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The route to better window caulking :
Every window needs caulking from time to time. Regardless of how thorough you are with home maintenance, it is only natural for gaps to eventually appear along the junctions of a window frame. These gaps, however minuscule, can lead to a significant amount of air and water leakage, thus cutting into your home insulation and running up your energy bills. Window caulking is an effective solution to this problem, involving the application of a caulking agent to seal any gaps that may have appeared where the frame meets the wall. Simple though the process may sound, there are some practical nuances of caulking that have a major impact on its effectiveness. Let’s look at some of these:
Choosing the right caulk:
As far as window caulking goes, caulk selection can make or break the deal. A huge variety of caulking agents are available today, ranging from high quality silicone caulk, to cheaper alternatives such as butyl rubber caulk. While the latter can save you some money for the time being, it is prudent to invest in a silicone or polyurethane based caulk. These will last you in the range of 10-20 years, eliminating the need for frequent re-caulking. Silicone caulk is the more durable of the two, with the added advantages of being waterproof, shrink-proof and flexible. Polyurethane caulk offers good adherence and can take on a coat of paint as well. Seal windows with a caulk that lasts long, suits the surrounding weather conditions, and doesn’t emit toxic fumes.
Prepping a surface for caulking:
Before commencing on a window caulking session, the surface in question should be checked for remnants of old caulk. This is crucial because caulk expands upon hardening, until it eventually breaks away from the surface, leaving room for moisture to accumulate underneath. Applying new caulk over an existing layer can thus trap moisture within, rendering the sealing process ineffective. Old caulk can be scraped off with a sharp tool, or by applying a caulk removing gel for particularly hard spots. Once the old caulk is removed, the surface should be properly cleaned and dried before sealing.
Attempting to seal windows using substandard caulking equipment can be counter-productive. A good quality caulking gun goes a long way in ensuring an even line of sealant over the gap or crack in question. The amount of caulk used is another important parameter. Applying too much caulk will only cause it to break off when it hardens. For the same reason, the nozzle of the caulk cartridge should be cut at the precise point that gets you the desired caulk bead thickness. Even the angle at which the caulking gun is held while sealing the gap makes a difference.
A window caulking session isn’t complete until the sealant applied has been properly smoothed over. This can be done using finishing tools, or even by inspecting the caulk bead with a finger to check for unevenness.
A well-executed caulking job can free you from recurring window repair and maintenance cycles. On the other hand, poor caulk selection and shoddy execution can leave your windows with a wide range of problems, from unsealed gaps all the way to toxic fumes. Do away with the need to seal windows over and over again, by hiring a professional window repair service for your window caulking requirements.