Caulking the inside and outside of windows is one the best ways to prevent wasting valuable money and resources throughout the year. Windows have many cracks along the framework that allow not only cold air in but also allow heated or cooled air to escape, wasting money. Insects and water can also creep through these small spaces, leaving your home vulnerable to infestations and damage.
Types of Caulking
It is best to purchase the specific type of caulking designed for window and door use. You will want polyurethane caulking because it dries flexible, preventing cracks and separation when the frames swell or shrink during the seasonal changes. Caulking is available in tubes in rolls of a sticky like rubber substance that can be pressed into seams and gaps along older windows that no longer fit tightly into their frames.
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Checking for Leaks
Before caulking around windows, you may want to inspect your windows and frames for air leaks. The easiest way to do this is to hold a lit candle near the window and watch the flame for sporadic movement. Be careful to avoid catching nearby fabrics or items on fire while you perform this inspection. You may also use an incense stick for safety and watch the smoke plume. If the smoke or flame moves erratically, it is a sign that there is excessive airflow coming in through the window frame.
To create a good bonding surface, remove the old caulking around the interior and exterior of the window frame. Wipe the surface with a damp rag and allow the surface to dry completely before continuing. Caulking is best used on cracks that measure less than 1/2 inch. For larger gaps, first fill these with insulation, then follow up with caulking around the window frames.
How to Caulk
The easiest way to caulk the inside of window frames is to use the standard tubes and a caulking gun. After inserting the tube into the gun, cut the tip at a 45-degree angle, keeping the tip smaller for small cracks. Squeeze the gun's handle until the caulking begins to ooze from the opening. Insert the tip of the caulking tube into any crevices around the window frame and begin squeezing the caulking into the spaces. You can push or pull the gun; however, pushing the caulking into the crevices forces the caulking to fill the gaps more effectively, sealing even the tiniest holes. Move slowly and evenly, allowing the caulking to thoroughly fill every gap. You may need to have several tubes on hand for large jobs. There is no need to smooth the caulking. Doing so may cause air bubbles or cracking.
In addition caulking window frames, you may want to caulk around doors, dryer vents, plumbing lines and wires that lead outside and exhaust vents. Pay special attention to areas with old or original woodwork and windows, because these areas have the greatest amount of airflow into the home.