Caulking is used in your new home to
create a tight seal against moisture,
damage, dust, dirt, insects and air.
Properly installed caulking will shrink
due to contraction and expansion of the
product and the material that the
caulking is applied to.
Regularly check caulking on the exterior
of your new home.
Re-caulk if caulking is not sticking to a
surface, cracks or falls out when touched.
Remove the old caulking and clean the area before adding new
caulking in the following areas:
- Cracks in driveways, sidewalks and patios
- Foundation cracks
- Around pet door entrances
- Access door to a crawl space
- Underneath door thresholds
- Around mail slots
- At joints, seams or leaks in gutters and downspouts
- All places where pipes, cables or wires enter your home
- Where brick meets siding
- Where wood meets brick
- Where wood meets metal
- Where brick meets metal
If you're re-caulking joints in your fireplace brick, or around flues
and chimneys, use a heat-resistant caulk.
Interior caulking includes sinks, tubs, showers, countertops,
cabinets, walls, interior openings, splashboards, cracks in
foundation, window frames, door frames, baseboards, crown
molding, around shower door tracks, around toilets and faucets
and fireplace brick.
Regularly check caulking in the interior of your home. Re-caulk if
caulking isn't sticking to a surface, or if it cracks and falls out when
touched. Remove the loose caulking and clean the area before
adding new caulking.
Before caulking metal, glass and plastic interior surfaces, they
should be cleaned with a solvent such as isopropyl alcohol. Before
you start, read the solvent safety instructions. Make sure you wipe
the solvent off the surface before it air dries.
There are four basic types of caulking; oil base, silicone, butyl and
acrylic latex. It's important to use the correct caulking for each
specific area. Talk to a professional or hardware salesperson to
find the best type of caulking for the specific area you're working
Silicone caulk is the most weather resistant type of caulk and
works best in areas where water is present, i.e. sinks and
countertops. Silicone caulk works extremely well on wood, metal,
brick and adheres to both water and oil based paint. Silicone
typically doesn't accept paint finishes. It is available in a variety of
different colors. Latex caulk is used in areas that require painting
the caulk, i.e. door and window molding.
Buy the best. Spend the extra money for the best grade caulk. This
is one time where more expensive indicates a better quality
Consult with a professional or hardware salesperson as to which
type of caulking best suits the needs of specific interior areas
Remember that silicone caulking works best in an area where
water is present such as where a sink meets the countertop.
Latex caulking works best for an area that needs painting such as
where a countertop backsplash meets the wall.
Store caulk in a cool, dry place. It is sensitive to heat even in its
tube or cartridge.
Practice caulking before you attempt to caulk a highly visible area.
If you go too slowly, the caulking will overfill the crack.
If you go too fast, the caulking will have gaps.
If the caulking looks uneven, use either water or thinner on your
fingertip (depending on if the caulking is oil- or latex-based) and
run your finger down the caulk joint smoothing the line.
For best results, caulk outside on a warm day. Cold weather can
prevent caulking from adhering, and hot weather may close the
joints. When removing old caulking, use a putty knife to remove all
of the old caulking.
When working on concrete, stone and brick, use a wire brush to
remove the old caulking and to clean the area.
If a gap develops where the chimney passes through the attic
(inside), fill it with insulation instead of caulking.