All About Caulk

Cracks and seams left unfilled may create a problem because they can let through moisture that can cause structural damage or let air through that will cost the homeowner in increased energy bills. Caulk can be used to fill these seams if they are less than 1/4-inch (about 6mms) wide. Caulking is an ideal start to winterizing your home.

Caulk and Gun

There are many kinds of caulk available. Acrylic and latex caulks can be used for both interior and exterior jobs. For kitchen and bath silicone caulk is best. Some bathroom caulks have anti-mildew chemicals to reduce mold growth. Urethane caulks are high quality and have many applications. Asphalt caulks are used to patch asphalt and to work around chimneys. Choose the appropriate caulk for the job. Expensive is not always better.

There is really only one tool needed for most caulking jobs, the caulking gun. This is a device that squeezes caulk from tubes. The homeowner may also need a pair of pliers for cutting open the nozzle of new tubes of caulk. Smoothing can be done with a special device, but it is just as easily and perhaps more efficiently done with a finger.

Applying caulk is a simple process. Evenly squeeze the caulk from the tube along a seam to be filled. Smooth the caulk with a finger so that some of the caulk is eased into the crack and the surface presents an attractive appearance. It is best not to smooth over a surface more than once or twice. (more detail...). Allow this to dry thoroughly before painting over. (Silicone caulk does not hold paint well.)

Removing old caulk generally involves a deal of scraping. For acrylic and latex caulks, removal of old, crusted applications can be done with a putty knife. However, silicone caulk, which adheres better may be more problematic. First try pulling it away with a pair of needle-nose pliers. If it does not come away easily, the next step is to cut into it with a utility knife, then scrape with a putty knife. To get residue, specific solvents may be in order.

This folio on how to caulk is organized into a series of articles which can be accessed from the summary above, simply click on the link within the contents on areas in which you seek more detail. The detail pages can also be accessed from the navbar at the top of each page. To read through this folio to get a thorough understanding of the subject, simply use the "next page" links at the end of each page.

Types of Caulk >>

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