Save On Heating This Winter
A property's energy efficiency level is determined by many factors. Windows are among the most essential elements to review when you are trying to improve your house's energy efficiency and lower the cost of managing the property's interior climate. In this article, we are going to discuss more about how to caulk your windows and doors to save on heating bills this winter.
Understanding the Nature of Caulk
Before we start talking about how caulk can be applied to cracks, gaps, and joints, let's first take a look at caulk itself. Caulk is usually divided into paintable and non-paintable, with the former being the one commonly used on windows and doors. Paintable caulk, as the name suggests, can be painted and further finished what it is completely dry.
For gaps around windows, however, non-paintable caulk is more suitable. This type of caulk is made of a special silicone composite for maximum durability and flexibility. When dried properly, non-paintable caulk has a slightly more glossy finish to it.
There are a number of important benefits you will be able to get from caulk. Since it is a material designed specifically for flexibility, you can expect caulk to contract and expand following changes in temperature and the slight movements any structure normally make under different situations. Once a crack or a gap is sealed using caulk, you can expect it to remain sealed for years.
Caulk also doesn't harden too much. Even when it is completely dry, you can still feel a bit of give when you press on the surface of it. Combined with its flexible nature, it is very easy to shape caulk and keep your windows and doors looking fantastic while increasing the overall energy efficiency.
How to Apply Caulk
There are a number of simple tips you need to keep in mind if you want to get the best results from applying caulk. For starters, always make sure the gap you are trying to fill is no wider than 1-1.5 centimetres. Although caulk can be shaped to cover larger gaps, it cannot function effectively after application.
Clean the surface properly before caulking. Dust and dirt will prevent caulk from attaching to the surface perfectly. You may also want to apply a primer coat before applying caulk. Caulk sticks better on painted surfaces, which is why applying primer before caulking is always a good idea.
Use the right tool for the job. There are a number of caulk guns you can choose from depending on the surface and conditions you are facing. The right tool will help you complete the job quickly and effectively.
Don't hesitate to widen the gap if necessary. Although caulk can be used to fill small gaps, you can get better end results when the gap is no smaller than 1/2 a centimetre wide. By widening the gap, you are also giving the caulk more room to expand, producing a smoother and more beautiful finish altogether.
Don't rush! Move the caulk gun slowly along the gap and make sure enough caulk is applied along the way. Don't squeeze the caulk out too quickly. What you are aiming for is a nice, smooth, and consistent seal across and around the gap itself. This can only be done by working slowly and paying close attention to details.
A second layer of caulk may be required. No matter how good you are at caulking, you may still need to apply a second layer to the gap in order to get a better seal. Since the goal is to increase your house's energy efficiency, getting that perfect seal is a must. Caulk contracts as it dries, so it is not impossible for the gap to re-emerge and a second layer will be required in this case.
If you are caulking a gap that has already been caulked before, always - and I do mean ALWAYS - remove the old caulk first. Applying another layer to a recently-applied caulk is a good thing; applying another layer to old caulk isn't. Remove old caulk carefully, clean the surface properly - you may have to sand the surface to get that smooth finish caulk needs for it to stick properly - and apply primer before you add the new caulk to the gap.