The temperatures this weekend made us remember that we still need to do some caulking before winter. When we moved in last November it was much draftier than we expected, and we spent some time fixing the worst of it: caulking the living room and bedroom windows, weatherstripping the doors and replacing the old sweeps, adding v-channel weatherstripping for the living room windows, and putting flanges around the radiator pipes where they led to the cellar. There was still a bunch left to do when summer came, but we’d at least made it livable.
The people who lived here before us had obviously put plastic around the windows—it was almost impossible to get the sticky tape off the sills when we painted. I really don’t understand that. It’s just as easy to caulk as to put up plastic, nicer looking, more effective, and longer lasting (the tube says it’s supposed to last 30 years). I know some people don’t want to improve houses that they’re just renting, but it’s the tenant who has to live with the results—especially if they’re the ones paying the heating bills!
I was glad that it was so windy this weekend. As I was filling in a particularly large gap I could actually feel the air blowing through onto my forehead. Afterwards, no breeze. It’s nice to see such an immediate effect.
I’d never done anything like this before we moved here, so here are a few tips that I learned along the way. For more, here’s an instructional video I found.
- Wash and dry the area first, and scrape away any paint flakes.
- Use latex (or latex mixed with silicone) so you can clean up any spills with just a wet rag. And, unlike silicone, you can paint over it.
- Always move the caulk gun away from you to push the caulk deep into the gap for a better seal. This was a little awkward at first, but I found a lighter touch prevented all the starts and stops that made it glob around the nozzle.
- Run a wet finger along the seam to press it in and make a cleaner line.
- Laugh like a ten year old every time your significant other says the word “caulk.” Seriously. It makes the day go faster.