Pros know that caulking is crucial to getting the professional results they want from a job. It can be easy to overlook or even forget to use caulking at the end of a long job, but if you want to seal the job right you need to caulk it!
Why Use Caulk?
Caulking is important for two reasons: Sealing gaps and creating the right aesthetic.
Sealing Gaps – Caulking is a great way to seal gaps in your work, whether they are intentional or not. This is important for a lot of reasons. Think about all the things that can get inside these little gaps in your house. Heat can escape, cold can come in, water can get even, or bugs, mold, and fungus can take advantage of little gaps and get places they really shouldn’t be.
Aesthetic – Caulking looks a lot better than havings gaps between your molding and ceiling, or between your sink and counter.
Just take a look at this before and after picture. Which one do you think looks better, and protects better?
After of course! In no time the meeting between this molding and ceiling was sealed, providing a much cleaner look and eliminating lost heat. Talk about a no-brainer!
Pro Tip: You don’t need to use as much as you think, a little goes a long way! It didn’t take much to get the above picture from eye-sore to professional finish.
Where to Use Caulking?
Caulking is used in more places than you’re probably aware, just take a look!
- On the roof, look at gutter corners, seams, downspouts, and end caps
- Openings, gaps, and cracks in siding, stucco, masonry or your foundation forms
- Where different types of building materials meet, such as wood siding against brick
- Where wood siding forms corner joints or meets corner trim
- Where window and door frames meet wood siding on an exterior wall
- Where the backsplash meets the counter and wall
- Around the sink, where it meets the countertop
- Where the tub or shower meets the surround, the wall, and the floor – if the surround is more than one piece, the corners may also need to be caulked
- Holes where the plumbing comes through the wall or floor – they will often be covered by decorative plates, so check to make sure they were caulked
- Some people like to caulk around the bottom of toilets, but if the toilet seal fails, this will trap the water under the toilet and cause the floor to rot
- Where trim such as crown molding, chair rails, and baseboards meet walls, floors, and ceilings – this includes door and window casings that lie flat against the wall
- Where two pieces of molding come together in a long wall and at the corners
- In older homes, you may need to caulk where the wall and ceiling meet
Pro Tip: There are tons of places that can use a little caulking; always keep an eye out for places you might have missed, or that need a fresh strip!
Energy Saving Tips!
Energy Saver, an office of the U.S. Department of Energy, has the following tips for applying caulk:
- For good adhesion, clean all areas to be caulked. Remove any old caulk and paint, using a putty knife, large screwdriver, stiff brush, or special solvent. Make sure the area is dry so you don’t seal in moisture.
- Apply caulk to all joints in a window frame and the joint between the frame and the wall.
- Hold the gun at a consistent angle. Forty-five degrees is best for getting deep into the crack. You know you’ve got the right angle when the caulk is immediately forced into the crack as it comes out of the tube.
- Caulk in one straight continuous stream, if possible. Avoid stops and starts.
- Send caulk to the bottom of an opening to avoid bubbles.
- Make sure the caulk sticks to both sides of a crack or seam.
- Release the trigger before pulling the gun away to avoid applying too much caulking compound. A caulking gun with an automatic release makes this much easier.
- If caulk oozes out of a crack, use a putty knife to push it back in.
- Don’t skimp. If the caulk shrinks, reapply it to form a smooth bead that will seal the crack completely.
Pro Tip: You can save more money than you think by caulking up all those gaps that leak warm air during the winter.
Caulking is quick and easy to apply and provides immediately tangible and long-lasting benefits. If you want a professional looking job, make sure you get some caulk on it! If you have any questions, reach out to us over at koopmanlumber.com. Thank for reading!