How to Caulk Vinyl Siding

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Vinyl siding is a plastic exterior applied to homes and buildings for decoration and weatherproofing. The main component, polyvinyl chloride, gives it the name and makes it relatively maintenance-free. Available in a large selection of colors and styles, it is a common alternative to traditional wood or brick surfaces. Applying caulk to the seams of vinyl siding helps maintain the weatherproofing, especially around windows and doors. Over the years, caulk will start to break down and need replacing. Anyone can do this simple, inexpensive project.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder or scaffolding
  • Putty knife
  • Caulk remover
  • Gloves
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Cloth
  • Caulking gun
  • Tube of caulk
  • Knife or scissors
  • Caulk-smoothing tool
  • Spoon
  • Soap
  • Set up a ladder or scaffolding as needed.

  • Remove old caulking from your siding. Use a putty knife to pry loose the caulk. Be careful not to damage the siding. The knife can easily gouge the surface of the vinyl. Once you have loosened it as much as possible, apply caulk remover directly to the remaining material. Make sure you are wearing gloves when working with the remover. Let it penetrate for several hours. Then use your putty knife to remove the softened caulk. Work it underneath and pull it loose. Dip a sponge into warm water and wash off any residue.

  • Remove any other loose debris, such as paint. Wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.

  • Load your caulking gun and cut open the tip of the tube of caulk. The open tip should be the same approximate size as the vinyl seam you are working. Insert a nail or other sharp object down through the tip to puncture the seal of the caulk tube.

  • Start the caulk bead at the top of the vinyl seam. Hold the gun at a 45-degree angle. Slowly pull the gun down, applying steady pressure as you go. Be sure to fill the seam completely.

  • Use a caulk-smoothing tool or a spoon dipped in soapy water and smooth out the caulking. Time is of the essence. You need to smooth the caulk before it dries. This will give it a nice finish. Clean off any excess caulk with a damp cloth.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be careful when working on a ladder or scaffolding. Make sure to set up on a level surface.

References

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