Before colder weather comes, sealing your home can help improve comfort as well as reduce energy bills by keeping your heat in and cold air out this winter. Caulk is a key weapon which can help you combat air leaks and an energy-saving project many homeowners undertake to keep their homes comfortable over the upcoming months.
Caulk is perfect for sealing smaller air leaks—those with less than an inch between building materials. You should only use caulk around stationary materials, not moving windows or doors. Many types of caulk are available at your local hardware store. Some come in tubes which require a caulking gun, others are pressurized and don’t need one. There are many compounds to choose from, and you’ll need to know which is appropriate for the building materials you’re sealing around.
- Silicone (household): This is a flexible material which can be used inside and out. Use it primarily for metal joints, like gutters and plumbing, or to caulk around bathroom and kitchen fixtures.
- Silicone (construction): This is best for sealing different building materials to one another, like wood and stone, or metal and brick. It allows for a little flexibility, but isn’t good for sealing to painted surfaces. Use it to seal outside around window and door frames.
- Polyurethane (expandable spray foam): Polyurethane caulk expands to seal, so it’s good for sealing larger gaps inside and out. It can become dry and powdery and must be painted if used outdoors to prevent UV damage. The manufacturing process to make this product produces greenhouse gases, so you may not want to use it in your green home.
- Water-based foam sealant: This caulk is used around windows and doors in new construction and to fill smaller cracks. It takes 24 hours to cure, requiring exposure to air.
- Butyl rubber: This caulk seals most dissimilar materials and is good for use around windows. It doesn’t adhere to painted surfaces and may shrink, requiring a second application. This caulk is very durable, but toxic, so take precautions when using.
Do you have further questions about sealing your home? Call Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We’ve proudly served Traverse City homeowners for over 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about caulk and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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