Caulk works as an air and water barrier in a variety of exterior applications while preventing drafts and leaks around windows and doors, vents, skylights, and other openings. It also prevents water from traveling into cracks and causing damage.
In commercial settings, caulk also has visual benefits. It bridges gaps and hides irregularities while closing spaces where dirt and bacteria can fester. Caulking leaves clean, attractive lines along joints and corners.
To achieve the best results while recaulking windows, bear in mind the following guidelines:
1. Remove any old caulk from around the window frames. You will get the most effective seal by keeping surfaces clean and providing space for the new caulk to attach itself. After the largest pieces of old caulk are removed, use a putty knife to remove excess material.
2. Prepare the surface of the windows. If there is any rotted material on or around the windows, repair it before applying caulk. Remove any dirt, debris, and old paint that would weaken adhesion. Wash the area, but make sure the space is completely dry before caulk is applied.
3. Place the tube in the caulk gun. Pull the notched rod back. Place the tip of the tube in the yoke. Turn the rod so that the notching mechanism is engaged. Squeeze the handle just enough to move the plunger cup tightly against the end of the tube inside the cylinder.
4. Cut the tip of the tube. Cut the tip at a 45 degree angle, about a quarter inch (0.6 cm) away from the tip. Use a thin nail to break the seal inside the tip.
5. Press the tip firmly against one corner of the window and apply caulk to the next corner in a continuous bead, ensuring that the bead is thick enough to fill the gap. To stop caulk flow, press the release mechanism. Continue the process around all 4 sides of the window.
6. Use a flat object to smooth over the sealant and remove any additional caulk. This process is called “tooling.”
7. Let the caulk to dry for 24 hours. Though a “skin” will develop before the caulk has fully hardened, the material may not be ready and should be left alone. As long as the caulk has a chance to dry in place, your project will be successful.