Caulking windows adds both the finished look and also the insulation you need to enjoy your home free of drafts and leaks. A task that may seem simple at first caulking, windows, and similar home improvements require some research and practice before getting that professional look. The act of lining your window with a narrow strip of continuous caulk is called running a bead. Learn how you can create a beautiful and efficient caulk finish.
All Caulking is Not Equal
You’ll want to know what kind of window installation and climate area you are working with before applying caulk. If you go to the home improvement store, you’ll notice a very large selection of caulk-like tubes. Make sure you carefully read the labels before selecting the right item. Some of the tubes will be more of a glue and others will be a more flexible rubber-like seal. You will likely choose between silicon and latex options, in addition to some special applications like polyurethane.
For example, a humid room like a bathroom, you’ll want to choose waterproof and mold-resistant caulking. Look for an interior caulking, and then find a color complementary to your windows and walls, or even use a clear sealant. Regular interior windows such as the living room or bedroom may look best with an interior paintable caulk, such as a paintable latex to match your decor. Exterior caulk is designed to stand up to harsh UV rays, rain, snow, and fluctuating temperature. Make sure you don’t accidentally grab an indoor variety for an exterior application. For specialty sidings like masonry siding in a brick home or some basement windows, you’ll need a specialty caulking to adhere to the surface such as an acrylic urethane.
Prepare the Area Before Caulking
Unfortunately, you can’t simply walk up to a window and begin caulking. First, you will need to prepare the area. Remove all of the old caulking if this is a window replacement. In new installations, you’ll want to make sure the area is clean, dry, and free of any debris. If you have an extremely slippery surface, you may consider priming the area (like you would in painting) before you begin. You’ll also want to check the weather before you begin any external applications. The temperature should be on the moderate side, but no colder than 40 degrees and no hotter than 90. Try to choose a day where it will be drier, and not rain or snow. In poor conditions, caulking may take as long as 24 hours to dry.
Assemble the correct tools before you start the job. Gather your caulk tubes, it’s always best to have more than one as a backup unless the job is extremely small. You will also need a caulking gun. You can choose between a ratcheting gun or a somewhat easier thumb-release for most home improvement jobs. Additional tools and materials to gather include:
- Utility Knife
- Wire Brush
- Painter’s Tape
- Caulk Finishing Tool
- Caulk Remover Solution
- Cleaning Cloths