spaces is that it can be done easily on your own and on a do-it-yourself (DIY) basis. The following are some guidelines that you can follow for caulking and sealing the windows, doors and vents and even some pipe joints in your house. These simple DIY guides will save you money from hiring a contractor. The only thing that you need to pay for is the caulking materials and a little of your time.
The first thing that you need to do when considering caulking and sealing off the leaking spaces is to remove the old caulking and any loose paint around joints in windows, doors and vents if there are available. After removing them, you need to at least clean the surface by using a piece of damp cloth in order to get the best result for new caulking. This will provide better adhesion for the new caulking, which can be applied using a tube and gun, or (for small areas) a tube that’s squeezable by hand. An exterior-grade, silicone acrylic latex caulk is a good all-purpose choice.
Next is to cut the tip of the caulking tube at a 45-degree angle to produce an opening about 3/8-inch wide, and use a nail or awl to puncture any inner seal. Holding the gun or tube at a 30 to 45 degree angle, apply the caulking in a long bead all around joint. For best result, apply constant pressure and even movement to the tube or gun. If the bead of caulking is bumpy or uneven, wet the back of a spoon and run it along the bead to smooth it out (you can also use your finger, but wear latex or similar gloves). Other alternative is to use a caulk-smoothing tool for professional looking finish. It’s cheaply available in most hardware stores.
A word of caution here is that areas such as weep holes in masonry and window frames, or masonry joints that are purposely left mortar-free are not required to be caulked and sealed. These areas are meant for condensation and other moisture to escape and if blocked will cause water damage.
Best result can be achieved from caulking if the gaps are less than ½ inch wide. For bigger gap, you are not encouraged to apply the caulk directly on to it since the caulk might not be strong enough to seal off the whole space. What you need to do here is fill a bigger gap with expanding foam insulation first or place a backer rod inside it, then caulk on top to finish the seal if necessary.
Finally, after you are done, leave the caulk for about half an hour and come back to check the result to see if there are any broken parts or unsealed gap. If everything looks good, then you are done and you will have a professionally done caulking on all the windows, doors and vents. They will not only save you money but also make your home more comfortable and heat loss is kept to the minimum.
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